Normally KCABJ members would be exhausted, having completed another year of media awards handed out to Kansas City area journalists for enterprising stories about African Americans and other people of color and from awarding scholarships given to the top students in the summer class of the journalism academy. But none of that took place this year, breaking with two long-standing traditions. Scholarships had been awarded to students annually since 1987, and the media awards had been an annual feature for 22 years, beginning in 1991.
KCABJ is regrouping, rebuilding for 2015. The next KCABJ membership meeting will be Sunday, Nov. 16. The time will be in the afternoon so people can get done with church and have time to devote to doable ideas for KCABJ that they also are willing to put energy into.
Growing the membership has to be a priority. Also, KCABJ should have a holiday get-together. Come with ideas for both. KCABJ Treasurer Bette Tate-Beaver will send out meeting notices soon with the time and location of the November meeting.
News You Can Use
Amber Buck, formerly Amber Mobley and a former KCABJ member and academy graduate, is seeking journalists to volunteer at Alta Vista charter school. Amber is the head of the middle school’s English Department. It’s for Alta Vista’s (high school) Seniors Writing to Achieve Greatness program, which is set up to help students of color win scholarships. Volunteers would devote time to editing and questioning high school students for clarity in their writing. For more information contact Amber at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Association of Black Journalists is seeking workshop proposals for the 2015 NABJ Convention & Career Fair. It will take place Aug. 5-9 at the Hilton Minneapolis and Minneapolis Convention Center. The deadline for submitting workshop proposals is Nov. 16. For more information contact Scott Berry, program manager, at 301-405-0248 or email@example.com.
NABJ President Bob Butler announced this month that longtime NABJ supporter, CNN, has pulled its backing for the 2015 NABJ convention in Minneapolis.
NABJ previously had issued a statement expressing concern about the “atmosphere at CNN for African Americans.” Several black anchors “have left the anchor desk or CNN altogether in the past few years.” They include Soledad O’Brien, TJ Holmes and Suzanne Malveaux. An examination of newsroom managers shows only two African American executive producers. At least one lawsuit against CNN by a former writer/producer in CNN’s Los Angeles bureau alleges discrimination and wrongful termination.
CNN in 2007 had received NABJ’s “Best Practices” award for its efforts to increase diversity on air and behind the cameras. Butler said in an earlier release expressing concerns, “I know CNN is going through layoffs, but the departure of so many African Americans is worrisome.” CNN at that time had no comment.
CNN later contacted Butler to deny NABJ’s request for support for the 2015 convention. CNN then announced a major layoff in which at least five senior managers were let go.
“I understand the company has a right to make personnel decisions,” Butler said in a prepared release. “There were not that many African American managers at CNN in the first place. These layoffs have hurt our members tremendously. I am severely disappointed that CNN has ended our partnership.”
In a release dated Oct. 21, Butler appeals to black journalists to join NABJ, signaling that the national organization also is contending with membership issues the same as KCABJ is.
“Won’t you join us?” Butler writes. “Please consider joining or renewing your membership. Help us advance the cause of fostering an exemplary group of professionals that honors excellence and outstanding achievements by black journalists and outstanding achievement in the media industry as a whole.”
KCABJ has sent in the paperwork to renew its affiliate status with NABJ. The national organization in 2015 will celebrate its 40th anniversary. KCABJ was established in 1981.