KCABJ Newsletter for August 2009

NABJ Blues
The National Association of Black Journalists attracted only about half of the persons it normally gets at its annual convention.
The convention took place in Tampa, Fla. About 1,900 persons registered. Normally about 3,000 people go to the convention. The jobs fair also was about a third of its normal size.
It follows a trend of attendance being down at journalism conventions of all colors nationwide. The National Association of Hispanic Journalists held its convention a couple of months ago in Puerto Rico. The Asian American Journalists Association held its convention in August in Boston, and the Native American Journalists Association’s convention was in Albuquerque, N.M.
During the NABJ convention, Kathy Times, a former officer of KCABJ, was elected president. Deirdre Childress was elected vice president/print, and Bob Butler was elected vice president/broadcast. Roland Martin was elected secretary.
Nearly 40 students participated in the 2009 NABJ Student Multimedia Project at the Aug. 5-9 convention. They produced a newspaper, radio program, TV newscast and online production. The young people who staffed the operation included Veronica Wells, a journalism student at the University of Missouri-Columbia. Wells was in Kansas City with an MU group visiting KCABJ a few months ago.
The NABJ board during the convention expanded membership to include persons working in online and emerging media. NABJ currently has 3,500 members. Annual dues is $100.

Diversity Downbeat
NewsPro magazine reported in its August issue that overall the news industry experienced an 11.3 percent drop in newsroom employment. However, black journalists saw their numbers fall by 13.4 percent.
The Radio-Television News Directors Association reported in its annual survey of women and minorities in local news that the number of women increased, but the number of minorities fell – led by a 10 percent drop in the number of Hispanic staffers working for Hispanic TV stations.
Women make up more than 41 percent of the TV news work force – a new high. The number of women working in radio was 28.1 percent.
The number of minorities fell from 23.6 percent in 2008 to 21.8 percent in 2009.
Overall, though, the number of journalism jobs continues to contract with more newspaper and television and radio stations planning layoffs. UNITY Journalists of Color reports that 33,941 jobs have been lost in the news industry since Sept.15, 2008.

Toxic Feedback
Poynter Online reports that news organizations have made their operations more accessible providing telephone numbers and e-mail addresses of writers, enabling readers to leave comments.
However, that practice has had the unintended effect of promoting hateful and racist speech. Those make up a large segment of the comments that readers leave on news Web sites. Some news organizations are reacting by disabling the commenting function on some or all stories and other news content.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune, for example, does not allows comments on stories about crime, Muslims, fatalities, suicides, gays, distressed local companies, racially sensitive issues, local homes and with what an entertainment columnist writes.

News to Go Places
The University of Pennsylvania is seeking applicants for its PhD programs in education. The effort is geared to prepare black men for doctorates. For more information go to http://www.gse.upenn.edu/blackmen.
NABJ is holding a Capitolbeat Conference Aug. 20-22 in Indianapolis to give statehouse reporters and editors insight into policy debates. For more information go to http://www.nabj.org.
The Journalism Center on Children and Families is taking applications for its Sept. 13-15 conference titled, “Ladder of Success: Covering Early Childhood Learning.” For more information go to http://www.nabj.org.
The National Health Policy Training Alliance is having a conference Oct. 8-9 in Las Vegas. It is seeking applications from journalists. For more information call Sherice Perry at 202-628-3030, or send e-mail to sperry@familiesusa.org.

KC People
KCABJ was represented at the NABJ convention. Steve Penn and Lewis Diuguid were there for the organization. Lisa Benson, a reporter for KSHB-NBC-TV, Channel 41 Action News was also there.
KCABJ’s membership grew to 31 with the additions of Steve Penn and Ramanda Hicks. Hicks had been a student in the KCABJ academy in the early 1990s. She works at the University of Missouri-Kansas City now.
KCABJ Vice President/Broadcast Robyn King has set up a Facebook page for KCABJ. The e-mail address is robbyj7@hotmail.com.
The karaoke night KCABJ had at the Flea Market attracted three persons. No KCABJ members sang. As a matter of fact, the singing was so bad they couldn’t even hum along.
KCABJ member Toriano Porter has been promoted from a beat reporter to an assistant sports editor at The Examiner in Independence.

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