NABJ Announces 2014 Journalist Of The Year

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) announced today that Stephen Henderson, editorial page editor at the Detroit Free Press has been selected as the association’s 2014 Journalist of the Year.

Henderson, a veteran print journalist, was recently honored with the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. His award citation noted that Henderson had earned the award “for his columns on the financial crisis facing his hometown, written with passion and a stirring sense of place, sparing no one in their critique.”

In addition to writing about the city of Detroit, he also penned columns about Michigan state politics, national politics and other domestic policy matters. In 2013, Henderson focused at length on Detroit’s efforts to overcome financial turmoil and to rebuild itself as one of America’s greatest cities. Henderson, however, did not solely focus his writing on local issues but he also took up writing about issues with national implications such as health care, the government shutdown and educational inequality.

“Stephen Henderson’s career has been one marked by incisive, detailed reporting about politics, policy and urban affairs,” NABJ President Bob Butler said. “As an editorial writer and columnist, Stephen has a unique voice which helps punctuate his arguments and compels readers to seriously reflect on the issues facing them locally, nationally and globally, often motivating them to seek solutions to the problems discussed.”

Henderson will be honored with others at the association’s Salute to Excellence Gala on August 2, 2014, during NABJ’s 39th Annual Convention and Career Fair in Boston. The gala recognizes journalism that best covered the black experience or addressed issues affecting the global black community during 2013.

“As Editorial Page Editor of the Detroit Free Press, Henderson has become Detroit’s voice. He has been both a voice of reason and a champion for residents who, through no fault of their own, have been saddled with unacceptable services, corrupt leadership and, now, the city’s historic bankruptcy – the largest municipal bankruptcy ever,” said Paul Anger, the Free Press’ editor and publisher. “Through a year of massive change for the city, Henderson has been a leader in pushing for the most important result of this bankruptcy – improving the lives of Detroiters.”

Henderson rejoined the Free Press in 2007 after having earlier worked at the paper in the 1990s. His other assignments include time spent as the Supreme Court reporter for Knight-Ridder’s Washington bureau from 2003-2007. Earlier, he was a reporter, editorial writer, and editor at the Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune and the Lexington Herald-Leader.

Henderson, a University of Detroit Jesuit High School and University of Michigan alum, lives in the city of Detroit with his wife and their two children.

NABJ congratulates Henderson on this most well-deserved honor.

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Celebrate 40 Years Of NABJ

The National Association of Black Journalists welcomes you to join us from August 5-9, 2015 as we gather in Minneapolis for the 40th Annual Convention and Career Fair!

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.


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NABJ Issues Thumbs Down Award To National Public Radio

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) today issued its 2014 Thumbs Down Award to National Public Radio (NPR). The Thumbs Down Award is given annually for reporting, commentary or other content found to be racially insensitive, or for practices at odds with the mission of the National Association of Black Journalists.

The 2014 Thumbs Down Award was given to National Public Radio following the decision to cancel the program Tell Me More and to eliminate 28 positions across the NPR newsroom in an effort to cut costs.

Tell Me More was started in 2007 with host Michel Martin and was designed to attract new audiences to public radio, to use new and innovative storytelling methods, and to discuss issues  of particular importance to people of color. The shows creation followed the loss of Tavis Smiley’s radio show to Public Radio International and then the cancellation of the program, which succeeded Smiley’s News and Notes.

“The importance of public media to make a concerted effort to be distinctive in its storytelling methods, to offer its audiences depth by featuring untold stories, and to as an end result diversify and expand audiences was best exemplified by a show like Tell Me More and how the program sought to operate,” said NABJ President Bob Butler. “NPR’s has as two of it’s stated goals in its strategic to ‘expand, diversify and engage our audiences’ and ‘grow net revenues.’ One however cannot supercede the other and greater care should have been taken to preserve Tell Me More as an example of what NPR’s new core should be and as as a representation of a truly superb way in which public media can embrace diversity.”

NABJ is mindful of NPR’s other initiative such as the Peabody award-winning “Race Card Project” and “CodeSwitch.” These programs are worthy of praise and should be supported. Still the opportunity cannot be loss to encourage National Public Radio to live up to the companies full potential and be standard bearers and to be the company which in everything it does show others in public media and media at large how to make sure journalism and media are inclusive and really do provide a service to the public.

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NABJ Announces 2014 Best Practices Award

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) has selected Al Jazeera Media Network for the 2014 Best Practices Award. The honor was announced at the association’s 39th Annual Convention and Career Fair in Boston, MA, the nation’s largest annual gathering of minority journalists.

The award is presented to a news organization for exemplary work in covering issues of great significance to the black community or the African Diaspora and/or for its efforts in increasing diversity among its newsroom staff and management.

The NABJ board of directors took particular note of the network’s launch of its Al Jazeera America channel last summer highlighting an array of diverse managers and journalists.  Combined with its flagship Al Jazeera Satellite (Arabic) channel, Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera Documentary, Al Jazeera Sport, Al (the English and Arabic web sites), the Al Jazeera Media Training and Development Centre, Al Jazeera Centre for Studies, Al Jazeera Mubasher (Live), and Al Jazeera Mobile, the network boasts one of the most diverse news staffs in the world broadcasting to millions of viewers.

