Archive for July, 2020

KCABJ Newsletter for July 2020
July 27, 2020

KCABJ Meeting

Thanks to Kansas City Association of Black Journalists member Kaci Jones and KCABJ Treasurer Bette Tate-Beaver, the organization pulled together the membership and potential members for an unprecedented Saturday, July 25 membership Zoom meeting. Bette provided the Zoom platform, and Kaci emailed the notices to people.

The Zoom meeting was necessary because of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, and the need for people everywhere in the United States to social distance to maintain public safety. COVID-19 first surfaced in late 2019 in Wuhan, China. As of July 26, more than 16 million people globally have tested positive for the disease, including more than 4.2 million in the United States, which leads the world in COVID-19 infections. The extremely contagious and deadly virus has killed nearly 650,000 people throughout the planet, including more than 148,000 in the United States, again a world leader.

Nevertheless, the first-of-its-kind KCABJ Zoom membership meeting attracted nearly 20 people, who had either joined the organization in the last couple of months or planned to join soon. From the meeting, Kaci was appointed to chair a membership committee that will pick a location, a time and date in September for a membership party that will enable blacks in journalism in the Greater Kansas City area to celebrate the work being done locally in covering the global pandemic and the unrest erupting from the May 25 Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd. Since it was founded in 1981, KCABJ has provided a foundation for social interactions among journalists of color, networking opportunities, a sounding board for professional development and a place for continuing education. The organization also has sponsored community forums, a student journalism academy for high school and college students, and a local media awards program, honoring the best of enterprise journalism about African Americans and other people of color. New members were encouraged to share their ideas because KCABJ is only as strong and as effective as its members’ input and willingness to get involved.

During the membership meeting, KCABJ also heard from Sia Nyorkor, the Region II Director of the National Association of Black Journalists, and Walter Smith-Randolph, a candidate for NABJ treasurer. Nyorkor explained that the NABJ convention — held in conjunction Aug. 5-8 with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists — would be completely virtual. Yet, it will include 90 panels and workshops online. The Jobs Fair will be virtual, providing journalists of color a unique opportunity to be interviewed for positions without the wait in long lines to see recruiters.

“NABJ is important; networking is crucial,” said Nyorkor, whose territory includes Kansas and Missouri. “We don’t want this to fail. The funding is definitely there.”

A COVID-19 hardship fund has been set up to benefit journalists of color who have been laid off but need to attend the convention to seek new opportunities, Nyorkor said. Some of the funders for the convention increased their contributions to ensure that the conference is successful. Nyorkor said the NABJ Monitor and TV news broadcast, staffed by students to cover the convention, also would continue but online. She said NABJ elections also take place this year to fill seven positions. People running for contested positions are campaigning online.

Smith-Randolph is among the candidates. He is seeking the position of NABJ treasurer. He said he wants more accountability and transparency in the budget process. He also supports NABJ having pandemic insurance. NABJ’s assets would have been nearly wiped out if it had to pay the more than $1.4 million the hotel may have charged the organization this year because of the traditional convention being canceled. That didn’t happen because the hotel canceled it because of COVID-19. Smith-Randolph also said NABJ needs to diversify its revenue stream because two-thirds of the annual budget comes from the convention. NABJ has struggled in recent years to emerge from being in the red.


Registration remains open for the Aug. 5-8 virtual NABJ/NAHJ convention. The theme remains “Power of the Past, Force of the Future.” More than 100 companies and organizations will join NABJ and NAHJ in presenting the largest convention for journalists of color.

Highlighted virtual convention features include:

  • More than 90 workshops, panels, forums, and training opportunities
  • A 3D career fair and exhibition hall featuring more than 70 companies armed with recruiters
  • The option for attendees to meet recruiters and managers live via video, phone and chat in their booths
  • The opportunity to build and share your professional profile and visual portfolio while also applying for job openings right at the virtual booths
  • An opening ceremony and reception co-produced with Walt Disney Parks and Resorts
  • At least 5 networking/happy hour receptions
  • Three breakfast and luncheon events (the first 1,200 registrants will receive free meal delivery)
  • The annual NABJ Sports Task Force Scholarship Jam featuring a celebrity DJ
  • The 2021 Houston Convention Kickoff party
  • The Newsmaker Plenary on the U.S. Presidential Candidates
  • The W.E.B. Du Bois Plenary powered by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
  • Special sessions focusing on social justice, racism in America and COVID-19
  • Exclusive movie screenings and upfronts
  • The Innovation Bubble (featuring the latest from technology companies)
  • The Authors Showcase (featuring new creative works hitting shelves)
  • The Visual Task Force photo auction
  • And a whole lot more (including the option to build your own virtual swag bag to take advantage of partner offerings and save important information as you experience the virtual environment)
  • Due to various and unexpected shifts and changes, we will not be able to host the award events virtually at the August convention.
  • We are planning to either host a virtually-produced awards show in the coming months or explore options to hold the awards event in person in the spring of 2021. We will then determine a timeline to announce finalists.
  • Speakers will include Stacey Abrams, Lester Holt, Soledad O’Brien, Maria Hinojosa, Yamiche Alcindor, Byron Pitts, Kimberly Godwin, Derrick Johnson, Laz Alonso, Jessie T. Usher, MC Lyte, Victoria Rowell, Lynn Toler, Roy Wood Jr., Dr. Regina Benjamin, Dr. Patrice A. Harris, Kamie Crawford, John B. King Jr., Chance the Rapper, Jenifer Lewis and more!

For more information on registering for the convention, go to

For the information on the convention at a glance go to

NABJ has taken a stand against sexism in the treatment of women covering sports. The organization said in a statement that it “is disappointed to learn of the reported harassment and mistreatment that women journalists have been experiencing as employees of Black Sports Online (BSO) and its CEO Robert Littal. The issue surfaced on Twitter after Tamantha Gunn, one of BSO’s former employees, posted a series of tweets that included a string of inappropriate and insensitive comments from Littal, exposing a toxic work environment. The Twitter thread can be found here.”

