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.

August 25, 2008

Bloggers among journalists at DNC

Written by Marc Giauque

For every three delegates at the Democratic National Convention (DNC) there is at least one journalist; but many of them are working online instead of on the air.

If you walk down Denver's 16th Street Mall, you can't miss the sight of someone with a small video camera, gathering information for their blog sites.

Utah's Rob Miller is among them, entering diaries on Utah He's one of 55 bloggers
given press credentials for the event.

"It's making history because it is the first time they've credentialed bloggers, and what an honor for our blog to be a part of that," he said.

Miller is also the vice chairman of the Utah Democratic Party. Like a lot of bloggers, he doesn't make a dime for the work he'll do.

Next NABJ Webinar Scheduled for Sept. 17

The second of NABJ and the Poynter Institute's four-part webinar series on Managing Today's Newsroom is scheduled for September 17, 2-3 p.m. Part two of the series is titled Coaching and Counseling for Outstanding Performance. The presenter will be Joyce Davis, senior vice president of content for WITF-TV (PBS), WITF-FM (NPR, APR, PRI), and Central PA Magazine.

If you're an active NABJ member, receive your special passcode for the webinar at Then register at, and use the code to view it for free.

August 21, 2008

Don’t Question My Credibility Because I’m Black

By Barbara Ciara
President, National Association of Black Journalists
Reprinted from

When I was an aspiring journalist back in the 1970s, a college professor taught a lesson that has shaped the kind of journalist I try to be today. He instructed our class to use three questions when approaching a story. Before writing or broadcasting the story we should ask ourselves: Is it true? Is it fair? Is it necessary?

I was reminded of that lesson when attending the UNITY Journalists of Color convention in Chicago in July. The UNITY alliance is made up of Asian, Hispanic, Native American and Black journalists. Together it is the largest organization of journalists of color in the world. Most political candidates consider it a “must attend” event during an election year.

The National Association of Black Journalists has hosted President George W. Bush, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, and Secretary of State Colin Powell, all Republicans. It’s a better journalistic experience when all parties are represented.

On July 27, Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee for president made UNITY his first stop after visiting Iraq and European countries. Republican nominee John McCain was invited but declined. Both candidates were invited months in advance when it became clear they were frontrunners. It’s too bad McCain didn’t consider UNITY a “must attend” event. It would have been a great opportunity to hear the platforms of both candidates speaking before thousands of journalists.

The Obama appearance was not exclusive to those attending. It was also broadcast live on CNN. That’s when an interesting angle surfaced among the media covering the event. The question was asked, is it possible for journalists of color to cover the Obama campaign without bias?

“Excuse me,” I countered when I heard that would be the angle of several news organizations covering the Obama appearance. The little hairs on the back of my neck danced in anger.

Yeah, I’m mad at the question, and the suggestion. How does that expression go? “We have seen the enemy and it is us.” My answer to the question is with a question: What in the world are you thinking? Or better still – are you thinking?

Will Black reporters dance with joy in their written words or in their broadcasts because of the historic nature of the campaign? How did that question become a legitimate news story? I wondered what my college professor would say.

Is it true? Let’s see, have you counted the number of African Americans who are on the Obama campaign plane? There is not one single front-line Black reporter from ABC, CBS, or NBC assigned to cover the Obama campaign, nor will you find an African American assigned to cover the candidate from the New York Times, or Time magazine.

You need the opportunity to play the game before you can be accused of misplaying it.

Besides, one of the toughest questions asked of Obama during the CNN broadcast at UNITY came from African American columnist Leonard Pitts. He wanted to know if Obama was avoiding visiting Mosques and Muslims out of fear that he would run the risk of being tied, incorrectly, to a faith he doesn’t practice. Was Obama allowing propaganda to disregard the Muslim community? It was a tough question – and a Black reporter asked it. I guess Pitts didn’t get the memo.

