Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism, Uncategorized

Members Share Their #NABJ19 Experiences

I spend a lot of time encouraging NABJ members, especially our younger ones, to attend the association’s annual convention. I always want to hear back from them to see how their experience was. Some of our members were kind enough to share their experiences, below.

Elijah Baker

The 2019 National Association of Black Journalists in Miami was my best convention by far. I can’t explain it. I prayed that God would allow me to be intentional with my behavior and words. Leading to the conference, I did my best to prepare our students and younger journalists on expectations and budgeting via social media. They said, “Are you the guy who did that video on Twitter?” I said, “Yep!” I did it for us.
In return, the family looked after me. I’ve been struggling these past 20 months in my personal life, at church and at work. It got to the point where I felt like I was slipping away. I wasn’t taking care of myself. I felt paralyzed.
For the first time, I believe, NABJ had a managing your mental health while on the job. You have no idea how much I needed the support of my brothers and sisters in that workshop. I was able to release the pain I buried on the inside. Black men hugged me. Black women encouraged me. NABJ was the first time I asked for professional mental health advice.
I see clearly how NABJ changes lives. When we stop merely seeing our conventions as the come-up, we’ll start to see our gathering as a space to heal. We’re really good at hiding our pain until it overcomes us. I am refreshed now. New Orleans was my first NABJ experience. Detroit was my second. Miami was therapeutic.

Janay Reece

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This year, NABJ was different for me. It was my first convention as a working television
reporter/MMJ. I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to accomplish: Get a TON of feedback on my reel, meet new friends, and take the first steps toward becoming an investigative reporter. Little did I know, hardly any of that would happen.

Instead, I learned more about myself and connected with people in a different way. I went to a session about mental health and it made me realize that I need help. Our health as media professionals is beyond skin deep. Listening to the panelists made me realize the journey we take in the media industry can’t be done alone, and I was trying to do that. It was draining me and I didn’t even know.

Hearing my peers and other experienced journalists discuss what they have been through, made me see I am not alone and my support system is right in front of me. This year at NABJ —- yes —- I still got my reel critiques, gained new skills, and had a good time, but I saw the village of people here to support me. Before my first reporting job, I had no idea how draining things would get. Every single person I spoke to during the convention breathed life back into me and it was an experience I needed.

Nicholas Lawrence Vaughn

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Vaughn is a rising senior at Morehouse College and an intern at the Atlanta Voice.
My experience at my first NABJ convention was magical. It was great being around so many people who want to go into the same profession. It was similar to being at Morehouse, where the competition makes you work that much harder to get what you want — but increased by 100 percent, with so many people there from all over the country.
The convention was inspirational and motivating. I not only saw local reporters and writers, but also the ones I see on TV every day. They were all nice and willing to help the next of us because at the end of the day, everyone wanted to help each other make it to the top and be the best that they can be.
Note: While attending the convention, Vaughn learned he had been selected as one of five Online News Association HBCU Digital Fellows. He will attend the ONA conference in New Orleans next month, where he will write for the Student Newsroom and receive digital skills training.

Royal Thomas II

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This year’s NABJ conference in Miami was honestly an eye-opener for me.  On several different fronts, I learned so much about the field and its inner workings. The most obvious takeaway is networking; meeting so many fresh, successful, BLACK faces is an experience unparalleled to anything I have come across. I also received great tips and guidance at the conference.  Seeing what others are working on and how they go about their craft was great food for thought. I have identified several areas to which I can make improvements in my own work.
I thank all the people who shared their NABJ Miami stories. It’s always good to have a reminder of the true power our organization has to change lives. Watch this space for tips to save money for Washington, D.C.!
Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism, Uncategorized

Aunt Benet’s Top 10 Student Etiquette Tips for #NABJ17

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As a certified (but young at heart) old fogey, I chat with my fellow fogeys (and some who are not quite fogeys) regularly about how the journalism industry has changed — for better or for worse.

But one thing that remains the same is the need for proper manners and etiquette when dealing with more experienced journalists, most of whom will be the people who will either hire you for your next job. And allow me to keep it real — some of you have major issues with interacting with people in real life because you spend too much time looking down and glued to your smartphone

So as the NABJ convention fast approaches next week, please indulge me and read my 10 tips — which I offer with love in my heart — on how to interact with your elders in New Orleans.

  1. Please address your elders properly. If you don’t personally know someone, it is not cool to informally email them or call them by their first name in person. Even at my advanced age, I do not refer to anyone I don’t know personally by their first name. Once they give permission, then have at it. Remember to start the email with hello or some other greeting and their name, and end it with regards/best/sincerely and your name. And you get bonus points if you have a signature line with all your contact information. Wise Stamp offers a free one here.
  2. Check out the NABJ exhibitors lists. Now is the time to download the convention’s Guidebook app, see who will be there and who’s on your must-see list. Once you’ve done that, start reaching out and asking – politely – for times to meet. And don’t rule out early breakfasts or late evening coffee or drinks (if you’re old enough).
  3. Ditch your friends.  You can see them anytime.  Did you spend all this money to get to New Orleans just to spend time with the same people you see every day? This is your golden opportunity to meet new people and build your networks, so take advantage of that and hang with your friends when you get home.
  4. Dress for the job you want. You will be attending a conference with nearly 3,000 professionals from across the country. Some may be dressed casually, but that does not apply to you. Think of this conference as one big job interview and networking opportunity, so dress accordingly. Skip the colored hair, concert/political t-shirts, ripped jeans, wrinkled clothes, those cool new kicks, crop tops and too-short skirts and shorts. Think tailored and professional, with stylish but appropriate suits and dresses and no tennis shoes or flip flops.
  5. Stop texting and start speaking to people, damn it! Conference attendees will be wearing name badges, so put down the smartphone and look up. You need to walk up to someone, introduce yourself and start a conversation. You never know where it might lead (click here to read where it led for Brionna Jimerson at #NABJ13).
  6. Make eye contact. While you’re doing the speaking thing, don’t be afraid to look people in the eye. It shows that you’re interested and engaged.
  7. Say thank you and offer a firm handshake after speaking with people. This is the best way to make that final good impression before you part ways with someone who could have a major effect on your career.
  8. Ask for a business card or contact information. It may be old-fashioned, but you are building your network. So you need to collect information from people who may be able to help you with things like scholarships, internships, references and even jobs. And have yours ready to hand over too.
  9. Write and snail mail a thank-you card to everyone you meet at #NABJ17. The art of writing is becoming a lost one. Stand out from the crowd by sending a handwritten thank-you card to people who made an impression. Trust me — this goes a long way. Bring pre-stamped cards and mail them on the day you leave New Orleans.
  10. Have fun — but not too much fun. There will be time built in for fun activities, but remember where you are. People will remember the one who got sloppy drunk in the hotel lobby bar. This is not the impression you want to leave in New Orleans.

