Posted in journalism

NABJ VP-Broadcast Candidates Answer Your Question

The NABJ Elections Committee held a webinar on July 10 for the board candidates for VP-Broadcast and Student Representative. You can listen to the recording here. The hour went quickly, but there were still questions being asked.  The candidates — Region III Director Gayle Hurd and incumbent VP-Broadcast Dorothy Tucker — took time to answer them, below.

ghurd_86x95pxGAYLE HURD

QUESTION: diversity seems to be falling by the wayside in broadcast newsrooms. What can you do to keep it on the front burner?

It seems Diversity isn’t the buzzword it once was, which is unfortunate because the need for it remains. In order to keep the conversation and the actions associated with bringing about diversity in the newsroom or any room, going, we have to increase our advocacy with news directors and managers. Something that has not been a priority recently.  We must Inform those who are in hiring positions that NABJ has a wealth of candidates for these jobs and how making these hires will benefit their company.  More importantly we need to secure ways to bring more journalists of color into positions of power – management, news directors, editors, owners  – so that the playing field will be made more even.  And by the same token, we must motivate and encourage our members to seek out management positions. NABJ can do that by continuing to prepare our members for roles beyond their current jobs and continuing to provide professional development and information on job openings.  And on that note, The NABJ Jobline could stand some improvements to make it more user-friendly, We need to increase the number of jobs by including in the convention sponsor package an opportunity for our corporate partners list their jobs on the Jobline on a regular basis, not just during convention time.  Knowing where we stand is part of the solution.  Perhaps another media diversity census is due.

And last, but not least, our talent as journalists should be used in telling the story of the lack of diversity in newsrooms and boardrooms, every chance we get.

QUESTION: We see veteran broadcast journalists being laid off or asked to take big pay cuts. How will you work to help these people who may not have the same options as younger broadcasters?
This is one of the issues I have made a priority, since we have a wealth of mid-level career journalists, and job opportunities that are shrinking and changing, or being given to younger colleagues who can work for lower salaries.  NABJ needs to provide training and help identify opportunities for these seasoned journalists who want to stay in their chosen career field but may need help navigating the digital landscape.  I propose a Mid-Career Mentoring Initiative where journalists who are thriving in their careers help train and mentor those who are struggling or facing changes brought on by increasing technology and changing newsroom procedures. This could even be a partnership with the Digital Taskforce and other organizations such as IRE, with which I have a close partnership. They have provided their Watchdog Workshop for Region III’s conferences for a few years for free and have pledged to return in 2018.
QUESTION: NABJ released its strategic plan this spring. What do you think are the most important recommendations that are most relevant to broadcast journalists?
I am proud to have served on the Taskforce that created this important document. I feel the entire plan is relevant, and The guiding portions the Vision and Mission which I worked on set the tone for our movement as an organization going forward. All of the recommendations are necessary.  Having said that the ones that stand out at this time for NABJ have to include Financial sustainability for the organization, which also needs to be maintained; providing jobs and opportunities for our members; and Advocacy within the media that helps create more diversity and re-establishes NABJ as the voice of  Black Journalists.
QUESTION: As members lose jobs, more and more are going onto the entrepreneurial track. What will you do at VP-Broadcast to help these members who want to produce news but not in a traditional newsroom?
I have a number of colleagues who have taken the entrepreneurial road after leaving the newsroom. Many are photographers and producers. I would first communicate with these entrepreneurs and ascertain what areas they need assistance.  Finding contracts, funding for business needs, marketing, networking, etc.  Then propose NABJ create an initiative that would bring these journalists together to help them with professional development, and serve as a clearing house for finding contracts.  One of the sponsors I partnered with in Region III, FedEx is very committed to entrepreneurship and would make an excellent sponsor for this project.
QUESTION: If you lose this election, how will you still help NABJ?
Of course!  I love NABJ and I have a heart to serve, so I will continue to work on the committees and task forces I am a member of on a local, regional and national level.  I am on the Strategic Planning Taskforce, the Founder’s Taskforce and the Arts and Entertainment Taskforce. I’m head the Region III Conference Committee but will continue to serve on it when I step down as Regional Director. And I chair the Media Access Workshop for my local chapter, the Triangle ABJ.   I have a number of ideas for NABJ.  I think one of the most important things we need to do is change the perception that NABJ is not inclusive.  I will work to engage new members in or out of office as I have done in my present capacity.   And for a long time, I have thought NABJ needs to be more creative in our fundraising efforts and not rely on the convention alone as our big funder.  I have had great success in this area in my region and have a few ideas for NABJ. 
QUESTION: Do you support Los Angeles for a convention in 2019?
I would love to see a convention in Los Angeles. It’s an exciting city which would allow NABJ access to some amazing venues, speakers and activities for your members.  I have talked with some chapter leaders from LA in the past about the possibility of holding a convention in LA because they were very interested in bringing NABJ to their city.
The issue for this city is the cost of living. It’s an expensive town to live in and visit.  If we can get a hotel rate comparable to those we have had in other convention cities, secure strong sponsors and partners and have the support of the members then we can make it happen in Hollywood!

