The Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists (CAABJ) is an affiliate chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), a nonprofit organization focused on establishing strong ties among African-Americans working in the media and expanding and balancing the media's coverage of the African-American community and experience.

November 22, 2005

2005-06 scholarship programs on hold

Disappointing news: neither Knight Ridder nor The Charlotte Observer will be offering the minority journalism scholarships this year.

If you've already contacted students about the scholarships, please send their names and contact information to I'd like to have their information on file just in case we're able to offer a scholarship through CAABJ in the spring.

Don't forget! Send your ideas, questions or concerns to

2005-06 CAABJ Board of Directors

Congratulations are in order to the initial Board of Directors of the re-launched Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists!

President: April Bethea, The Charlotte Observer
Vice-President, Print: Lena Warmack, The Charlotte Observer
Vice-President, Broadcast: Melody Freeman, WCNC-TV
Secretary: Athena Stanfield, WCNC-TV
Treasurer: Cheryl Patterson, "Chirl Girl", V101.9 FM
Parliamentarian: Cleve R. Wootson, Jr., The Charlotte Observer

I'm looking forward to working with all of you during the next year, and congratulations again to our entire slate of new officers.


Don't forget! Send your ideas, questions or concerns to

Mark your calendars: 11 a.m. Dec. 10

Mark your calendars for our next chapter meeting, set for 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 10 at the offices of Charlotte Magazine, 127 West Worthington Ave. Stay tuned for a message from Jarvis Holliday, associate editor at Charlotte Magazine, with more details.
Don't forget! Send your ideas, questions or concerns to

November 15, 2005

CAABJ Board of Directors candidates

Three individuals have put their names in the running for the CAABJ Board of Directors. You'll hear from them at our next meeting, set for 11 a.m. Saturday (Nov. 19).

President: April Bethea, The Charlotte Observer
Vice-President: Melody Freeman, WCNC-TV; Lena Warmack, The Charlotte Observer

We will take nominations from the floor from people interested in the following positions: treasurer, secretary and parliamentarian.
Read the post "It's Election Time" for descriptions of these positions.

In the meantime, click on the link below to read more from our candidates.

The candidates e-mailed these statements to

April Bethea, reporter
The Charlotte Observer

Let's face it: our industry is at a crossroads, and all of our companies are looking for different ways to get news to the greatest number of people. But we should not let people forget that having diverse staffs, and giving them the resources they need to improve their skills are two of the surest ways we can provide news that accurately portrays what it is happening in our communities.

I am running for president of the Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists because I want this chapter to have a voice in shaping how our region delivers the news. We need to push for recruiting and retaining more black journalists on our staffs and in management positions. And we must raise our hands when we think there's not enough news correctly depicting residents in our areas.

It's not going to be an easy task. Our chapter's first priority clearly has to be recruiting a strong group of members who are willing to volunteer their time and energy to organize workshops, or serve as mentors to students, or plan social events for us to network with each other.

I'd like to use my experience as a five-year member of NABJ and a leader in my college chapter to help return CAABJ to the model status we held several years ago. Doing so will make sure this region -- despite whatever changes our companies make -- continues to offer quality news options.


(1) Melody Freeman
5 p.m. Producer - WCNC-TV

I want your vote for the position of Vice President of CAABJ. In the past few meetings I have heard suggestions that broadcast journalists have not played critical roles in this organization. I want to change that. I am excited about the opportunity this organization has to make a difference in this community. The culture of Charlotte is changing. We can help drive that change. Changes in stereotypes. Changes in news coverage. Changes in the futures of our young people. These goals can be realized through programs we put in place that strengthen our own skills as journalists and programs that strengthen our future leaders and our community.

(2) Lena Warmack
Reporter, The Charlotte Observer

Martin Luther King Jr. reasoned that the most powerful weapon people of color had during segregation was to exercise the full extent of their citizenship. Black journalists can still use this advice today in their newsrooms. Our revamped chapter must empower black journalists to become vocal newsroom leaders. Leaders not merely by job title, but by action and advocacy. We must advocate for more than our self interests, but the interests of readers, neglected neighborhoods and youth aspiring to enter our profession.

NABJ scholarships, training and support through college helped steer me into a print journalism career. As an active member of NABJ, I took advantage of several training programs for young reporters including a business workshop sponsored by the organization and Bloomberg. I am running
for CAABJ vice president because I want to give back and help our chapter flourish. I will work closely with members to develop a firm vision for our future and create opportunities for journalists to have active roles in our relaunch. I also want to create programs to offer workshops for journalists,
as well as training programs and mentorship for aspiring high school and college students.

Thank you for your consideration.

CAABJ Constitution amendments

The Constitution Committee, chaired by Melody Freeman of WCNC, has reviewed the CAABJ Constitution and by-laws and identified several areas where we're out-of-step with the NABJ by-laws.

