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HABJ Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary in 2011

HABJ 25th Anniversary Dinner

By Serbino Sandifer-Walker, DJTF V.P., Texas Southern University Journalism Professor

An award-winning ABC correspondent, maverick CEO, history making television general manager and millennial generation of aspiring journalists highlight the Houston Association of Black Journalists’ 25th Anniversary Awards Dinner scheduled for Friday, Feb. 11 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston.

Pierre Thomas, ABC News’ senior Justice Department correspondent, has covered many major news stories including the attacks of September 11, the Oklahoma City bombing and the Chandra Levy story.  He will receive HABJ’s Pinnacle Award.

Sonceria “Sonny” Messiah Jiles, CEO of the Defender Media Group, has blazed many trails in the Lone Star state. At 27-years-old, she purchased the Houston Defender, one of Texas’ iconic African-American publications, and made it a powerhouse conglomerate and beacon for the African-American community.  

D’Artagnan Bebel, KRIV-TV’s president and general manager, was the first African-American to head a major television network in Houston in 2001.  Bebel, who graduated from  Howard University with a B.A. degree  and Columbia University ‘s Graduate School of Business with an MBA, has turned the Fox network into one of Houston’s leading news stations and one of the nation’s most diverse television operations.        

KPRC-TV’s Charles Scott, a pioneering photographer, has broken ground in the Bayou City with poignant images of Houston’s most intriguing stories.

Deborah Duncan, host of KHOU-TV’s Great Day Houston, has single handedly made the local talk show a winning formula again.

Messiah Jiles, Bebel, Scott and Duncan will be honored for their courage, tenacity and commitment to excellence in journalism.

One of HABJ’s most important missions is to provide scholarships for deserving college students.  Area students will be honored at the event. Many of HABJ’s scholarship recipients are working journalists, including Nakia Cooper, who is an Emmy Award-winning web producer for Houston’s KHOU-TV.

The theme of the dinner is Lift Every Voice and organizers hope all who attend will walk away inspired and empowered.

For more information about the dinner, go to