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News & Press: President's Corner

Remarks From NABJ President Bob Butler at the Memorial Service of NABJ Founder Chuck Stone

Sunday, May 4, 2014   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Aprill Turner
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President Bob Butler Delivers Remarks at
Chuck Stone's Memorial Service. (Photo By Brett Chambers)

The following statement was given by President Bob Butler at the memorial service for NABJ Founder and Past President, Chuck Stone (May 3, 2014 - University of North Carolina, School of Journalism)

I bring greetings from the thousands of members of NABJ, those who are members and those who don't know they are members.... Or are not members yet. Those greetings are relayed on behalf of the staff and the board of directors, including Vice President of Broadcast Dedrick Russell and Region 3 Director Gayle Hurd who are here with us today.

We all owe a great debt of gratitude to our founders for having the vision and foresight to create a strong foundation that has allowed NABJ to grow much larger than some of them even thought possible. Indeed I have talked to a few who said they thought NABJ would only last a few years. Many of them also give credit to Chuck for being the guiding force behind our creation: whether it was appointing a surprised Allison Davis as the first parliamentarian, suggesting the name or sending instructions to board members via xeroxed letters long before email and texting. And now here we are approaching our 39th birthday.

In order to explain why I think it has flourished I want you to think of that time you moved -- and we journalists move a lot. Think about about trying to find a new church home. You go to one church and it's okay. You go to another one and it's alright. You go to that one church and you just feel the spirit and you say, "yeah! this is home."

After working many years without being a member, and dealing with those issues in the newsroom... Being one of few or the only one, I attended my first convention. I walked in and saw all these brothers and sisters looking good and sounding good. I was like, yeah, these folks know what I've been going through. I'll be back. And I have every year.

We now do more training for our members than any other journalism association. Our career fair is the largest for journalists in the country. We advocate on behalf of our members and our community.

At this year's convention in Boston we will be discussing the midterm elections by asking tough questions of the democratic and republican parties. No longer will they be allowed to come to a gathering of journalists and not have to answer questions. We'll be exploring voting rights and attacks thereon. We'll do training, training and more training.

And we'll give awards to honor the best work of out members.

All of this because Chuck and the rest of the founders had a vision. All of this because Chuck built the foundation upon which we all stand.

The board wanted to honor Chuck in Boston. He's already in the Hall of Fame and he has left behind a lifetime legacy in NABJ.

Because of that, the Board of Directors last week renamed one of our top Special Honors. This year at the Salute to Excellence gala on August 2nd, we will be awarding the first Chuck Stone Lifetime Achievement Award.

I thank you for inviting me to speak on behalf of NABJ. I hope my words have adequately honored the man that created the best journalism association -- not journalism association of color -- but the best journalism association in the world.

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