|REFRESH. REPOSITION. REIMAGINE: A NEW NABJ CONSTITUTION|
CONSTITUTION [upon which full members would vote on this year]
We, the members of
the National Association of Black Journalists, who are striving for credible
journalism that comprehensively portrays the
voices and experiences of African Americans and people from the black diaspora
for a society and world that values them, do enact and establish this constitution
for the governance of our members.
Article I. Name
Section 1. Name. The organization’s name
shall be National Association of Black Journalists Inc.
Section 2. Initials. The organization
shall be known by the initials NABJ.
Section 3. Symbol. The organization
shall adopt an official corporate seal that may include the date and place of
incorporation, the symbol of NABJ, the initials NABJ or such other necessary
and desirable information.
Section 1. Purpose. NABJ shall enable a
union of black journalists dedicated to:
Monitoring all media to promote best
practices or advocate for improvement with respect to coverage of the
African-American community and black diaspora, and fairness in the workplace
for black journalists.
(b) Increasing the number of black journalists working as
staff, supervisors and management in diverse newsrooms.
(c) Being an exemplary group of professionals that honors journalism
excellence and outstanding achievement.
(d) Encouraging and supporting black journalists
aiming to become media entrepreneurs and or work independently.
(e) Encouraging high school and college students
and people working in other professions to become journalists.
(f) Providing professional development and
training as well as fellowships, internships and scholarships.
(g) Increasing the number of African Americans
working as faculty and leaders of academic journalism programs.
(h) Strengthening ties
between black journalists in mainstream and black-owned media across the nation and world.
(i) Engaging in such
other activities permissible for nonprofit corporations in accordance with Section
501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended, and the rulings and
Section 1. Compliance.
This constitution, adopted in conformity herewith, shall comply with applicable
federal, state or District of Columbia law governing the transaction of NABJ
business. Accordingly, this constitution shall also serve as the organization’s
Section 1. National Officers. The
officers of the organization shall be president, vice president
vice president-broadcast, secretary, treasurer and parliamentarian. Effective with the 2015 election, the national officers
shall also include the position of vice president-digital.
Section 2. Executive Board. The
Executive Board shall consist of the organization’s national officers. In those instances in which it is impractical for the board
of directors to perform its duties because of timeliness or costs, the
executive board may undertake any action deemed for the good of the
organization. The executive board may take action when a quorum, consisting of a
majority of its members, is present. Any such action by the executive
board shall be communicated as soon as possible to
the board of directors and is subject to ratification by the full board.
The executive board cannot unduly rescind or overturn any action of the full board.
Section 3. Duties and Descriptions of Officers. The
duties and descriptions of the officers of the organization, to wit, the president,
vice president-print, vice president-broadcast, vice president-digital,
secretary, treasurer and parliamentarian shall be as specified in the
organization’s operating procedures and may be amended by the board of directors as
Section 4. Board of Directors.
board of directors shall be 14 in number, and shall include the national
officers, four regional directors, a media-related
representative, an academic representative and a student representative.
(b) The size and composition of the board of directors as of
August 2014 shall remain in effect, and its members then serving shall remain
in office until their terms expire in August 2015. Thereafter, the board of
directors shall be constituted as provided in Section 4(a) above.
board of directors may act when a quorum, consisting of at least eight (8)
members of the board, is present.
Section 5. Members. The organization’s overall
governing body shall be the membership. Between national conventions, the board
of directors shall be the organization’s governing body, subject to the
constitution and the organization’s operating procedures The board of directors shall have
no authority to alter or amend any action taken by the membership.
Eligibility for Office and Term of Office.
Section 1. Eligibility for Office. To be
eligible for office in the organization, a candidate must be a member in good
standing and abide by the stipulations provided below
in Chapters 4, Article I, Sections 2-6.
Section 2. Term of Office. Except as provided below in Section 2(a), terms of office
for the board of directors shall be two years. All officers, regional
directors and representatives of the organization shall be elected at an annual
meeting and may serve in the same office no longer than two consecutive terms.
