Archive for February, 2021

KCABJ Newsletter for February 2021
February 16, 2021

President’s Column

   Many of you have been grieving the loss of one of our own local journalist Terez Paylor. Our thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones and friends during this difficult time.

   In my short time in Kansas City, I didn’t get to meet Terez. However, I have been reading stories about his life and I can honestly say I am inspired by Terez.

   The Howard University graduate and Detroit native truly lifted as he climbed. Terez was a part of KCABJ’s Urban Student Journalism Academy. He volunteered to help area youths get interested in getting into a business where only 7% of newsroom employees are Black.

   Outside of the KC community, he also mentored young journalists he met through NABJ. So many people have shared stories of how Terez used his platform and influence to help journalists get their foot in the door and stay in the building.

   I read that Terez was a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Selection Committee, a great achievement in itself. Terez went to bat for Terrell Owens to be inducted into the HOF. Terez had the courage and charisma to share his unique perspective in a room that lacked diversity.

   His passionate speech led to TO’s induction into the HOF after he had already been rejected in years past. On top of his advocacy and volunteer work, Terez was an outstanding, informed sports journalist. He had a unique voice and his humor paired with his knowledge were just a couple reasons why he was one of the most followed sports journalists in KC.

   Like the old saying goes, “you will know a man by his deeds,” and since Terez passed, countless journalists have shared stories about how he impacted their lives. Terez made his mark in this industry and paved the way for others to do the same. He represented what we should all be as Black journalists. KCABJ salutes Terez Paylor.

Respectfully,

Kaci Jones 

KCABJ President

KCABJ News

   The KCABJ Sports Webinar is to take place from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 22 with a strong focus on sports journalism and its importance in news industry’s community coverage. The title is “Real Sports Talk.”

   It will be moderated by KCABJ member and Grandview High School senior Hannah Harris. The speakers will be KCABJ Vice President/Broadcast Breland Moore, sports anchor/reporter with KCTV5; KCABJ Parliamentarian Harold Kuntz, sports anchor/reporter at WDAF-TV Fox4; KCABJ member Lynn Worthy, Royals beat writer for The Kansas City Star; and KCABJ member Damon Smith, sports talk radio host with Fox Sports KLKC/ESPN Kansas City.

   The audience will be high school and college students who have an interest in covering sports. The folks on the panel will share their experiences and provide advice and insight into sports journalism.

   A committee of KCABJ has been working tirelessly on putting the webinar together. It is an outgrowth of KCABJ’s annual Urban Student Journalism Academy preparing young people in high school and college for careers in journalism. KCABJ was founded in December 1981. The academy began in 1982 and has prepared hundreds of students for journalism careers.

   The cost of the webinar is $5, but it is just to ensure students’ attendance. Breland reported at the February KCABJ membership meeting that donations have come in to cover the cost for students who may be unable to afford the fee. Julee Jonez with KPRS-FM invited KCABJ webinar organizers onto the station at 11:55 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16 to talk about the program and what students might get from it.

   J.M. Banks, who was on the KCABJ membership Zoom call, also encouraged KCABJ webinar organizers to work with him to help boost attendance in the program. He added that he is on the board of Village KC and can get information to people in that organization. KCABJ member, former vice president/print and academy graduate, Ramanda Hicks, said she would help promote the sports webinar to interested students.

   KCABJ has reached out to the Journalism Education Association in Kansas City to try to get journalism instructors in this area to encourage their students to sign up for the webinar.

   KCABJ members were enthused when association President Kaci Jones mentioned that the organization would launch efforts to restart the KCABJ Urban Student Journalism Academy. That topic was raised in an earlier Zoom meeting Kaci and KCABJ Treasurer Lewis Diuguid had with Kansas City Star President Mike Fannin, newspaper Managing Editor Greg Farmer and Breaking News and Race and Equity Editor Trey Williams. Dorothy Tucker, president of the National Association of Black Journalists; NABJ Vice President/Print Kathy Chaney; and NABJ Region II Director Sia Nyorkor also attended the Zoom meeting. Fannin in December, at the urgings of senior Star reporter Mara’ Rose Williams, apologized for the deficient and defaming reporting and coverage of the Kansas City area Black community throughout the newspaper’s 140-year history. For the apology and the series, Williams and other Star reporters then wrote detailed stories explaining how the newspaper in many ways contributed to the institutional racism against African Americans. The meeting with NABJ and KCABJ was to follow up with The Star on what its next steps might be. They included working more closely with NABJ to recruit, hire, retain and promote talented Black journalists at the newspaper, better coverage of the African American community and other communities of color and working with KCABJ to restart the KCABJ Urban Student Journalism Academy.

   At the monthly KCABJ meeting, a significant amount of time was devoted to allowing the more than 20 persons in attendance to voice their concerns over the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., that then-President Donald Trump incited by urging thousands of his followers who gathered at a Trump rally to march to the Capitol to “fight” to stop the certification of the Electoral College vote naming Democrats Joe Biden and Kamela Harris the new president and vice president of the United States. Harris became the first woman and the first woman of color to hold that office. Five persons died in the riot, property was destroyed and lawmakers were forced to retreat for their safety. Trump was impeached for a second time, however, the U.S. Senate for a second time acquitted Trump of the charge on Feb. 13.

