Posted in Uncategorized

The ‘new guard’ in black media

Joy-Ann Reid, Managing Editor, theGriot

By Tracie Powell

The black press began in 1827 when John Russwurm and Samuel Cornish started Freedom’s Journal in New York. Black newspapers were most popular during the 1920’s and ’30s, when major papers virtually ignored black America (they wouldn’t even run African American obituaries). 

Black newspapers and magazines were once the dominant means of communication for African Americans, as depicted in the documentary “Soldiers Without Swords.” But with circulations in free fall, their continued relevance had been questioned in recent years.

Coverage of Trayvon Martin’s story is turning that idea on its head. READ MORE


Tracie Powell is a regular contributor to Poynter Online and Vice Chair of Education & Policy of the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force. 

Posted in journalism, multimedia journalist

Unemployed? In Between Jobs? Now Is The Time To Launch That Blog!

By Benét J. Wilson, DJTF chair & freelance aviation/travel journalist and blogger

When I do my free resume reviews for students and young journalists starting out, many times I either see gaps in employment or not enough internship experience or time on school media platforms.

When I discuss the findings of my reviews, I note the lack of experience or the gaps and ask what they are doing to continue to perfect their craft.  I get vague answers about how hard it is to find freelance work, and the conversation peters out.

The lack of freelance work is NOT an excuse.  With all the free and low-cost web-based platforms out there, there’s no reason why you can’t use them to showcase your work. Today, I found a great article forwarded to me by one of my Twitter followers from the International Journalist’s Network blog: “Six tips for journalists on launching a successful blog.”

I blog here. I also created back in November 2010, and I regularly guest post on journalism and aviation blogs.  My blog and others were godsends when I got laid off last October. Some gigs were paid and some were not, but all of them got me exposure and led to job leads.

But blogging is not the only thing you can do.  Create a talk show on BlogTalkRadio on the topics you hope to cover.  I met Hezzie McCaleb, one of the founders of Barbershop Sports, at the NABJ convention in San Diego. Check out their website and how they use BlogTalkRadio.

Other ideas to get your work out and practice your craft:

  • Create your own stories using tools like Ustream and post them on your own YouTube or Vimeo channel;
  • Start a Tumblr blog on a specific topic;
  • Offer to guest blog on blogs you admire and have some expertise in;
  • Create your own podcasts using tools such as SoundCloud, Cinch or AudioBoo;
  • Comment on blogs and websites you admire, using the URL for your blog so people can follow your work; and
  • Sign up for social media platforms to further promote your work.

I understand that we all have bills to pay, and sometimes we have to take that job outside journalism to make sure we have a roof over our head and food in the fridge.  But with all the tools out there, you have zero excuse not to keep up your journalism skills. Good luck!!

Posted in Uncategorized

How Pulitzer-winning writer moved Trayvon Martin story from margins to mainstream


By Tracie Powell

Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and NABJ member Trymaine Lee talks about moving the Trayvon Martin story from the margins to the mainstream and how his new job at digital leader HuffPost differs from his previous newspaper life.

“As a young black man this story can’t help but settle in a certain place inside of you.” — Trymaine Lee, HuffPost BlackVoices

Tracie Powell is a freelance writer and a Vice Chair of NABJ’s Digital Journalism Task Force. 

Posted in Education, journalism, multimedia journalist

NABJ Multimedia Short Course Celebrates 20 Years

By Georgia Dawkins, Producer, Waterman Broadcasting

There’s only one word to describe the 20th Annual NABJ Short Course, EPIC! Forty-two students traveled to Greensboro, North Carolina to step their careers up a notch. Nearly half a dozen veteran short course mentors met them at North Carolina A&T State University to help them on their journey.

“They come with a greater sense of what they want to do,” said program coordinator, Gail Wiggins.

These students are no doubt the crème de la crème, but the short course serves as a reality check for some. The short course day begins with breakfast, newspapers, tweets and morning newscast. Students can be found next to their orange juice, buried in a newspaper preparing for the current event quiz that’s waiting for them in the newsroom.