The following special
provision shall apply for the election of members to the board of directors for
terms of office that will commence at the annual meeting of 2015:
(i) The president, vice president-broadcast, vice
president-digital, secretary, student representative and two regional directors
shall be elected to two-year terms that will commence in 2015 and expire in
(ii) The vice president-print, treasurer, parliamentarian,
academic representative, media-related representative and two regional
directors shall be elected to three-year terms that will commence in 2015 and
expire in 2018.
(iii) Thereafter, all
members of the board of directors (including officers) shall be elected to
Section 3. Limitations. No member of the association may hold more than one
national office or position on the board of directors at the same time. An
incumbent may retain his or her office or position while seeking another office
or position – but must vacate the former office or position before assuming the
new one if elected.
Vacancies. In the event that a national
officer or member of the board of directors does not complete his or her term –
or if no one seeks a particular office or seat on the board – the president
shall appoint an eligible NABJ member to serve for the remainder of the term.
Section 5. Removal
From Office. The president, with the board
of directors’ approval, shall have the authority to remove from his or her seat
any officer, representative or regional director who has not been active or
devoted the time necessary to carry out his or her duties.
Powers and Duties of the Board of Directors.
Section 1. Executive Director. The board
of directors shall have the authority to employ a person of suitable
qualifications who, whenever possible, shall be an NABJ member; whose title
shall be executive director, and whose duties shall be to operate the organization’s
national office, subject to the board’s supervision, pursuant to the executive
executive director shall primarily report to the
president and is otherwise subject to the executive board’s and board of
board of directors shall set the executive director’s salary. He or she shall
be bonded in a sum the board of directors determines.
(c) The executive director shall serve at the board of
directors’ discretion and direction. The executive board, acting as the
personnel committee, may remove the executive director from his or her position
in accordance with terms of employment, but only after consultation with the
board of directors.
Section 2. Annual
Budget. The board of directors shall adopt
an annual operating budget for NABJ.
(a) The operating budget so approved shall, in accordance with
generally accepted accounting principles, allocate expenses and disbursements
as are usual and customary in the operation of similar organizations for the
succeeding calendar year.
(b) The president (or the president’s designees) shall present
the next year’s proposed calendar-year budget – as prepared by the treasurer
and executive director – to the board of directors for adoption as close as
possible to the prior calendar year’s last business day – and also to the
membership for disclosure as soon as possible by electronic means and at the
organization’s next annual meeting.
(c) The fiscal year of NABJ shall begin on Jan. 1 and end on Dec.
31 of each year.
Section 3. Chapters. The board of
directors is authorized to oversee the relationship with existing NABJ chapters
and to enter into a relationship with new chapters, pursuant to the operating procedures.
Section 4. Meetings. The board of
directors shall meet at least twice a year –
including at least once during the annual convention and at another time to adopt
the organization’s annual budget – or pursuant to the operating procedures. The
president or board of directors may call special board of directors meetings.
Rules governing notice of special meetings shall be established in the operating procedures.
Composition of the National Membership and Membership Eligibility.
Membership Composition. The organization
shall be composed of journalists, journalism educators, students interested in pursuing
a career in journalism and people or entities that support the organization’s
vision and goals.
Lifetime Members. Lifetime membership shall be open to all NABJ founders,
past NABJ presidents not removed from office, NABJ Hall of Fame inductees and
lifetime achievement recipients, and those who have paid for lifetime
membership as prescribed by the operating procedures. Lifetime members may vote in
any NABJ matter calling on the entire membership to decide except for
the election of the academic, media-related or student representatives.
Lifetime members may also seek election to the board of directors as
Section 3. Professional Members. Professional membership shall be open to any person
whose principal livelihood comes from creating, producing or supervising the
creation of journalism. Professional members may serve on the board of
directors and vote in any NABJ matter calling on the entire membership to
decide, except for the election of the academic, media-related or student
representatives to the board of directors.
