Archive for December, 2019

KCABJ Newsletter for December 2019
December 20, 2019

Anticipating 2020

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all KCABJ members and supporters!

The New Year will be a big deal for the Kansas City Association of Black Journalists. It will be the organization’s 39th year in existence representing and advocating for African Americans who have chosen to be reporters, photographers, artists, editors, videographers, journalism educators and other multimedia storytellers.

2020 also will be the eve of the KCABJ’s 40th anniversary. Members will have to put their heads together to develop ways to celebrate how KCABJ has been of service to black journalists and to the community, too.

From 1982 through 2015, KCABJ has held annual journalism academies to help prepare high school and college students for careers in journalism. In those years, the program has graduated hundreds of students, some of whom continue to work in the news industry. As the news media have struggled financially, so has the interest in journalism as a career among young people. Not enough students have signed up the last three years, forcing KCABJ to cancel the academy. In addition, journalism in many high schools as well as school newspapers has all but disappeared in course offerings in area urban schools for whom the KCABJ academy was established. KCABJ members will have to determine how to re-energize interest in journalism careers among young people and in the intensive, two-week summer academy.

KCABJ from 1991 to 2016 annually held a news media awards program, promoting the best enterprise journalism about people of color in Greater Kansas City. KCABJ over the years gave out hundreds of awards, which helped promote the careers and interest in good journalism about communities of color among area newspapers, magazines, television and radio stations and public relations firms. KCABJ also has worked diligently to get faculty of color placed in journalism and communications programs at colleges and universities in Kansas and Missouri.

Members need to determine whether to continue those programs or begin new efforts through KCABJ.


NABJ President Dorothy Tucker recently traveled to Doha, Qatar, as part of efforts to counter increasing verbal and physical attacks on journalists, including NABJ members, in the United States and abroad.

Tucker spoke at a two-day Al Jazeera Center for Public Liberties and Human Rights’ symposium, titled “The Challenges of Press Freedom: Facing Impunity, Rule of Law and Human Rights.”

The speech, which was livestreamed globally on Dec. 9, called for action and unity in the international fight for press freedom and journalists’ protection and shared NABJ’s plan to be an active partner in the cause. Tucker signed an NABJ Declaration of Partnership, met with leaders of Al Jazeera and heads of various press freedom organizations while in Doha.

A recent analysis from Reporters Without Borders’ 2019 World Press Freedom Index, showed that the United States has been classified as a “problematic” media climate. “Of all the world’s regions, it is the Americas (North and South) that have suffered the greatest deterioration in its regional score measuring the level of press freedom,” the analysis states.

More than a year after NABJ passed a resolution condemning the U.S. Administration’s detrimental actions, statements and hostile attitude toward press freedom, NABJ is disheartened that progress has not been made. As a world leader, other countries follow the United States’ example, and now more than ever we have seen a rise in not only the disrespectful and demeaning attacks that some black journalists have experienced while covering their beats — such as the White House — but also in the rise in dangerous work environments for international journalists, sadly leading to violence, imprisonment and death.

“America must do better, and governments worldwide must do better,” Tucker said. “No journalist should be attacked or harmed for simply striving to do their jobs effectively. Action must be taken because at this very moment a journalist somewhere in this world is being treated like a criminal or worse. The United States should be ashamed that esteemed journalists and NABJ members like April D. Ryan (American Urban Radio Networks, CNN), Joy-Ann Reid (MSNBC), Abby Phillip (CNN), and Yamiche Alcindor (PBS NewsHour) have been consistently and publicly verbally attacked by our own President (Donald Trump) for simply asking the important and tough questions that citizens deserve answers to. And, unfortunately, efforts to dilute and destroy press freedom abroad hit closer to home than one may think.”

News You Can Use

NABJ is offering the 2020 NABJ Ethel Payne Fellowship with a $5,000 travel award. The travel award provides an opportunity for a NABJ member to gain foreign correspondence experience in Africa and the necessary assistance to complete a project or singular report on Africa.