“The multimedia short course an exceptional experience for me because I was able to experience and thoroughly understand every facet of the television industry,” said Ameena Rasheed, who awarded top honors during the workshop. The 22-year-old Texas Southern University student  said her hard work paid off when she received the award for Outstanding Reporting and Outstanding Stand Up.

Veteran Instructor Damany Lewis of KCRA said, “I think the future is bright for young journalists!” Lewis not only journeys to NC A&T every year, he also gets over to his alma mater, Florida A&M University for their multimedia short course.

These NABJ babies are working with seasoned journalists who show up to give them some tough love. Even keynote speaker, Paula Madison sat down to offer a few one-on-one critiques. Madison was the 2011 NABJ Legacy Award recipient.  The CEO of Madison Media Management and former NBCUniversal Chief Diversity Officer joined the crew on Saturday for the award reception and poured on the wisdom.

“They too can get to where [Madison] is from where they are now,” Wiggins told NABJ Digital. “but don’t forget the hard work and dedication.”

Reflecting on the last two decades, Wiggins realized that time has flown by. “We do it every year. We don’t think any differently.” But the program has grown, whipping hundreds of aspiring journalists into shape over the years. Over the time the focus has expanded from just cracking the diversity ceiling to teaching how to be multimedia and multiplatform journalists. “They come with the essential skills,” said Wiggins. “We have to make sure the students are able to produce for these different platforms.”

If you missed out on this epic celebration, check out the links below for a quick recap.


Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism

Where Are The Journalists Of Color Covering The Business Beat?

By Christopher Nelson, freelance journalist and graduate student, Georgetown University Law Center

I recently had the privilege of attending the Society of American Business Editors and Writers conference in Indianapolis, Indiana as a Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism fellow. It was an enriching experience, a welcome opportunity to have an up close and personal introduction to the world of business and economics reporting.

Still, one thing struck me while there: the lack of people of color at the conference. Given the importance of reporting on the economy, including jobs numbers, the growth or lack thereof of national and international companies, consumer spending, tax policy, trade policy, and myriad other issues, it was quite startling. So I decided to explore the topic of diversity in business reporting.

As an African-American journalist, I decided to look at this in terms of the state of the black business journalist.  From personal experience, I know members of the National Association of Black Journalists who cover business news, including: Kortney Stringer, retail editor, the Associated Press; Michelle Singletary, Personal Finance Columnist, the Washington Post; Alfred Edmond Jr., Editor at Large, Black Enterprise magazine; Sharon Epperson, senior commodities correspondent and personal finance correspondent, CNBC; and Valerie Coleman Morris veteran business news anchor, just to name a few.

Yet, I wondered why there aren’t more faces that reflect America’s growing diversity?  “The thing about blacks and business journalism is we need to be there,” said Shartia Brantley, a segment producer for CNBC’s “Street Signs.”

Back in late 2008 media columnist Richard Prince used his column to explore whether the state of the economy would make business reporting more attractive for journalists of color.

Brantley who earned her master’s in journalism from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism also has her MBA from the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University.  Before becoming a journalist she was a marketing analyst and corporate consultant. For her, working for CNBC  has been a way to merge her multiple passions and a prime opportunity inform viewers about a subject in which she is well versed.

“With all that’s happened with the mortgage crisis, the credit crisis everyone is more engaged,” she added.

In order to fill the void she sees, she files weekly business briefs and other reports for, NBC News’ African-American oriented videocentric news site. Brantley’s cadre of stories ranging from the need for consumers to do more to protect their pockets, to the credit crunch’s impact on black churches shows there are stories waiting to be told.

A recent Nielsen report completed in conjunction with the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the consortium of African-American newspapers, notes that by 2015, “African-Americans are projected to spend $1.1 trillion annually.”

Economic empowerment of consumers is also a top priority for civil rights organizations like the National Urban League, and the NAACP.

Traditionally any effects of the economic crisis have hit the black community particularly hard, by some measures such as the jobless rate.  So who will ensure that communities of color aren’t overlooked, that business stories appeal to a wider cross-section of Americans? Will more journalists of color look to business and economics as a specialty?


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