Women should be respected as professional colleagues and not treated as sexual objects, the brunt of sexual jokes or belittled for speaking up and commanding respect.

“In a time where Black voices are needed now more than ever in the media, media owners, especially those within the Black community, should be working to support and uplift their employees and not undermine their abilities because of their gender or refusal to participate in inappropriate behavior,” said Dorothy Tucker, NABJ President.

“We implore Mr. Littal’s advertisers, readers and supporters to also hold him accountable, and ensure the culture that has been reported is corrected. We encourage Mr. Littal to seek the help he needs to improve his management approach and to undergo sensitivity training, as well as move quickly to find a way to remedy the harm that has been done to these women.

“`The misogynistic behavior of Mr. Littal toward women at Black Sports Online is just sad and pathetic on so many levels. We are committed to not only addressing the need for change but also becoming the change that we want to see by taking a more active and vigilant role in addressing sexual harassment and other workplace issues,”’ said A. Sherrod Blakely, chair of the NABJ Sports Task Force.

The sexual harassment issue also came up at Essence, prompting NABJ to issue the following statement: “NABJ is disheartened about the multiple allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct at publications like ESSENCE, Okayplayer OkayAfrica and others. We have learned that some of the leaders at these companies such as Abiola Oke and Richelieu Dennis have been dismissed or have resigned, but still believe sweeping change has to occur now, as others may have also been involved. It is important to note that Dennis still remains the CEO of Essence Ventures, which owns Essence Communications. As we have said previously, it is important that the readers, consumers and advertisers of these platforms hold them accountable and demand change.”

NABJ applauded NBCUniversal’s “aggressive diversity initiative.”

“NBCU’s stated goals of having 50% of the news organization’s employees be women and 50% of its total workforce be people of color is a direction all media companies, including legacy and digital operations, should adopt and embrace,” NABJ President Dorothy Tucker said. “We implore these companies to ensure that their goals include hiring Black middle and senior managers.”

In other action, NABJ announced that it was please with Disney/ABC terminating “top ABC News executive Barbara Fedida, after substantiating allegations of racially insensitive comments made by her.

“The actions of Fedida are uncalled for, and points to the kind of barriers Black journalists face in advancing in newsrooms across the country.

“But we still call on Disney/ABC to do more. For more than month, we’ve sought to schedule a meeting with Chairman Peter Rice to discuss:

– Immediate redress for those who were wronged by Barbara Fedida

– An African American should be put in charge of the network’s diversity-in-hiring program

– ABC News/Disney should hire an outside consultant to assess the culture and work environment and policies at ABC News.

“NABJ is committed to standing up for and with Black journalists. We are living in a period where the voices of African American media professionals are as important as ever, and we are committed to ensuring opportunities for hiring and advancement are as fair and equitable as possible.

“We look forward to hearing from Chairman Rice.”

In addition, NABJ “is appalled to learn of new allegations of “rank racism” at the nation’s highest-rated cable network, Fox News.

This comes two years after Fox News paid $10 million to settle a racial discrimination lawsuit filed by Black employees. The NABJ release said that according to a report published by the, a 90-minute call was held in June with Black employees, where a number of them detailed numerous examples of racism at the network, including an explosive statement that management “created a white supremacist cell inside the top cable network in America.”

“If such allegations are substantiated, they clearly represent a hostile work environment for Black journalists at Fox News, and they must be taken seriously. Decisive action must be taken after a full investigation. We at NABJ will not tolerate Black employees having to be a part of any workplace where they are devalued, demeaned and not provided opportunities to grow and prosper. The challenges are not unique at any one media company.

“Fox News CEO Suzanne Scott and her management team have already agreed to and are scheduling a meeting with NABJ leadership to discuss these allegations and plans to address them. We previously met with Scott and her team in September 2018 to discuss ways in which NABJ can assist Fox News in advancing the cause of journalism and Black journalists.”

Elections are taking place at NABJ this year. To learn more go to

News You Can Use

KCTV5/KSMO/Meredith in the Kansas City has two job openings:

KCTV5/KSMO Assistant News Director and KCTV/KSMO News Producer. For more information, contact Monica Ngo, director of Human Resources at 913-677-7171 or send email to

Through the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri-Columbia, Hannah Yoon, independent visual journalist, Mason Trinca, documentary and editorial photojournalist, Sarah Fritsche, independent food writer and editor, and Maddie McGarvey, independent photographer, will discuss how to succeed as an independent journalist. They will talk about health care, building your client base, making time for personal projects, invoicing and contracts, how to prepare for slow months and more. For more information, go to

Job listings in the Maynard Institute’s communications include:

Senior Reporter, Racial Equity – Center for Public Integrity, Wash., DC

Justice Reporter – CalMatters, Sacramento preferred

Product Manager – CalMatters, Sacramento preferred

Analytics Manager – CalMatters, Sacramento preferred

Engagement Editor – CalMatters, Sacramento

Transportation Reporter – Chicago Tribune
Questions? Contact Mary Ellen Podmolik, Business Editor at Chicago Tribune, at

California Editorial Intern, Fall 2020 – POLITICO, Sacramento, CA

Reporter/Anchor – WCCO-TV, CBSN Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN

INN Member Collaborations Leader – Institute for Nonprofit News, Remote

The Columbia (Mo.) Chamber of Commerce is seeking a director of Women’s Networking. For more information, go to

The MLK50 in Memphis is seeking a managing editor. For more information go to

KC People

KCABJ’s membership increased by one with the addition of Bryant Maddrick.