Section 4. Emerging Professional Members. Emerging professional membership shall be open to anyone
who otherwise meets the criteria for professional membership as provided above,
but is also within the first five years of his or her journalism career.
Emerging professionals may not serve on the board of directors, but may vote in
any NABJ matter calling on the entire membership to decide, except for the
election of the academic, media-related or student representatives to the board
Section 5. Academic
Members. Academic membership
shall be open to high school, college and university faculty and other academic
professionals, including administrators and trainers, with research and or
teaching interests in journalism. Academic members with at least five years
prior experience in journalism may serve in the academic seat on the board of
directors, and may vote in any NABJ matter calling on the entire
membership to decide, except for the election of the media-related or student
representatives on the board of directors. And only such academic
members are eligible to serve as – or to vote for – the academic representative
to the board of directors.
Section 6. Alumni Members. Alumni membership shall be open to anyone who had been a professional or academic member of NABJ for
not less than 25 years, and who has either retired or otherwise no longer works
within journalism or academia. Alumni members may not serve on the board of
directors, but may vote in any NABJ matter calling on the entire membership to
decide, except for the election of the academic, media-related or
student board representatives.
Section 7. Media-Related Professional Members. Media-related professional membership shall be open to
an individual working primarily in a field related to journalism – such as
public relations, public information, marketing, communications, advocacy,
legal, etc. – and whose work supports the mission of NABJ. Media-related professional members shall be admitted to
national membership sessions, may voice a non-binding opinion at such meetings and
may serve on committees, provided they do not comprise more than one-third of
any committee. Only media-related professional members are eligible to serve as
– or to vote for – the media-related professional representative on the board
of directors. Media-related professional members may not vote in any other NABJ
Section 8. Student Members. Student membership shall be open to high school,
college or university students – including undergraduate, graduate and
associate degree students – who have a demonstrated interest in journalism.
Student members shall be admitted to national
membership sessions, may voice a non-binding opinion and may serve on
committees, provided they do not comprise more than one-third of any committee.
Only college or university student members are eligible to serve as – or
to vote for – the student representative on the board of directors. Student members may not vote in any other NABJ matter.
Section 9. Honorary or Corporate Members. The board of directors shall have the authority to
establish additional categories of non-voting memberships, such as honorary or
corporate memberships, to corporate sponsors
and community members who support NABJ’s mission. Such categories shall be
considered honorary, and no individual or sponsor granted such designation may
vote or is eligible for any of the rights afforded members as defined above.
Section 10. Membership Dues. To be a member in good standing in any membership category
provided in this article, an individual must meet the eligibility requirements
– and pay to NABJ the required membership dues pursuant to the organization’s operating procedures. The board of directors shall determine the dues structure and the due
dates for payment.
Section 11. Status prior to 2014. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any individual who once
held full member status between August 2009 and August 2014 may become a
lifetime or professional member provided he or she seeks lifetime or
professional member status by Dec. 31, 2014. Any individual deemed a lifetime
or professional member by such date may retain such status indefinitely,
provided his or her membership dues never lapses. If his or her dues lapse, the
individual must reapply for membership status in accordance with the guidelines
prescribed and may be re-admitted to membership, but only in the category for
which he or she is then currently eligible as defined in Sections 2-9
Section 12. Membership Committee. All applications for any NABJ membership category as
provided above shall be subject to the membership committee’s review. Anyone
wishing to appeal a related committee decision may do so to the board of
directors, which may endorse or overrule the committee’s decision.
Section 13. Disclaimer.
Nothing in this constitution or in this article shall be construed as limiting
the right of the organization to refer to persons or entities associated with
it as “members,” even though such persons or entities are not members as
defined in Sections 2-6 above, and no such reference shall constitute anyone a
member, within the meaning of the District of Columbia Code or the foregoing
provisions of this article, unless such persons shall have qualified for and be
a member in good standing as defined in Sections 2-6 above. All references in
this constitution, the NABJ bylaws, or in the Law, to “approval by the members”
or “approval by a majority of members” or a “quorum of the members” shall be
deemed to apply to the membership categories specified in Chapter 4, Article I,
Sections 2-6 only.