We'll need to discuss these issues at Saturday's meeting:

Objectives and Purpose:
NABJ Constitution: In preamble: " ... and to monitor and sensitize all media to racism." In Article II. Purpose: "To expand and balance the mediaƂ’s coverage of the Black community and Black experience."

CAABJ Constitution: Article 1 Objectives, Section 1: "Sensitize whites in the media to institutional racism in coverage, portrayal of blacks and employment practices."

Question: Do we change word use?

NABJ Constitution:
Full Membership: Art. III Sec 1b: Full membership shall also be open to freelance journalists."; Art. III Sec 1c: Full membership also shall be open to college and university journalism professors who had five years newsroom experience prior to joining academia.
Art. III Sec 2: Associate membership shall be open to all other media-related professionals if their goals and purposes are consistent with this Constitution and the spirit of NABJ
Art. III Sec 3: Student Membership shall be open to high school students and anyone currently a full-time equivalent student at an accredited college or university

CAABJ Constitution:
Art. II Membership, Sec. 2 Associate membership shall be open to journalists employed in public information areas, to journalists employed in an academic field, i.e. college or university professors, high school journalism teachers, or those working journalists who after being employed at a newspaper, television or radio station, magazine or wire service decide to further their education. In addition, associate members shall be open to free-lance journalists who can prove that they spend more than half their time producing gathering disseminating or distributing news.
Student membership shall be open tfull-time who is a fulltime student at an accredited college or university

Questions to consider: 1. Should free-lance journalists have full membership? 2. Should college professors have full membership under certain conditions? 3. Should we allow other media related professionals to have full membership? 4. Should high school students be allowed a student membership?

NABJ Constitution:
Chap 2. Art I Sec. 1:Titles of National Officers. The officers of the organization shall be President, Vice President/Print, Vice President/Broadcast, Secretary, Treasurer and Parliamentarian

CAABJ Constitution:
Art. III Sec. 1:The CAABJ shall have as officers a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and parliamentarian.

Question to consider: Should CAABJ include a position for Vice-President/Broadcast?

November 8, 2005

Join us Nov. 19

Dee-Dee Strickland of The Charlotte Observer graciously offered to host our next CAABJ chapter meeting at her home on Saturday Nov. 19th at 11 a.m.

This one is on the weekend so all of you folks with off schedules can try and make it.

Need directions to the meeting? E-mail Tiffani Helberg of WCNC-TV at

I am trying to get a good headcount for Dee-Dee as she is going out of her way to buy drinks and food. If you are planning to attend please email me by Nov. 11th (Friday).

Also if you know of others in your newsroom that might be interested but are not signed up for this list serve, please invite them but let them know that they need to RSVP to me by the 11th.

Tiffani Helberg
NBC 6 Reporter

November 1, 2005

CAABJ update, Nov. 6

Click on the link below to read past CAABJ news.

Hope everything is going well with you all. I want to remind you of two important dates, plus share some news:

-- Friday (Nov. 11) is the deadline to state your intention to run for the CAABJ board of directors. We're looking for a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer and parliamentarian. Please send your name, contact information, position desired, and a statement of why you're interested in running to

-- Join us at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 19 for our next chapter meeting. Dee-Dee Strickland of The Charlotte Observer has offered to host us at her home. Stay tuned for more details from Tiffani Helberg of WCNC.

Now, onto the news. CAABJ now has a blog that we can use to communicate with each other until we get an official Web site. Read below for information on:

-- CAABJ elections
-- The Knight Ridder / Charlotte Observer Minority Scholarship program
-- How to sign up for the CAABJ project, scholarship/mentor and constitution committees

Have an idea for something we should add to the blog? Send it to


April Bethea, reporter
The Charlotte Observer

Knight Ridder/ Charlotte Observer Minority Scholarship program

Please share information about this scholarship opportunity with students you know. To sign-up for the scholarship/mentoring committee, contact April Bethea at

High school seniors in the Charlotte/Mecklenburg metro area can apply for The Charlotte Observer Minority Scholarship Program. Two $1,000 scholarships will be awarded: one to a student interested in the news side of the newspaper industry and another to a student interested in the business side of the industry.

The two winners are then eligible to compete for one of five Knight Ridder scholarships worth $40,000, plus four paid internships at Knight Ridder newspapers.

To apply, students must return the following materials by Dec. 14:

1) Application form
2) An original, typed essay covering why they want to pursue a career in newspapering, what they know about Knight Ridder and how they see themselves working in Knight Ridder
3) Two letters of recommendation
4) Transcript of grades and SAT/ACT scores
5) Up to five samples of work with bylines (For those interested in pursuing journalism only)

Applications and supplementing documentation must be mailed to: Minority Scholarship Program, Human Resources, The Charlotte Observer, 600 South Tryon St. Charlotte, NC 28202.

Finalists will be contacted for an interview, and winners will be announced in February 2006.

For more information or to obtain an application, email (Subject line should read 2006 Minority Scholarship), or call the Scholarship Hotline at 704-377-4444.