Thank you members of the NABJ Constitutional Committee for your hard work on our governance model and structure.
The amendment to change the way NABJ is governed has brought some serious debate over how our nonprofit organization should operate in a changing digital media landscape. I voted NO to amend the NABJ Constitution. Membership categories should not be expanded as outlined in the amendment.
For example, the emerging journalist category disenfranchises working journalists with less than five years experience. I joined NABJ as a student member in 1977, two years after the organization started. Like so many other young people during the first five years of our careers, we paid our dues, found our way to regional meetings, and if we were lucky, the national convention. By any means necessary.
As young leaders, we sought out leadership. We served in NABJ local chapters. We positioned ourselves to run for a seat on the national board. Our next generation of journalists should experience the extraordinary times that we did. And more.
We should not create an emerging journalist membership category that excludes members from serving on the national board during the first five years of their careers.
Sheila Brooks is a former NABJ Secretary (1986-91), a three-term national board member, founder of NABJ-TV and the NABJ Monitor, and NABJ member since 1977