NABJ believes that the network which was established in 1996 is committed to creative, compelling, character driven storytelling which provides a depth and breadth about the news of the day, but also stories which have until then gone untold.

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February Speaker: Nichelle Nichols

Dear BJASC Members and Supporters,

Please join us this Saturday, February 21st, for the next chapter meeting of the Black Journalists Association of Southern California.

Actress and singer Nichelle Nichols will be our speaker.


About Nichelle Nichols:

When Nichelle Nichols was cast by Gene Roddenberry to create Chief Communications Officer Lt. Uhura, fourth in command of the Starship Enterprise, in his legendary TV series Star Trek — in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — it became “The first non-stereotypical role portrayed by a black woman in television history.” Nichelle subsequently co-starred in six blockbuster Star Trek motion pictures and is still in constant demand to appear before millions of “Trekkers” who keep the dream alive around the world.

Among her many notable TV and film credits, she co-starred with Cuba Gooding Jr. and James Coburn in the Disney motion picture Snow Dogs, with Ron Perlman and Daniel Riordan in the TV film Captain Zoom in Outer Space, and with Maxwell Caulfield and Levar Burton  in the Sandy Howard film The Supernaturals, as well as singing and dancing with Sammy Davis Jr. in Porgy and Bess.

Nichelle’s recent work in several independent features has allowed her to portray other challenging and varied characters. Among them, This Bitter Earth with Billy Dee Williams and Richard Roundtree, Tru Loved, a Tony Brown/Stewart Wade production co-starring Jasmine Guy, The Torturer, a powerful three-character film/play that examines the psychological effect of our presence in Iraq, and Lady Magdalene’s, written and directed by J. Neil Schulman and Executive Produced by Nichelle. Lady Magdalene’s also showcases Nichelle’s talent as a singer and songwriter with two of her original compositions being used in the film.

Nichelle was awarded her much deserved star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 9, 1992. Just a few weeks before, she became the first African-American to place her handprints and signature in the cement walk at the famous Mann’s (Grauman’s) Chinese Theatre along with her other command crew members of the Starship Enterprise who were also honored in a special exhibit at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in Washington D.C., an unprecedented accolade for the entertainment industry.

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CSUN Journalism Department Career Day


9:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Lake View Terrace & Pasadena Rooms, USU

BJASC members Millie Jefferson and Anita Bennett will participate in the Working Professionals Panel.

✔ Learn about journalism careers from broadcast news, print/online, photojournalism and public relations professionals!

✔ Have your portfolio and/or resume reviewed by experts in the field!

Lake View Terrace Room, USU


Including journalists and public relations practitioners working at:

Marketplace (American Public Media)

The Associated Press (AP)

CBS Corp.


10:50 a.m. – CSUN JOURNALISM SUCCESS STORIES PANEL Including CSUN journalism grads working at:

Porter Novelli, a global PR agency

National Notary Association

Ventura County Star news agency

FOX Sports Radio

Pasadena Room, USU

10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. – PORTFOLIO AND RESUME REVIEW

Bring your resume, online/print portfolio

and/or your laptop/iPad with your demo reel

Broadcast/print/online news, public relations, photojournalism students welcome!

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BJASC Message From The President

The New Year is both a time to reflect on the challenges and accomplishments of the past 12 months and a time to be excited about the future. As we look back at the year 2014 we should be encourage about 2015.  As the BJASC closes 2014, here’s what I’m most proud of – and what has me reenergized for 2015.

This past year BJASC successfully launched a college apprentice program in partnership with the Los Angeles Wave newspaper. Selected students spent 6 weeks working part-time as a contributing writer while being mentored by BJASC members.

Additionally we continued to feature prominent newsmakers as guest during our monthly general meetings. Some included Terrance Roberts (Little Rock Nine), US Rep. Karen Bass, and LA County Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas.

Unemployment continues to be a challenge for many of our members. Nevertheless the BJASC remains committed to being an advocate for jobs, media responsibility, and the education of its members.

To those who sacrificed their time and effort I want to thank you for your great work and your commitment to our members and mission.

On behalf of the Black Journalists Association of Southern California board of directors, I wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season.

 “Whatever good things we build end up building us,” Jim Rohn.

Xavier Higgs
President, The BJASC

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Intersections: A Conversation With Ann M. Simmons

In celebration of Women’s History Month, Ann M. Simmons, world-traveled journalist and multi-media reporter for the Los Angeles Times shares her experiences as one of the few Black, female, international news correspondents.

DATE: Sunday, March 29
TIME: 2:00pm
LOCATION: California African American Museum, 600 State Drive, Exposition Park, Los Angeles 90037
RSVP: (213) 744-2024

Ann M. Simmons’ career as a journalist spans more than two decades and includes newsgathering experience across Europe, Africa, North America, and the Middle East. Some of Ms. Simmons’ journalist posts include writing for Time Magazine and The Miami Herald, news reporter for the Moscow Bureau of Time magazine, and bureau chief in Nairobi and Johannesburg for the LA times. She has covered several of the world’s most important stories: The demise of the USSR, the U.S. Embassy bombing in Kenya, the War in Iraq and Hurricane Katrina, among others. Please join us as she shares what it is like to travel the world as one of the very few Black and foreign correspondents.

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