The NABJ convention is a great opportunity to meet and interact with the people who will help you navigate your journalism/communications career. Come correct and take full advtange of it! Love, Aunt Benét

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, journalism

Good Eats In New Orleans: Clover Grill

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My mother’s family is from New Orleans and my grandmother’s family is from the Gulfport/Biloxi region, so I have a natural love for the food of my people.   And I’ve had the pleasure of spending many good times in the Crescent City, so I plan on passing along some of my favorite places to eat.

I discovered Clover Grill after a great night of partying in the French Quarter, back in my younger days.  When you’ve played that hard, you need good food to restore you, and Clover Grill fits the bill.  I had a delicious chicken-fried steak breakfast, but the star attraction is the hamburgers.  The hamburgers are cooked under a hubcap (yes, rims), and they are NOT to be missed.  And enjoy the “show” put on by the waitstaff.  Make this a late-night eating spot during the NABJ Annual Convention and Career Fair in the Big Easy! Preregistration ends on June 30, so register TODAY!!

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism

10 Things to Do NOW to Prepare for #NABJ17

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There’s only 63 more days until the NABJ Annual Convention and Career Fair in New Orleans. That seems like a long time, but it flies by quickly. You need to start working now to get yourself ready. Below are 10 ideas that will help.

10.  BUY your airline ticket. Fares are cheaper when you book at least 21 days in advance. After that, prices only get higher. And because New Orleans is a popular destination, fares will be higher, so use an app like Hopper to find out the best time to buy.

9. BOOK your hotel room. What are you waiting for? The room block is almost sold out, so you’ll either have to pay a higher price in the Hilton Riverside or pay more for nearby hotels.

8. CHECK your wardrobe. Now is the time to start mulling what you’ll wear. Look for rips, stains or alterations. Or start shopping for key pieces you may need. Also, do those shoe repairs you’ve been putting off.

7. LOOK at the exhibitor list. While you’re looking at that list, start making appointments with 3-4 companies you definitely want to see in New Orleans.

6.  Buy your ticket for the Sports Task Force JamThis is the not-to-be-missed event at every NABJ convention. This year’s party will be at the House of Blues. Early bird regular and VIP tickets are still available but tend to sell out. And the best part? The proceeds fund scholarships.

5. Check out the NOLA.com Dining Guide so you can scope out all the city’s great restaurants.

4. Order new business cards. Vistaprint has hundreds of designs or you can create your own. Click here for discount coupons. Or check out Moo cards, which uses based on your Facebook timeline.

3. Review and update your resume. Make sure you’ve updated all your jobs and skills. Keep a copy in the cloud and on a thumb drive so it’s easily accessible. And check out my DJTF webinar (registration is free) and my website on crafting a good one or if you need further help.

2. Create a portfolio website. You need to send potential employers to one place that shows to house your work and your resume. Don’t know how to get started? NABJ member Marissa Evans did a webinar on that!

1. Read VP-Broadcast Bob Butler’s “Tips for Young Journalists/Students at the NABJ Convention.” It targets the younger folks, but there are plenty of tips that apply to all of us.

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism, Uncategorized

3 DJTF Webinars To Prepare You For #NABJ17

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It’s amazing, but the 42nd Annual NABJ Convention and Career Fair in New Orleans is now only 65 days away!  So while the clock is ticking, NOW is the time to get ready for our convention.

You need to have a resume that’s on point, and you need to have an online portfolio to point potential employers to.  It also doesn’t hurt to start either working on or sharpening up your personal journalism brand.

Lucky for you, the Digital Journalism Task Force did three great hour-long webinars on these very topics.  So now is the time to review these webinars so that you’re ready to shine in New Orleans.

You need to submit an email address, but the webinars are free to view. Register for the convention here.  I hope they help, and I look forward to seeing you in New Orleans!

Posted in Conferences & Conventions, Education, journalism

Time Is Running Out for #NABJ17 Pre-Registration

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If you participated in or read the Storify of the NABJ Students’ recent TweetChat about preparing for the upcoming Annual Convention and Career Fair, you know you don’t want to miss it.

Time is running out for you to pre-register for our convention Aug. 8-13, 2017, in New Orleans. After June 30, rates jump from $380 to $550.  You know you want to be there. You know there’s a strong chance of having FOMO (fear of missing out). You also know you’ll be MAD if you wait and have to pay an extra $170 for registration, so what are you waiting for?

I know, I know – you think you still have plenty of time to register, book a flight and get that hotel reservation at the Hilton Riverside. But you really don’t have that much time.  The truth is, the convention will be before you know it!!  So run — do not walk — to the NABJ website and get yourself registered TODAY!!