Archive for April, 2020

KCABJ Newsletter for April 2020
April 19, 2020

KCABJ Academy

In the last two months, the new coronavirus, or COVID-19, has changed the way KCABJ members and other blacks in the news media have done their jobs. Some are working from home. Some are doing interviews via Zoom, Skype or Facetime. Nearly all of the media are consumed with the effects the pandemic is having on the country.

Journalists of color, nevertheless, are getting the job done, keeping the public informed about the pandemic and the threats it continues to create for people.

A sad development in the last month has been the death of Donna Stewart, editor and publisher of The Call of Kansas City. Ms. Stewart passed away April 11. She had been diagnosed in late 2019 with pancreatic cancer.

Stewart, 65, began her 42-year newspaper career with The Call in May 1977 after graduating from Lincoln University in Jefferson City. She worked closely with legendary Call editor and publisher Lucile H. Bluford. Ms. Bluford died June 13, 2003, at age 91. Ms. Stewart helped care for Ms. Bluford until her death, and then continue to publish The Call.

The newspaper established in 1919 championed civil rights efforts in Kansas City, providing coverage of black people and businesses when no other news media would cover them. The Call plans to continue publishing under the leadership of Eric Wesson, acting managing editor.

KCABJ in 2003 established a scholarship in Ms. Bluford’s honor, and Ms. Stewart has helped to present the scholarship to the student annually selected based on merit to receive it.

A memorial service has not been set yet largely because of the COVID-19 threat and restrictions on the number of people who can attend.


Because of COVID-19, the National Association of Black Journalists is asking that people needing to contact individuals or the NABJ office reach out to Angela Holcomb, executive assistant, at She will forward any messages to the right person.

Meanwhile, NABJ continues to prepare for the July 8-12 joint convention with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in Washington, D.C. Michael Wilbon, a sports journalist, has been picked as the NABJ honorary chair for the 2020 joint.

Since early March, NABJ has been exploring three paths for the convention — an “in-person” convention as scheduled, a “virtual convention,” and a “hybrid in-person/virtual convention” are all being planned. NABJ will proceed down one of the three paths, hoping the in-person gathering works out. Which path we choose will be dictated by COVID-19 conditions in mid-May. There are many factors to consider including local, state and federal government restrictions, the local COVID-19 environment and at the top of the list is prospective attendee comfort with health concerns.

NABJ members are being asked to take the survey below on the July convention. To provide your views, go to

NABJ members have not gone untouched by COVID-19, which has disproportionately infected and claimed the lives of African Americans nationwide. Part of that is linked to disparities in health care access among African Americans and related health care vulnerabilities such as hypertension, diabetes and heart conditions. NABJ reported that at least one of the attendees participating in the Millennial Media Summit on March 7 in New York at Columbia University tested positive for the coronavirus. Several weeks later, NABJ President Dorothy Tucker tested positive for the new coronavirus.

Tucker shared with NABJ members: “I only experienced mild symptoms — a low-grade fever and a couple of days of fatigue. That was it.

“Because of my past travels, I have no idea where I contracted the virus. What’s important is that I have fully recovered, and my family did not have any symptoms. I am thankful.

“My experience is a reminder that we must be mindful of our health and self-care. Please remember that it is OK to respectfully decline any assignment that makes you feel uncomfortable.

“Make sure you wear protective gear at all times and practice social distancing. We need you healthy so you can continue to do great work. Please  join me in sending well wishes to our members who are still recovering from the coronavirus.

“Take care and thank you for all you do! Please email to share any thoughts, concerns or experiences.”

Because of COVID-19, some NABJ members may have been laid off or face job uncertainty. NABJ urges members to visit to access more than 120 jobs, representing about 100 employers. In fact, several new jobs were posted in the last few days.

Because of President Donald Trump’s attacks during his press briefings on journalists, NABJ has issued a statement saying it is “appalled to watch recent press briefings where the president of the United States is referring to veteran journalists, like our member Yamiche Alcindor and other industry colleagues, as being “terrible journalists” and accusing them of asking ‘nasty questions.’

“In a time where the entire world is looking for answers, it is the job of journalists to ask the hard and important questions, and it is the job of officials to answer them factually. Now more than ever, as we face the coronavirus pandemic together, citizens deserve facts. No journalist should be belittled or insulted for simply doing their job. We ask the president to treat all journalists fairly during this critical time.”

NABJ is providing tips on self-care during the pandemic. Go to for more information. An NABJ member survey is at

NABJ also is providing an “Online Teaching During the Coronavirus Pandemic” out of Temple University. Go to

This is an election year for NABJ. Here is the list of certified candidates for the 2020-2022 Board of Director:

Vice President-Print



Ernest Owens


Ernest Media Empire, LLC

Philadelphia, PA

Walter Smith-Randolph

General Assignment Reporter

WKRC Local 12 News

Cincinnati, OH


Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig


MFC3 Media/shades Magazine – Celebrating All Women of Color

Oakland, CA


Region II Director


Region IV Director

Tre’vell Anderson

Freelance Multimedia Journalist

Los Angeles, CA

Academic Representative

Dr. Milbert O. Brown, Jr.

Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Communication

Washington Adventist University

Takoma Park, MD

Jarrad Henderson

Senior Multimedia Producer

USA Today

McLean, VA

Russell Motley


Florida Memorial University

Miami Gardens, FL

Media-Related Representative


You can learn more about our candidates HERE.

Getty Images and the National Association of Black Journalists are collaborating on a new $10,000 award to a university student focused on photojournalism. The deadline to apply for the Getty Images Inclusion Scholarship is April 27. For more information, go to

Opportunity Knocks

The E.W. Scripps Company – Entertainment and Media Industry has an opening for a Journalism Career Program Producer — Entertainment and Media Industry Opportunity in Kansas City. For more information, go to