   In the Kansas City area, three persons were arrested for being involved in the siege on the Capitol. KCABJ members said they were disturbed, shocked and outraged that their TV stations quoted people, saying the perpetrators were good people. The characterization would have been different if the suspects were Black. Members at the February meeting also described choking on tear gas during last year’s Black Lives Matter protests, which overall were peaceful. A difference response came from the police vs. law enforcement’s reaction to the riot at the Capitol. KCABJ members also shared that the coronavirus pandemic had kept them from socializing with others. That isolation is troubling.

   In addition, KCABJ members said they were upset over the sudden death of 37-year-old Terez Paylor, a sportswriter for Yahoo Sports, who covered the Kansas City Chiefs. Paylor, a Howard University graduate, previously had covered the Chiefs for The Kansas City Star, and he was among the speakers for the KCABJ Urban Student Journalism Academy.

   KCABJ members said they appreciated the organization and the opportunity that it and NABJ created for Black journalists to have a safe place to discuss such troubling issues. Members also were happy to take away from the discussion the need to take “mental health days” from work and for self-care to enable them to continue to do the job and insist on accurate, fair, context-filled and better coverage of issues about people of color. Members were encouraged to continue to be spark plugs in their newsrooms igniting better coverage on issues that otherwise would never be inclusive of the full diversity that exists in the United States or Greater Kansas City.

   KCABJ Secretary Rae Daniels said being a journalist of color often is emotionally draining.

   Myron Fears and Julee offered to give KCABJ members a forum on KPRS-KPRT to discuss such concerns with the audience of the Black radio stations.

   Kaci urged members to join the KCABJ Media Monitoring Committee to keep a close eye on the area media’s coverage. She also suggested separate meetings so that members could discuss such concerns with others to develop new coping skills.

   Kaci told people at the monthly meeting that said she participated in a NABJ chapters meeting during which NABJ offered to provide chapters with a LGBTQIA sensitivity training video to give journalists resources to cover that community. She also told KCABJ members that NABJ is seeking proposals for its 2021 convention, which is being planned as a virtual event again because of the coronavirus pandemic. The deadline for submissions is Feb. 26. The NABJ convention will take place Aug. 18-21.

   Kaci encouraged members to also consider joining KCABJ standing committees, including media monitoring, branding and social media, membership, finance, and strategic planning.

   Kaci explained that KCABJ vice president for print position is open. Anyone who’s interested should get in touch with her. The next KCABJ Zoom membership meeting is at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 13.

NABJ News

   The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Board of Directors applauds CBS’s decision to place two senior executives, Peter Dunn and David Friend, on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation into racist, misogynist and homophobic comments, as detailed Jan. 24 in the Los Angeles Times. Dunn is president of CBS Stations and Friend is senior vice president of News for CBS Stations and VP of News at WCBS-TV in New York.

   NABJ also calls on Disney to appoint its first Black news executive over the ABC network. NABJ President Dorothy Tucker said in a news release: “In the 53 years since the Kerner Commission called on news media outlets to increase the hiring of Black anchors, reporters and editors, our industry has made a number of strides. African Americans have ascended to the top ranks of running publications like The New York Times, and (recently) the first Black head of a cable news network started at MSNBC. But never have we seen an African American run a broadcast news network. That needs to change in 2021.” The push follows James Goldston’s decision to step down after 17 years at ABC News.

   NABJ and the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, LLC (CZI) are launching a program to support Black-owned media companies’ coverage of COVID-19 and education. The initiative’s goal is to generate and/or aggregate local enterprise, investigative, and public affairs stories that are potentially life-saving for Black communities. NABJ and CZI are awarding grants to Black-owned media companies and freelance journalists to achieve that goal. For more information, go to NABJ-CZI Black Press Initiative: Contractor Opp (wufoo.com).

News You Can Use

   The Association for Women in Communications is accepting applications for its Clarion Awards. For more information, go to About the Clarion Awards – The Association for Women in Communications (womcom.org).

   KHQA with the Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. is looking for a Weekend Meteorologist/Reporter in the Ottumwa IA\Kirksville, MO area to present the weather forecast for the weekend news and report three days a week. The weekend Meteorologist/Reporter is responsible for the content of the weathercast on-air and on the digital platforms. For more information, go to https://edyy.fa.us2.oraclecloud.com/hcmUI/CandidateExperience/en/sites/CX_2002/job/2760.

   KCABJ member Crystal Lumpkins, PhD, said she knows of an opening for an experienced videographer. For more information, email Crystal at clumpkins@kumc.edu.

    Metcalf Institute has extended the deadline for its Annual Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists to March 1. For more information, go to Annual Workshop Application Information – Metcalf Institute.

KC People

   KCABJ’s membership increased with the additions of Cynthia Newsome, India Williams, Cortlynn Stark, Soul Revival, Eric Wesson, Toriano Porter and Crystal Lumpkins, PhD. Renewing members include Kaci Jones, Breland Moore and Glenn Rice.

   KCABJ members mourn the loss of Terez Paylor, who died in February unexpectedly at age 37. The cause is unknown. When the coronavirus pandemic lifts, KCABJ members will hold a memorial service for Terez, who covered the Kansas City Chiefs for Yahoo Sports and before that, for The Kansas City Star.