Posted in Conferences & Conventions, journalism, Uncategorized

Why Conferences Like NABJ Are Vital to Media Diversity

Guest Post by Polly Irungu

My first National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) conference was three years ago, at the 38th annual convention in Orlando. NABJ is a four-day conference and career fair attended by thousands of journalists, media professionals, executives and recruiters. Being surrounded by thousands of people who look like me — and who aspire to learn more about their craft and are actively pursuing their dreams, as I am — is a surreal feeling. NABJ is a life-changing event for many, many students and professionals. I know I wouldn’t be nearly as confident in my abilities if it were for not the support system and network that NABJ has given me. It is hard to sum up the impact and experience NABJ gives to thousands each year, but I will do my best to break it down.

Why do I keep going back?

As an African woman in America — especially one who lives in Oregon, where the black population is less than 5 percent — I have often been disappointed with the way the media portrays people of color. Not only do we not see enough diversity in media, but when we do, the media portrays only one story, one experience that it suggests is shared by all.

Part of the reason I keep going back to NABJ is my desire to change that narrative. NABJ uses its platform to inspire others to take real action to address the lack of diversity in media. People who care about media diversity go to the conference each year actively seeking new ways to tell those underrepresented stories and tips to bring back to their newsrooms. They are often also there to recruit talented, qualified people of color.

photo

Being a part of the student newsroom

You always grow more when you are a producer instead of a consumer. It’s one thing to attend a conference, but it’s quite another to help create. For me, being a part of the student newsroom was an opportunity to be more than a participant. When you are in the fold and a part of making something happen, you learn and grow more. Being there alone is great, but it has been more fulfilling to be a part of the team of diverse talent.

I’ve applied the skills that I’ve learned inside and outside the SOJC’s classrooms when I worked in the NABJ student newsroom, in both 2015 and 2016. In 2015, I was selected to be a part of the photo team. We were the fantastic four, responsible for providing photo coverage of the 40th annual convention for the NABJ Monitor. Leading up to the conference, students are paired with a mentor to help them bring the stories they have pitched to life. The mentors pushed us to step out of our comfort zone and take our photo skills to new heights. My responsibilities included pitching stories to cover in Minneapolis (where the conference was held), photographing daily assignments, providing captions for all images captured and taking headshots of each student in the newsroom as well as candidates for the 2016 NABJ elections. In a one-week span, I learned how to use tools like Photoshop and Photo Mechanic in my sleep. Everything I thought I knew about taking pictures was challenged.

My favorite story that I produced was about the rising Somali community in Minnesota. I was able to overcome cultural and language barriers to take intimate photos of residents in the community. This is the moment that I truly felt like a multimedia journalist.

The 2016 student newsroom was a little bit different. This year, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists(NAHJ) joined forces with NABJ to host the largest minority journalism convention (NABJNAHJ16) ever. The newsroom was a collaborative environment where peers and mentors worked together to provide some of the best coverage at the historic conference.

I wrote articles for the website, including “The Ferguson Effect: Social media and its impact from Ferguson to now.” But one of the things that I am most proud of is co-producing a podcast, Reportedly Black, with two other students in the newsroom. Leading up to NABJNAHJ16, we tirelessly worked on scheduling interviews, script writing and editing. In the first episode of Reportedly Black, we asked numerous journalists from across the country: “How do you separate your race from being a journalist?” In our second episode, we had journalists weigh in about the importance of media diversity and the media’s coverage of the 2016 presidential elections. Our podcast featured some prominent names in the industry, such as Wesley Lowery, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Tanzina Vega, Victoria Massie, Gustavo Arellano, Stephen A. Nuño and more.

NABJ and NAHJ gave us a platform to discuss real issues with journalists who are leaders in their respective fields. In the midst of the Democratic and Republican national conventions, these journalists took time out of their hectic schedules to speak with us. Some of these journalists got their start through NABJ and NAHJ, which shows you the influence and impact these organizations can have.

The importance of attending conferences 

One of the best things you can do for personal and career development is attend a conference. These organizations want you to succeed and will give you the tools to do so — all you have to do is get there. It is a chance to pick your favorite person’s brain, network with people who share common interests, gain a mentor and meet future employers. The free swag doesn’t hurt either. I know that each year I will leave with renewed inspiration, priceless mentorship and insight that I can take back and share with others. I am already counting down the days until the 2017 NABJ convention in New Orleans!

 

Polly Irungu is a multimedia journalist and social media strategist who plans to graduate from the SOJC with a degree in journalism this fall. She is currently working as a digital content creator for the SOJC’s Communications team, a campus editor-at-large at The Huffington Post and a freelance production assistant for the PAC-12 Networks, and she’s also been published on CNNKVAL and YesJulz. A National Association of Black Journalists fellow in 2015 and 2016, she participated in the NABJ and National Association of Hispanic Journalists student newsroom to provide coverage of their historic joint convention for NABJ Monitor and Latino Reporter. She also worked in the Online News Association’s student newsroom Sept. 15-17, 2016. Previously, she has worked for TrackTown USA, Def Jam Records, Dell and Adobe. She made the 2013 and 2014 Daily Emerald Ducks Who Will Change the World list, and in May 2015, she was named the Women4Africa International Young Achiever of the Year. You can view her work at www.pollyirungu.com and follow her on TwitterInstagram and Snapchat @pollyirungu.

