National Association of Black Journalists

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The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is an organization of African-American journalists, students, and media professionals. Founded in 1975 in Washington, D.C., by 44 journalists, the NABJ's stated purpose is to provide quality programs and services to and advocate on behalf of black journalists.[1] Tghe organization has worked for diversity and to increase the number of minorities in newsrooms across the country.[2]

The association's national office is on the main campus of the University of Maryland, College Park. The current president is Gregory Lee, Jr., senior assistant sports editor of The Boston Globe, and the executive director is Maurice Foster. The NABJ states that it has a membership of 4,100 and is the largest organization of journalists of color in the United States.[1] The organization was one of the four minority journalist member associations in the UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc. until they seceded from the organization in the Spring of 2011.

The organization's annual Salute to Excellence Awards honors coverage of African-American people and subjects. Awards given include Journalist of the Year, Emerging Journalist and Lifetime Achievement; past honorees have included Ed Bradley, Carole Simpson, Byron Pitts, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Bernard Shaw, and Michele Norris. NABJ also maintains the NABJ Hall of Fame, which is designed to honor black journalists.

Annual Convention and Career Fair[edit]

NABJ annually holds the nation's largest journalism convention and career fair each summer with plenary sessions and workshops for career and professional development.

Recent speakers have included former U.S. President Bill Clinton, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Hillary Rodham Clinton then presidential candidate Barack Obama, and Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade. The convention features hundreds of recruiters and is among the best means of finding a journalism position in the industry.

The NABJ Career Fair encompasses the nations broadcast, print, and online media including recruiters from Gannett Corporation, NBC News, CNN, Bloomberg, Google, ESPN, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and Tribune Company.

NABJ held its first convention in October 1976 at Texas Southern University, which at the time had recently established the second school of communications at a historically black college or university in the nation (the first was the School of Communications at Howard University).

Future locations of the NABJ Convention and Career Fair include San Diego, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Minneapolis, Minnesota.

In October 2014, CNN withdrew its support for the 2015 Convention and Career Fair after the NABJ criticized the network for its lack of diversity on air and its treatment of black employees.[3][4][5][6]


During its Annual Convention and Career Fair, NABJ presents various awards at the annual Salute to Excellence Awards Gala.[7]

Journalist of the Year[edit]

Legacy Award[edit]

Journalism Educator of the Year[edit]


The organization also distributes more than $100,000 in scholarships to African-American college journalism students, places 14-16 students at paid internships and sponsors short courses for students at historically black colleges and universities.

Task Forces[edit]

  • Arts & Entertainment Task Forces - members who cover arts and entertainment
  • Associate Member's - part-time journalists, educators, marketing and public relations professionals
  • Copy Editors - copy desk managers, news editors, design editors
  • Digital Journalism - members on the cutting edge transforming the media landscape
  • NABJ Founders - NABJ Founders, past presidents, and former national board members
  • LGBT Taskforce - lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered members
  • Sports Task Force - sports reporters, correspondents and analysts
  • Visual Task Force - photojournalists, design/informational graphics
  • Young Journalists - journalists in their first few years
  • World Affairs - promotes world-wide coverage of African/African-Americans


On December 12, 1975, 44 men and women gathered at the Sheraton Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. (now the Marriott Wardman Park) to form the NABJ. The following are their names and where they worked at the time:[9]


Nineteen people have served as president of the National Association of Black Journalists:

  • Chuck Stone, 1975–77
  • Vernon Jarrett, 1977–79
  • Bob Reid, 1979–81
  • Les Payne, 1981–83
  • Merv Aubespin, 1983–85
  • Al Fitzpatrick, 1985–87
  • DeWayne Wickham, 1987–89
  • Thomas Morgan III, 1989–91
  • Sidmel Estes-Sumpter, 1991–93
  • Dorothy Butler Gilliam, 1993–95
  • Arthur Fennell, 1995–97
  • Vanessa Williams, 1997–99
  • William W. Sutton, Jr., 1999–2001
  • Condace Pressley, 2001–03
  • Herbert Lowe, 2003–05
  • Bryan Monroe, 2005–07
  • Barbara Ciara, 2007–09
  • Kathy Y. Times, 2009–11
  • Gregory Lee, Jr. 2011–present


  1. ^ a b NABJ History/Mission
  2. ^ Rose Creasman Welcome, "Minority Groups Praise BuzzFeed’s Diversity Pledge", American Journalism Review, October 2, 2014.
  3. ^ Eddie Scarry, "Black Journalists Group ‘Concerned’ About CNN", Mediaite, October 16, 2014.
  4. ^ Richard Prince, "CNN’s Restructuring Results in Several Layoffs for Journalists of Color", The Root, October 16, 2014.
  5. ^ Tony Lee, "CNN Pulls Support from Black Journalists' Career Fair After Criticism for Lack of Diversity", Breitbart, October 17, 2014.
  6. ^ Aprill Turner, "CNN Withdraws Support of the National Association of Black Journalists", NABJ News Release, October 17, 2014.
  7. ^ a b c Turner, Aprill (April 20, 2011). "NABJ Honors Pioneering Sports Journalist, ESPN’s Claire Smith with Annual Legacy Award". National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). Retrieved 2011-10-21. "[T]he association’s 36th Annual Convention and Career Fair in Philadelphia, PA, ... [was to be held on] Saturday, August 6, 2011." 
  8. ^ NABJ News.
  9. ^ NABJ Founders

External links[edit]