Archive for January, 2021

KCABJ Newsletter for January 2021
January 14, 2021

President’s Column

   On Jan. 6, we were again reminded of the importance of journalism.

   The world watched while supporters and extremists of President Donald Trump violently stormed the Capitol in Washington, D.C., forcing our elected officials to pause their duty to certify the 2020 election. While trying to interrupt our democracy, the insurrections beat a police officer to death with a fire extinguisher.  Members of the media were attacked and assaulted.

   We saw the lack of force used on the Capitol rioters compared with Black Lives Matter protesters last year. We saw how “law and order” did not seem to apply to everyone. There are several members of Congress and more than a dozen Capitol police officers under investigation for their potential involvement in the riot.

   There are still so many unanswered questions. Journalists have the power to ask the questions necessary to hold people in power accountable to the people they serve. 

   Even though we are local media, this is still relevant to our community. We must not lose our courage in pursuit of the truth.

   At the same time, it’s important that the media accurately and objectively portray these events with the correct language while adding historical context. The insurrection at the Capitol was one of the largest domestic terror attacks on American soil and should not be minimized.

   I urge all journalists to stay vigilant as the FBI warns there will be more armed gatherings in support of President Trump in the future.

   NABJ has issued a security advisory asking news managers to access safety protocols and offer security for crews in potentially dangerous situations. NABJ is asking members to be cautious on daily assignments and always be aware of their surroundings.

   We are not encouraging fear, but it is important to understand that some extremists see journalists as a target. Take care of yourselves physically and mentally.

   Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you need any type of support.  

-Kaci Jones 

KCABJ President

KCABJ News

   KCABJ spent part of the January membership meeting discussing the front-page “apology” and series of news stories on Dec. 20, 2020, in The Kansas City Star for its institutional complicity, perpetuating racism against African Americans. KCABJ members said they hoped the apology was the first step in repairing the damage to the Black community that the newspaper caused.

   Members recognized that the project, the brainchild of senior Star reporter Mara’ Rose Williams, followed the police killing of African American George Floyd on May 25 in Minneapolis and the national and international protests that followed.

   KCABJ members noted that when they get a meeting with The Star’s management they should seek:

  • More Black writers to cover The Kansas City Chiefs.
  • More Black editors in management roles.
  • More strategic coverage efforts on everyday stories such as sledding that include African Americans and other people of color.
  • Coordination with a KCABJ Media Monitoring Committee, taking a close look at stories that are covered to ensure that they are inclusive.
  • Tangible outlines must be developed and shared with other news media outlets.
  • Expanded Rolodex of diverse sources to be called upon by the news media.
  • More assertiveness from KCABJ and its members with news media companies.
  • Reporting from The Kansas City Star that is more inclusive of the entire metro area and not just the Country Club Plaza and the Power and Light District.

   In other action, the KCABJ Webinar Committee met after the general membership meeting. The focus of the Feb. 22 webinar will be on sports reporting with a focus on the winning streak of the Kansas City Chiefs. The cost will be $5 for students, $15 for adults. High school students are the target audience. The speakers will include Breland Moore, Harold Kuntz, Lynn Worthy, Darren Smith and Kennetra Pulliams. For students, KCABJ would reach out to the Boys and Girls Club of Kansas City, email school districts, the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, Prep KC, 810 Varsity, area colleges and Instagram.

   A flyer also should be produced with the faces of the speakers to appeal to students. KCABJ also could have a sports summit to gin up interest. The next meeting of the group will be 11 a.m. Jan. 30.

   The plan will be updated at the February membership meeting.

   The membership also decided to narrow its focus for 2021 to three achievable goals. They might include:

  • Making sure the Kansas City area news media produce fair and unbiased accounts of the goings-on in the metro area.
  • Holding all news media accountable.
  • Raising KCABJ’s visibility in the community.
  • Reaching out to more schools to identify students who have an interest in journalism careers.
  • Providing more guidance, continuing education and mentoring among members in KCABJ.
  • Celebrating members’ work and providing professional support.

   Plans will get underway soon to celebrate 2021 as KCABJ’s 40th anniversary. That may include any news stories and newscasts about the organization.

   Volunteers are being sought for committees including Media Monitoring, Strategic Planning, Finance, Print Advocacy, Membership, Special Events and Awards, Social Media and Branding.

   Kansas City area job openings:

  • MMJ – 41 Action News
  • News operations manager position – Fox 4
  • KCTV 5 News – meteorologist, weekend anchor, producer
  • Desktop publisher for The Call; someone who lays out the ads and in some cases lays out the B section of the paper, and setting the obits, classifieds and business ads (looking for graphic designer realm)

   The next KCABJ membership meeting will be Saturday, Feb. 13.

NABJ News

   The National Association of Black Journalists issued a statement this month condemning “the senseless violence and rioting” on Jan. 6 at the U.S. Capitol, as well as “the shameful mistreatment and arrests of journalists who were reporting from the scene” some of them NABJ members. To see the full statement, go to NABJ Condemns Shameful Violence, Terrorism at U.S. Capitol, Calls for Protection of Journalists – NABJ (nabjonline.org). NABJ also calls for those responsible for the rioting to be held accountable. To see the full statement, go to Insurrectionists Who Attacked Media Must Be Held Accountable – NABJ (nabjonline.org).

   NABJ President Dorothy Tucker followed up saying: “On behalf of our members, NABJ is asking all news managers to assess protocols and be proactive in providing extra security or assigning teams of reporters rather than sending them out alone.

   “To our members, do not hesitate to let your managers know of any occurrences or suspicious behavior, as well as potential threats.

   “We are also reminding our members to be cautious on daily assignments, to keep their media credentials with them, to be aware of their surroundings at all times, and, if they suspect danger, err on the side of caution and leave.

   “But at all times keep those cellphone cameras rolling.”

   NABJ is seeking professional NABJ members to serve on committees evaluating 2021 internship, fellowship and scholarship submissions. For more information, go to NABJ Selection Committees (wufoo.com).

News You Can Use

   The Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University seeks applicants for the Eugene C. Patterson Professor of the Practice of Journalism and Public Policy, an endowed chair in the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy. Application letters  along with a CV and the names of three references, should be submitted to Bill Adair, chair of the search committee, via the following website: https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/17709. The application deadline is January 15, 2021.

   The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri School of Journalism is providing a “RJI Student Innovation Competition with a first-place prize of $10,000. For more information, to go Webinar Registration – Zoom.

   KCUR-FM has an opening for a news editor. For more information, contact Scott Canon, managing editor of the Kansas News Service. He can be reached at 816-235-8023 or canons@unkc.edu.

   The Metcalf Institute is seeking applicants for its Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists. For more information, go to Apply for Metcalf Institute’s Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists – Metcalf Institute.

  PRNewswire reports that NBCUniversal News Group announced its launching of NBCU Academy on the campus of Clark Atlanta University and select universities and colleges across the country. The new, innovative, multiplatform journalism training and development program is designed for four-year university and community college students offering on-campus training and online programming in the communications field.

KC People

   KCABJ’s membership increased with the additions of Kia Breaux, Rod Richardson, Shay Moore, Aaron Ladd, Khadijah Forrest, KCSN Media, Bette Tate-Beaver and Lewis Diuguid.