Cultivating positive African-American images in the media is not the sole responsibility of Hollywood. The professionals that deliver our daily news content need similar support as they work in powerful industries that shape global opinions and affect change. Out of this great need, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) was born.
NABJ was founded in December 1975 by forty-four men and women in Washington, D.C. The group was formed to support and advocate for journalists of color and students and other media personnel around the world. Since its founding, the group has grown to over 3,300 members nationally in both professional and student chapters.
One of the key annual programs hosted by NABJ is its annual convention, held in various cities around the U.S. The plenary sessions, combined with an onsite career fair, are a major draw for journalists of color and those seeking work in television, radio, print, and online media.
The organization’s president is elected every two years. Kathy Times, an independent journalist from Jackson, Mississippi, is currently serving in that role. The board of directors with whom she works come from outlets in major media markets. Roland Martin, a CNN contributor and host of Washington Watch on TV One, also serves on the board. They are supported by nine national standing committees that handle issues such as elections, finance, and communications.
NABJ’s purpose extends deep into its work with different sectors of its membership. The group offers several task forces that focus on specific areas of development including arts and entertainment, copy editing, digital journalism, LGBT issues, sports, and visual journalism. NABJ also offers a task force designed specifically to support young journalists just starting in their careers. Also, maintaining their commitment to the organization’s founding, there is a task force for founders, past presidents and other leaders with 25 years of tenure with NABJ.
The organization also offers the NABJ Media Institute, a mix of webinars and hands-on professional development courses, entrepreneurship assistance, and technical training at national and regional conferences and other events. The Media Institute also hosts the NABJ/NY Times Leadership Academy.
For more information about the National Association of Black Journalists, visit their website.