Is it fair? Did female reporters have to pass a litmus test before they were assigned to cover Sen. Hillary Clinton? Perhaps we should question the plethora of White guys covering Sen. McCain and ask them if they can cover a White candidate without displaying bias. After all, they must love the guy since he’s the same shade and gender right?

Is it necessary? I asked my colleague Pat McReynolds his thoughts and after a thoughtful pause he said, “We all have biases. No one could truthfully say otherwise. But as in any profession, if you are good at what you do and take your job seriously, you check your biases at the door no matter whether you are Black or White.”

I’m annoyed that skin color has been injected into the presidential race. It detracts from the issues that matter to us all. And what matters most to journalists is our credibility. When you question that be prepared for a 12-round heavyweight verbal fight.

Don’t get me wrong, journalists are not above biases or answering tough questions. But keep it above the belt. McReynolds summed up my feelings with his parting comment when he said, “To me, saying all African American journalists think alike is just as insulting, if not more so, than saying they all look alike!”

Is it true, is it fair, and is it necessary?

Yours in service,
Barbara Ciara

August 15, 2008

NABJ Presents Free Webinar Series on Managing Newsrooms

Take the time next week to enjoy the first in a series of webinars themed Managing Today's Newsroom, presented by the National Association of Black Journalists and the Poynter Institute. If you're an active NABJ member, receive your special passcode for the webinar at

Register at, and use the code to experience this or the entire series for free.

Members are signing up every day to one or all four webinars. NABJ's own Walter Middlebrook of the Detroit News and the team at Poynter are working on a fun, engaging and interactive presentation.

Making the Transition to Supervisor
August 20
2-3 p.m. EST
Free to NABJ Members
Powered by the Poynter Institute's NewsU

This series of web seminars (webinars) will prepare you for the complete change of responsibilities that come with becoming an editor or producer and will help you plan for the challenges ahead. Come away with a better understanding of what your colleague in the newsroom expects of you. The invaluable set of tools in this seminar will prepare you to assume that all-important first supervisory role with greater confidence and success.

August 13, 2008

Event Focuses on the Evolution of Media

Please note that this is not a CAABJ event. But it is an event we think our members would benefit from attending.

Ink Starved: Millennials and the Evolution of Media

Man can't live on ones and zeros alone, but millennials seem determined to forego the nourishment of ink on paper in favor of digital media. Are they ink starved or digit hungry? How will newspapers and journalists adapt to this generation's preferences? Is this new media trend as prevalent in Charlotte as in other markets? Who will be the innovative leaders that help media adapt?

Join the discussion with Charlotte's leading publishers. Presented by Engage Charlotte, an affiliate of the Charlotte Chamber.

Tuesday, August 26
11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. networking, 12-1 p.m. lunch
The Westin Charlotte
601 S. College Street

Guest Speakers
Carolyn Butler, Publisher, Creative Loafing
Ann Caulkins, Publisher, Charlotte Observer
Jeannie Falknor, Publisher, Charlotte Business Journal
Hilda Gurdian, Publisher & CEO, La Noticia, The Spanish-Language Newspaper

Michael Juby, Associate, Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein LLP

$20 for Charlotte Chamber member young professionals (If your employer is a member of the Charlotte Chamber, you are too.) $30 for non-members.

Visit for more info.

August 5, 2008

Creative Loafing Internship

Creative Loafing, Charlotte's alternative weekly newspaper, is seeking editorial internship candidates who are currently enrolled in school and are pursuing a degree in journalism or a similar field. Students with an interest in news, arts, music and film are especially encouraged to apply. Students must receive class credit for this unpaid internship. No exceptions.

Duties include, but are not limited to, the following: data entry for events and listings, writing event previews, copy editing, assisting staff writers with research and organization for news and feature stories; writing short section pieces, blog entries, sidebars and/or feature stories; and general office tasks, including transcribing letters to the editor, plus general mailings, filing and archiving.

Applicants should submit their resume with a cover letter, and a minimum of three published writing samples via email, fax or mail by August 15. Email Kimberly Lawson, operations editor,