Archive for March, 2021

KCABJ Newsletter for March 2021
March 16, 2021

President’s Column

One year ago the pandemic rocked the world. COVID-19 has changed everything particularly the way we do our jobs.

   While everyone else was instructed to stay home, we were out on the streets telling the stories of the pandemic. We told stories of sadness and strength as well as trials and triumphs.

   The public relied on us as essential workers. We put our health on the line to deliver the information our audience needed and wanted to hear.

   In the last year, more than half-a-million people have died nationwide from COVID-19. New studies show one-in-five people in the United States have lost a loved one to coronavirus.

   Not only have many of us been working through grief, but there have also been some of us who caught the virus ourselves. Nonetheless, you recovered and continued to tell the stories that mattered.

   There have been stories of inequity and innovation. Coronavirus exposed inequities in health care, education, infrastructure, neighborhoods, policies and more as the virus and shutdowns disproportionately affected Black communities.

   These stories could go untold if we fail to shine a light on them. At the same time, we continue to deal with another pandemic that has been raging for more than 400 years with no end in sight…. Racism.

   As the protests have died down, companies have casually forgotten their diversity commitments, black squares are no longer on our social media feeds, but racial injustice continues to plague the globe. Using our platform, we must continue to hold our leaders accountable to the communities they serve.

   It is up to us to keep the conversation going. While fighting the good fight, journalists must continue to practice self-care.

   KCABJ will begin quarterly mental health check-ins starting in May. We will provide a mental health professional to offer advice on how to best manage the stress of the business that has been exacerbated by the pandemic and race-related issues.

   Our goal is to help you best care for yourself while caring for others. Brighter days are ahead, and I’m looking forward to celebrating with you all.

Kind Regards,

KCABJ President

Kaci Jones

KCABJ Members

   KCABJ Vice President-Broadcast Breland Moore shared with the membership at the March meeting that the KCABJ Sports Webinar was a great success attended by 15 persons.

   “It went really well,” Breland said. It was the first time KCABJ has had a webinar. Breland said that the interest caused the program to run over the allotted time.

   Much like the KCABJ Urban Student Journalism Academy, the Feb. 22 webinar was designed for high school and college students who are interested in journalism careers. It was moderated by KCABJ member and Grandview High School senior Hannah Harris.

   The speakers were Breland, sports anchor/reporter with KCTV5; KCABJ Parliamentarian Harold Kuntz, sports anchor/reporter at WDAF-TV Fox4; KCABJ member Lynn Worthy, Kansas City Royals baseball beat writer for The Kansas City Star; and KCABJ member Damon Smith, sports talk radio host with Fox Sports KLKC/ESPN Kansas City. The program capitalized on KCABJ having a great wealth of sports journalists. Breland said the success certainly means the organization should do more webinars.

   KCABJ President Kaci Jones shared with the membership that KCABJ member Kevin Holmes will soon release a 13 to 14-question survey for Black journalists to gauge KCABJ’s strengths and where it can better serve members.

   Kevin, a news anchor with KSHB-NBCTV, Channel 41 said the survey would enable the organization to be “bigger, bolder, greater.”

   Kaci also told the membership that she hopes to have quarterly mental health “check-ins” for the organization so that members at those meetings can talk about issues of concern to them in their newsrooms or elsewhere. Kaci opened up the February meeting to discussions about local news coverage of the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol in Washington, D.C., and the untimely death of Kansas City area sports reporter Terez Paylor, who covered the Kansas City Chiefs. Kaci said at the March membership meeting that the organization would work to have a local Black mental health professional lead the discussions. Black journalists’ struggles, Kaci said, are exacerbated by race-related issues.

   The membership was enthused over a re-start of the KCABJ Urban Student Journalism Academy. The annual program started in 1982 a year after KCABJ was founded, to help prepare more Black high school and college students for careers in journalism. The last class was in 2015. The organization has had difficulty since then getting enough students for the two-week summer course. New KCABJ members offered ideas on how to drum up more young people who have an interest in careers in journalism. Working with media professionals, students have produced their own newspaper, radio broadcast and TV newscast in the program. A reboot of the academy would include social media.

   During the membership meeting, members expressed a need to reach out to journalism and communications colleges in Kansas and Missouri. Kaci also shared that managers at local TV and radio stations also need to become aware of KCABJ and what it offers.

   Kaci shared that the National Association of Black Journalists is providing a reporting system for diversity, equity and inclusion so that people can report unwanted incidents that occur in newsrooms. For more information go to


   The National Association of Black Journalists plans to continue to work with the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to get more Black journalists included in the HFPA. During the Golden Globes Awards, the HFPA announced that it will rectify the lack of Black journalists among their ranks.

   “Black journalists matter, whether in the United States or around the world,” said NABJ President Dorothy Tucker. “Now that the HFPA has been rightfully called out for this shameful fact, NABJ stands ready to engage with the HFPA to address these issues immediately.”

   The 78th annual Golden Globe Awards program was broadcast live on NBC on Feb. 28.

News You Can Use

   The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is seeking a communications specialist in its Public Affairs Department. For more information, contact Andre Brooks at

   The Kansas City Star is seeking applications for a reporter. For more information go to

   The National Society of Newspaper Columnists is seeking entries for its Annual Column Contest of 2021. The deadline is March 15. For more information go to

   The Kansas News Service is seeking a social service reporter. For more information, go to

   The Association for Women in Communications is holding its 49th annual Clarion Awards competition. For more information, go to

   The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the University of Missouri on March 23 is sponsoring a discussion on how newsrooms can work to become anti-racist starting with their social media policies and how to enforce them. For more information, go to

   The Beacon has openings for an executive editor. For more information, go to

   Other job openings are as follows:

Lifestyle Show Executive Producer

Lifestyle Show Associate Producer/Co-Host

Lifestyle Show Host/Producer

Digital Investigative Data Producer—Data-Producer_REQ-8282

Digital Producer

KC People

   KCABJ increased its membership rolls with the additions of Jessica Eley, Jasmine Jones, Chris Powell and Samuel Mellinger.

   KCABJ President Kaci Jones shared with members at the March meeting that KCABJ member Cynthia Newsome with KSHB-NBCTV, Channel 41 celebrated 41 years in journalism this year, and Julee Jonez with KPRS-FM celebrated 25 years in the business. KCABJ member Bette Tate-Beaver added that Cynthia has been through an ongoing battle with cancer and has been brave enough to take her TV audience at her station with her throughout the process, which encourages other women to get tested for early detection.

   Kaci encouraged members who pay their dues through PayPal or CashApp to also send an email to with their name, address, phone number and email address so they will be included in all membership notifications. She encouraged members to join different committees, which include Media Monitoring, Print Advocacy, Finance, Special Events & Awards, Membership, Social Media & Branding, and Strategic Planning.

   Congratulations to Mara’ Rose Williams, a senior reporter with The Kansas City Star. She was promoted this month to the Editorial Board of the newspaper. Mara’ was responsible for The Star’s apology and series chronicling the newspaper’s 140-year history of racist coverage and non-coverage of the Black community, which won the newspaper national acclaim.

   KCABJ member Cortlynn Stark shared with the membership that The Kansas City Star is exploring a story on the state of Black journalists in Kansas City. People who are interested in sharing their stories should get in touch with Cortlynn at