Dorothy_Tucker_115x150DOROTHY TUCKER

QUESTION: diversity seems to be falling by the wayside in broadcast newsrooms. What can you do to keep it on the front burner?
Diversity in our newsrooms is critical. Along with our diversity committee, I have already met with representatives from NBC, CBS, CNN, NBC Boston, Tribune Media and a number of other local stations.  When we meet with executives and newsroom managers our discussions center on hiring, promotion, retention and diversity initiatives like our producer database.   We are not just thinking about what needs to be done. We are already doing it and will continue to advocate on behalf of our members.
QUESTION: We see veteran broadcast journalists being laid off or asked to take big pay cuts. How will you work to help these people who may not have the same options as younger broadcasters? 
This is a great opportunity for us to utilize our conventions, regional and media institutes to create programming that help our veterans acquire the technical skills to compliment their exceptional journalistic skills. Veterans armed with social media skills, photography and editing skills will help level the playing field for employers looking for candidates with those critical skills.
QUESTION: NABJ released its strategic plan this spring. What do you think are the most important recommendations that are most relevant to broadcast journalists? 
Many of recommendations in the strategic plan focus on increasing job opportunities. The NABJ Producer Database I created will help. It’s a directory where producers working at broadcast, print or digital companies can upload their reels and resumes and be connected to news managers looking to fill positions.  As the plan recommends, we must also continue to stabilize our finances. A strong NABJ allows us to fund programming to help our broadcasts journalists acquire and sharpen their skills and puts us in a better position to advocate for our members.
QUESTION: As members lose jobs, more and more are going onto the entrepreneurial track. What will you do at VP-Broadcast to help these members who want to produce news but not in a traditional newsroom? 
You will notice that we are doing more programming around entrepreneurship. Our journalists have lots of untapped skills and current workshops focus on how to start, grow, fund and market your business. It is important we continue to develop programming that encourages, educates and supports our budding broadcast entrepreneurs.
QUESTION: If you lose this election, how will you still help NABJ?
I’ve devoted nearly 40 years to this organization and win or lose I won’t stop.
The NABJ Producer Database is just my latest project. It will not only provide jobs for members but it has the potential to provide revenue for our organization. My goal is to make it one of the most sought-after directories in the country.  In addition to the database, I will continue mentoring young journalists, remain active in my local Chicago chapter, help raise money and produce programming for our next regional conference and host more webinars that focus on jobs and training for our members.
QUESTION: Do you support Los Angeles for a convention in 2019?
I believe LA is a viable option. To be fair, all competing chapters must meet the criteria that will produce a successful convention. However, I think that because of all that LA has to offer culturally and professionally it will be a strong contender. And I know the local support and enthusiasm is strong, which is a huge factor in the competitive process.
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Home of the National Association of Black Journalists's (NABJ's) Digital Journalism Task Force

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