Membership Meeting, Powers and Voting.
Section 1. Purpose. The national membership
shall assemble at least once a year at such times and places as the board of directors
may determine for the purposes of:
(a) Hearing and
acting upon the reports of the national officers and board of directors.
education and professional development workshops at a national convention.
(c) Providing a job
fair primarily for those journalists seeking job opportunities.
(d) Hearing and
acting on such business that may be presented to and by the membership.
Section 2. Powers. The national
membership shall have the power to:
(a) Adopt amendments
to the constitution.
(b) Elect national
officers as prescribed above in Chapter 2, Articles I
(c) Do such other
things as may be necessary or appropriate for the good of the organization and
Section 3. Voting and Voting Eligibility. Any
member as defined in Chapter 4, Article I, Sections 2
through 6, can vote in accordance with this
constitution, the operating procedures and election committee guidelines. A quorum of
51 percent of a majority of the voting membership must be registered at the
convention. The membership shall have the authority to adopt, subject to
ratification by simple majority of those members voting at a duly called and
authorized annual meeting, any appropriate resolution, including, without
limit, any emergency resolution.
Article I. Chapters.
Section 1. Type of Chapters. NABJ will
align itself with two types of organizations for the
purposes of extending its mission into local communities and to journalists.
(a) Professional chapters shall be located in such
cities, municipalities or areas the board of directors may approve.
(b) Student chapters shall be made up
principally of college or university students interested in pursuing a career
Section 2. Chapter Organization. An
organization of five or more NABJ professional members may be considered for
professional chapter status if all of the following occur:
membership committee determines the applying organization’s constitution aligns
with this constitution. Any person wishing to appeal a related committee
decision may do so to the board of directors, which may endorse or overrule the
(b) The applying organization, at the
time of its application for alignment with NABJ, and at the time of the annual
renewal of that status, submits to NABJ a membership list showing that two-thirds
of the organization’s members are eligible for NABJ status as provided in Chapter 4, Article I, Sections 2-6 of this
(c) The president and vice president(s)
of the applying organization are lifetime or professional NABJ members as provided in Chapter 4, Article I, Section 2 or 3
and the remaining officers are NABJ members.
Section 3. Student Chapter Organization.
An organization of five or more NABJ student members may seek student chapter
status if it meets the criteria in the above section and has as its advisor an
NABJ member as defined in Chapter 4, Article I,
Sections 2-6 of this constitution.
Section 1. Regions.
NABJ shall be composed of four geographic regions, each of which shall elect a
regional director to represent it on the board of directors, pursuant to guidelines prescribed in this constitution, the
organization’s operating procedures and election committee guidelines.
Constitutional Amendments and Effective Date.
Section 1. Amendment Proposals. The
board of directors or any professional member may
propose amendments to this constitution.
Section 2. Process. The constitution may
be amended as follows:
(a) Proposed changes to this constitution must be submitted in writing
to the parliamentarian at least six (6) months prior to an annual national convention.
At that time, the parliamentarian will convene and lead the constitution and
bylaws committee to discuss or amend any proposed changes. The committee will
forward any proposed amendment(s) to the board of directors with a
recommendation. If approved by the board of directors, the committee, through
the national office, will circulate the proposed amendment(s), to the national
membership at least sixty (60) days prior to the next convention. The
membership would be asked to approve the amendment(s) at such convention.
Two-thirds of the total number of votes cast shall be required for an amendment
to be adopted.
(b) Unless otherwise provided in this constitution, amendments become
effective sixty (60) days following the adjournment of said annual national convention.
The parliamentarian, assisted by the national office, must circulate any
approved amendments to the board of directors and national membership within
those sixty (60) days.
Section 3. Enactment.
This constitution as amended shall take effect on Aug. 3, 2014, and shall
supersede any prior NABJ constitution.
-- Do you have questions about the proposed NABJ constitution? Send an email to email@example.com.