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President's Message: NABJ Winter Journal
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Dear NABJ Family,

Before 2010 ended, NABJ celebrated the successes of three members who were promoted  to the positions of editor and vice president at daily newspapers. The celebrations were interrupted by a reality check. Gannett Company Newspapers laid off NABJ veterans and managing editors Don Hudson of the Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger and Rod Richardson of the Shreveport Times in Louisiana. For years, Don has produced a study that tracked African-American managers at newspapers. For a short time, his name was no longer on the list. Fortunately, he found a new job position as the executive editor of The Decatur (Ala.) Daily. The hits keep coming in 2011. Gannett recently announced all non-union employees working at its community newspapers must take a one-week furlough during the first quarter of 2011. Whether you work for a conglomerate or a small company, in print or television news, Shreveport or Chicago, I hear the same themes:

"They’re hiring younger and younger.”

"I’m working 12-hour days every day.”

"What raise?”

"I’m just happy to have a job.”

"I’ve been out of work for a year(s).”

The bottom line is we love what we do even if we feel like a co-dependent spouse married to our jobs. We can do better, but we’re reluctant to leave a comfortable cubicle for the unknown. The jobs are not as plentiful in traditional media, but companies are hiring and stealing innovative talent from the competition. There is one thing I want you to remember: NABJ is still here for YOU! We’ll extend your membership for six months if you’ve been laid off.

Despite setbacks and layoffs, there is progress in our advocacy efforts. The leadership at NPR, CNN, Politico, and Toronto news organizations responded favorably to our meetings and correspondence regarding diversity in hiring, retention, and promotions.

Chapter leaders please join our web community and exchange ways to speak up when diversity is shown the door. Tap concerned community leaders who will join your fight. There’s no such thing as a quiet revolution.

Tired of being stressed out and on the sidelines? Plan your escape tomorrow and start earning multiple streams of income. Our new Web site is equipped to enhance networking opportunities and provide a format for you to market yourself. There’s more to come as the Media Institute team and Neil Foote, chair of the entrepreneurial journalism committee, prepare for the convention and continuing education online. I’m looking for NABJ volunteers in key areas, including H.R. as we look to make our job referral system interactive.

Registration is open earlier than usual for the Philadelphia convention. Our new executive director, Maurice Foster, has the experience to ensure the convention continues to be a success. San Diego convention chairwoman Elise Durham took the convention to another level. Hats off to Elise for doing a fantastic job!

Rod Hicks of the Associated Press is the chairman of the Philadelphia convention. Dr. Sybril Bennett of Belmont University is chairwoman of convention programming. I welcome your input and service now as we move into convention mode. Drop me an e-mail to let me know your suggestions for making the Salute to Excellence gala even better. NABJ is on the move. We welcome your energy, enthusiasm and expertise.

Yours in service,

Kathy Y. Times

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