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Posted in Awards, Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism, multimedia journalist, Technology

Calendar of Multimedia Training and Events

APRIL

  • Sageworks Institute hosts a cocktail reception and discussion on the future of business journalism with special guest speaker Tyler Mathisen on April 3, 2014. The event will take place at The Cornell Club of New York City.
  • The Society for Environmental Journalists is calling for award entries. SEJ’s awards honor the best environmental journalism in seven categories, bringing recognition to the most important stories on the planet. Journalism broadcast or published in print or online is eligible. The deadline to apply is April 1, 2014.  SEJ’s 2014 Awards will be presented on Sept. 3, 2014, at SEJ’s 24th Annual Conference in New Orleans, Louisiana. $500 will be offered for first-place winners in seven categories. Enter environmental stories produced between March 1, 2013 and Feb. 28, 2014. Click here to see past winners and learn how to apply.
  • The post-graduate, multimedia fellow manages and maintains the Scripps Howard Foundation Wire’s website. He or she creates multimedia projects for our website, works with undergraduate interns to develop multimedia projects and provides leadership to a team that produces news stories and projects. Qualified applicants must have professional-level expertise in HTML, content management systems and CSS. Applicants must also have high-level skills in reporting and writing, shooting photos and video using a DSLR camera and editing video. This one-year, post-graduate, multimedia fellowship will begin in late summer 2014 and run through mid-August 2015. The fellowship includes a $22,155 stipend, plus free housing in a furnished apartment shared with the program’s undergraduate interns.  The deadline to apply is April 1.

  • The National Association of Black Journalists will hold its 6th Annual Media Institute on Health: Health Policy and Health Inequities in Washington, D.C., at the Barbara Jordan Conference Center at The Kaiser Family Foundation April 10-12.  It is the only conference of its kind to focus exclusively on health disparities in communities of color and provide print, broadcast and digital journalists with tools to effectively report on the rollout of the Affordable Care Act of health care reform and health policy on underserved communities. Journalists and media professionals will leave with resources to inform and empower readers and viewers to action.  Registration is $79 for members and $129 for nonmembers.       

MAY

  • A new initiative established at CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism will offer fellowships of up to $15,000 to experienced business journalists starting this spring. Applications will be accepted periodically through 2014. The upcoming deadline for applications is May 15, 2014. The fellowship is open to those with at least five years professional experience in journalism, including freelance journalists, as well as reporters and editors currently working at a news organization. Fellowship applicants should submit a focused story proposal of no more than three pages through the accompanying online form.

JUNE

  • The Global Editors Network  hosts the GEN Summit June 11 – 13 in Barcelona. Discover ‘robot journalism’, and be updated about drone journalism and data journalism. This is the event to meet with the media industry influentials and drive business.
  • The best in the business will gather for more than 100 panels, hands-on classes and special presentations about covering business, public safety, government, health care, education, the military, the environment and other key beats at the 2014 IRE conference June 26-29, 2014 in San Francisco. Speakers will share strategies for locating documents and gaining access to public records, finding the best stories and managing investigations. Join the discussion about how to practice investigative journalism in print, broadcast, Web and alternative newsroom models.

JULY

  • The National Association of Black Journalists will hold its 39th Annual Convention and Career Fair in Boston July 30-Aug. 3, 2014. Thousands of journalists, media executives, public relations professionals, and students are expected to attend to network, participate in professional development sessions and celebrate excellence in journalism.

SEPTEMBER

  • The Online News Association 2014 Conference & Awards Banquet is the premier gathering of highly engaged digital journalists shaping media now. Learn about new tools and technologies, network with peers from around the world and celebrate excellence at the Online Journalism Awards. ONA  is looking for your input on sessions for ONA14, Sept. 25-27, in Chicago. Submit your session proposals  from March 20 to April 18. Submit one here

If you have items you wish to include, please email them to me at benet AT aviationqueen DOT COM. Thanks!!

Posted in Awards, Education, Entrepreneur, journalism

Update On New U Voting

By Doug Mitchell, Co-Project Director, “The New U: News Entrepreneurs Working Through UNITY.”

Voting for the UNITY/Ford Foundation entrepreneurship program for minority journalists has entered its second week.   Voting closes at midnight Sunday, Oct 17th.  There will be one winner per group and each winner will get a start-up grant of $5,000.  So here’s the tally as of Oct. 10:

AAJA
Toan – 37.0 %
Anny – 33.0%
Mariel – 20.6%
Raghu – 8.8%


NABJ
Ciara – 37.5%
Juontel – 24.2%
Yanick – 23.3%
Cassie – 15.0%

NAJA
Rose – 51.5%
Priscilla – 19.9%
John – 16.4%
Debra – 12.2%

NAHJ
Raymond – 48.0%
Elizabeth – 32.2%
Claudia – 15.2%
Marimer – 4.5%

So far, nearly 2,500 people have cast votes.  And there’s a high number of people who are only voting for one group.  Still, vote totals per group are relatively close.  This is a wide open vote; you do NOT have to be a person of color or a member of one of the associations to vote.  So please help these people achieve their entrepreneurial dreams by clicking here to vote.
Thanks for your participation!