The fellowship is named for the first female, African American commentator employed by a U.S. network when CBS hired her in 1972. Known as the “First Lady of the Black Press,” Payne, a Chicago native, was a lecturer and columnist whose eloquent advocacy while reporting on the civil rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s gained her national fame. Payne, who died in 1991, was the first African American female journalist to focus on international news reporting. The deadline to apply is Jan. 13. For more information, go to

NABJ is offering its “Basics Bootcamp” of journalism from Feb. 14-15 at Paul Quinn College. Panels for the two-day, intense training will discuss balancing writing an article with the increasing demands to tell the story through different forms — visuals, social media and websites. For more information, go to

The National Football League and the National Association of Black Journalists are offering four summer internships for students seeking the opportunity to contribute to the League’s success while receiving an unmatched, behind-the-scenes learning experience. The summer program covers a minimum of eight weeks, from Monday, June 8, 2020 through Friday, July 31, 2020. Interns will be required to work five full days (about 40 hours) a week. For more information, go to

NABJ and the Ringer are offering two full-time summer internships in Los Angeles. Interns will work in either the audio, editorial, social media or video departments. This is a paid internship and has a full-time requirement of 40 hours per week. While the time frame of the internship is negotiable, applicants must be able to commit to a minimum of 12 weeks in addition to attending the NABJ-NAHJ National Convention from July 8-12 in Washington, D.C. For more information, go to

The National Association of Black Journalists is seeking proposals from NABJ-NAHJ members for the July 8-12 convention in Washington, D.C., at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park. Members are limited to submitting no more than two proposals each. The deadline is Jan. 17. For more information, go to

NABJ is asking members to make monetary donations to the organization at the following levels:


  • $19.75 in honor of the year of our founding.
  • $44 in honor of our Founders.
  • Any amount will be accepted, and feel free to give as much as you choose. The more you give the more others will be helped.
  • For more information go to

People planning to attend the NABJ-NAHJ convention in July in Washington, D.C., can now register at the convention hotel. People can make their reservations at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. Rooms are expected to go fast. For more information, go to call the hotel at  202-797-3804. The overflow hotel is the Omni Shoreham, which is adjacent to the Marriott. NABJ expects rooms to go fast there as well. Call 800-843-6664 (800-THE-OMNI).

Nominations are now being accepted for 2020 NABJ awards including awards for Lifetime Achievement, Journalist of the Year and Best Practices. From those who blazed the trail to the ones who fight to make sure our stories are heard, even in the face of adversity, NABJ bestows 12 special honors on journalism organizations, professionals, educators and students committed to exemplary coverage of the black community. The awards will be presents at the #NABJNAHJ20 Convention & Career Fair scheduled on July 8-12, 2020 at the Washington Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C. The NABJ Special Honors committee solicits nominations of journalism professionals, educators and students who have distinguished themselves with integrity, courage, innovation, achievement, leadership, and influence on those within the profession.
The Special Honors Committee reviews all entries and forwards recommendations to the NABJ Board of Directors, which names the winners. NABJ reserves the right not to name a winner in any particular category in any given year.
If you have questions or need to edit your submission, please contact The submission deadline is Friday, February 21, 2020. After this date, submissions cannot be updated. For more information, go to

NABJ is offering a Covering the Evidence: Adolescent Health, an all-expenses-paid, 2.5-day boot camp designed to deepen journalists’ knowledge of adolescent health and behavior issues, while also building communication skills among scientists conducting related research and fostering trust and understanding between these two professional groups. In addition to joint activities with scientists, journalists will get up to speed on the science behind newsworthy issues facing today’s teens, including:

  • vaping and health
  • screens, social media, and well-being
  • mental health disparities
  • education equity and academic achievement gaps


This boot camp will be at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), in Baltimore, from Thursday, March 19 – Saturday, March 21. This is a no-cost event; all travel, accommodation, and program costs will be covered by SciLine’s philanthropic grants. The course will be accessible to reporters without deep backgrounds in science and will feature clear, research-based presentations without preference for specific political or policy perspectives. The deadline to apply is Jan. 6. For more information, go to

The Journalism Education Association is seeking an assistant director to start August 2020. The headquarters staff works at offices at Kansas State University, the JEA’s host institution since 1987. For more information, go to

KC People

KCABJ received a thank you card from Global Ties KC for KCABJ members taking the time to meet with journalists from Ukraine last month. “Our group was very appreciative for your time and insight,” the card said. “The meeting was very powerful and provided (the Ukrainian journalists) with a much-needed inside look at issues of discrimination and disparity in both the field of journalism as well as the United States as a whole. We appreciate your time and support in making this program a success!”

KCABJ Membership Application for 2020

Mail this application with your $35 check or money order ($25 for students) to KCABJ, P.O. Box 414014, Kansas City, Mo. 64141. It covers your annual membership dues. Membership entitles you to receive the KCABJ monthly newsletter sent via email and emailed monthly meeting notices.






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(Membership in KCABJ runs from January through December. Membership is subsidized by donations from KCABJ members.)