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 18, 2008

The State of Our Industry: NABJ Town Hall Teleconference

The National Association of Black Journalists is hosting a town hall teleconference tomorrow (Nov. 19) at 1 p.m. Titled "The State of Our Industry: Layoffs, Buyouts, and Separations from Employment," the teleconference will address the concerns of journalists who are seeing the size of their newsrooms dwindle.

Town Hall Agenda

*Things to Consider When Getting Laid Off or Taking a Buyout
Tim Traylor, director of Human Resources, WJLA-TV (Washington)

*Your Personal Finances
Michelle Singletary, business writer, The Washington Post

*Taking Care of the Business of You
Jackie Jones, career coach, Jones Coaching, LLC.

Call information
Dial: 866-502-8312
Passcode: 2264907
Teleconference will begin at 1 p.m. ET.

Mingle With CAABJ On November 23

Come join us for our Year-End/Pre-Holiday Mixer this Sunday, November 23, 5-8 p.m. at Wine Up.

We'll celebrate the end of a momentous year in media and the contributions CAABJ has made in the community. So before you get into the rush of the holidays, come mingle with your fellow journalists while enjoying free hors d'oeuvres, a cash bar, music, and billiards. Also help us congratulate the winner of our annual college scholarship, to be awarded that evening.

Admission is $5 (free for CAABJ members and their guests). The proceeds will help fund our events and programs for 2009.

Wine Up is located at 3306 N. Davidson St. (in NoDa).

November 6, 2008

NABJ to Media Executives: Time to Gather Your Transition Team for Change

Below is a column written by NABJ president Barbara Ciara that was originally posted today on

In the months and years to come, historians and pundits alike will no doubt dissect and analyze the political and cultural implications of Tuesday’s historic election of Sen. Barack Obama, the first African-American to win the White House.

What does it say about the collective mindset of the country that voters were able to put race on the backburner long enough to elect a biracial candidate?

Have we turned the corner in race relations in this country, or were the past eight years so terrible that drastic change was the only viable alternative for most Americans?

Will this new president appoint a cabinet that embodies the diversity of the country’s electorate, shattering barriers for women and minorities?

Whatever the answers, as analysis reigns in print, on the air and online now through Inauguration Day, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), the nation’s largest organization of minority journalists, will ask these questions of news media executives.

By our accounts, in the midst of this monumental campaign for the Oval Office, black journalists had little to no opportunity to cover the candidates or the issues. Now in the midst of this defining moment, as the White House press corps is being formed to cover this country’s 44th President, NABJ urges the news media to gather their own transition team for change.

Yes, we know the facts. The economy has worsened, and ad and circulation dollars are drying up, resulting in an absence of hundreds of minority journalists at newspapers, magazines, and radio and television stations across the country. A new generation of listeners, viewers and readers decided last night that in the midst of crisis, the status quo needed a shake-up.

For the big media companies out there, diversity at all levels of the newsroom should be about gaining a competitive advantage and not satisfying a quota. For the readers and viewers, it should be about fairness and completeness in coverage – an implicit assurance of inclusiveness.

And like the advertisers they serve, media companies should do the necessary homework to make sure they are demographically inclusive in their news coverage.

If the country ever needed the unique perspective and expertise of journalists of color, it is now. Not just in the coverage of the presidency, but also on issues such as immigration, housing, predatory lending, the impact of the economic collapse in our communities, the Iraq War, the war on poverty and education.

Further, as this country moves deeper into the 21st Century, issues of race and culture are sure to abound, and who better to tell those stories than the people who’ve lived them all their lives?

But our business is in trouble when it comes to the numbers of minorities in the nation’s newsrooms.

To date, not one black journalist hosts a Sunday morning or daily news and commentary show on the major cable and television networks. There are no African American executive producers at network newscasts and shows such as Today, Good Morning America and the CBS Early Show, and minorities account for 11.4 percent of all supervisors in newsrooms. These statistics are particularly important because it reflects who makes newsroom assignments and decides what news is worth covering.

If change is the result of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, then it’s time for readers and viewers to demand that media companies provide balanced coverage by a diverse group of journalists, from the White House press corps onward.

If Tuesday’s election is the nation’s mandate for change, perhaps it’s time now for the news media to do something truly historic too.

Yours in service,
Barbara Ciara
President, National Association of Black Journalists