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News & Press: NABJ News

Finalists Announced for 2017 NABJ Professional Chapter of the Year

Thursday, May 25, 2017  
Posted by: Brittani Butler
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 25, 2017) -- The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is proud to announce the finalists for the NABJ Professional Chapter of the Year Award. The nominees are the Baltimore Association of Black Journalists, Pittsburgh Black Media Federation and Southern New England Association of Black Journalists.


The NABJ Chapter of the Year Award is presented to a professional affiliate chapter for its accomplishments during the eligibility period. The criteria includes but is not limited to the number of new members who have joined the chapter and NABJ, the chapter's community activities and programs, and the number and size of scholarships awarded by the chapter.


"The heart of NABJ is in its local chapters. They are the association's boots on the ground and are key in fulfilling NABJ's mission of providing quality programs and services to advocating on behalf of black journalists," said NABJ President Sarah Glover. "These three chapters are applauded for the work in their communities on behalf of NABJ."


Baltimore Association of Black Journalists

The Baltimore Association of Black Journalists (BABJ) is a vivacious chapter filled with robust programing, professional development and a fast-growing membership roster. The chapter - one of three that pre-date NABJ - went dormant for many years, recovered enough to be tapped as the host city for the association's 2016 Region I Conference in Baltimore. Speakers at "One Year After Freddie Gray: Navigating Social Justice in Journalism," included U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), Mayor Catherine Pugh, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis and local Black Lives Matter advocate DeRay McKesson and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Wesley Lowery. It was an event that trended on Twitter. The chapter boosted its membership efforts that led to  a healthy balance of working professionals and students, growing to 80 members in 2016. On the advocacy front, BABJ stood up for those in the Baltimore market, pushing for the rights of all members of the media to be present in City Hall press conference and meetings. The chapter sent a letter to former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake condemning a reporter ban targeting a black male journalist at NPR station WYPR-FM. The organization also honored the historic promotion of BABJ member Sam Davis to Managing Editor of The Baltimore Sun.


Pittsburgh Black Media Federation

In 2016, the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation (PBMF) presented solid programming, increased its visibility and outreach and strongly advocated for fair media coverage. In March 2016, the chapter gained national prominence after quickly issuing a statement against WTAE-TV reporter Wendy Bell's post on her work-affiliated Facebook page, in which she inappropriately opined about the families and race of unidentified suspects in a mass shooting. PBMF met with WTAE management, and both sides agreed to partnerships to improve diverse recruiting and coverage at the station. In September 2016, PBMF held its first media diversity summit, "Press Forward: A Discussion of Race, Diversity & Inclusion in the Pittsburgh News Industry," which included the release of PBMF's own study on local media diversity - the report showed that diversity is sorely lacking in Pittsburgh newsrooms - and kicked off an ongoing media diversity series. The chapter presented and co-hosted programs that provided journalism insight and training, such as a 15th anniversary panel on 9/11's impact on media coverage; an event about changes to right-to-know laws; a panel on transferring ideas and writing skills to book publishing; and a discussion on media coverage of water issues in Flint, Michigan and elsewhere. Finally, it held its 33rd annual Frank Bolden Urban Journalism Workshop for teens.


Southern New England Association of Black Journalists

The three-year-old Southern New England Association of Black Journalists (SNEABJ) has worked hard to uphold the standards of NABJ while advocating for black journalists in the Connecticut, Rhode Island and Western Massachusetts area. In 2016, it crafted solid programming while boosting organization's membership. The chapter's two most significant events in 2016 were its second annual student forum, hosted by The University of Rhode Island, and its second annual fundraiser to raise money for its scholarship fund. The forum had an esteemed panel of journalists, including Freddie Coleman of ESPN Radio, who served as keynote speaker, along with Karen Rezendes, News Director of WPRI-TV, Darren Haynes, ESPN sportscaster and Alisha Pina, from The Providence Journal. The scholarship fundraiser, called "Painting for our Future," featured four artists who painted a picture in 90 minutes that the chapter then auctioned off. The space and goods were donated, and artists donated their time. The chapter netted almost $4,000 bringing its fund total to more than $5,600, which allowed it to establish a fourth scholarship for 2017, in addition to three $1,000 scholarships for deserving students in the SNEABJ region. The fourth scholarship will be awarded to a college junior/senior to attend the NABJ conference in New Orleans.


This year's Professional Chapter of the Year will be announced at the Opening Ceremony on Aug. 9 during NABJ's Annual Convention and Career Fair in New Orleans. Register for the #NABJ17 Convention here




About the National Association of Black Journalists: An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide. For additional information, please visit


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