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 28, 2009

Historic Charlotte Radio Station Goes FM

WGIV, Charlotte’s first African-American radio station that originated in the 1940s, has traditionally been an AM station but has recently added an FM frequency. The urban inspiration talk/gospel station can be heard on 1370 AM and now 103.3 FM. You can read about WGIV's new venture in this week's issue of The Charlotte Post.

WGIV prides itself on its local programming, at a time when many radio stations' time slots are filled with nationally syndicated shows. The article includes an interview with WGIV on-air personality and program director Tonya Rivens, who is also a CAABJ member. Click here to read The Charlotte Post article.

August 9, 2009

Blogging from NABJ Convention: Day 3

The National Association of Black Journalists Annual Convention and Career Fair is underway in Tampa, Florida. Several Charlotte members are attending and CAABJ president Jarvis Holliday will be doing recaps of the days' events here online.

Friday felt like a day in which many attendees at the convention were focusing on the future--the future of their careers, the future of our industry, and the future of NABJ. The Career Fair and Exhibit Hall was hopping with traffic for a second executive day. Many journalists were meeting with media companies, some getting one-on-one interviews or critiques of their broadcast tapes. I visited the CNN booth and talked to one of their people about how I would go about being a contributor for That is obviously a competitive position, as are just about every other position in media today, but the advantage of me visiting the Career Fair is that the lady I spoke to told me the process of how to inquire about an online position and gave me the editorial director's name and email address.

I attended two afternoon sessions--one titled "Becoming a Multimedia Journalist" and the other was called "View From the Top Tier: Journalistic Objectivity in the Age of Obama." The latter sparked some interest conversations between the audience and panel, which included Warren Ballentine.

Friday was the last day of voting for the national candidates seeking office for NABJ, so throughout the day I helped Charlotte member and WBTV reporter Dedrick Russell do some last-minute campaigning for his candidacy for vice president of broadcast. All of the candidates were out in full force with their supporters directing people who hadn't yet voted to "Go to room 7." The on-site polls closed at 5 p.m. (as they did online as well). Each of the candidates could select a monitor to be present during the tallying of results. I served as Dedrick's monitor. We were sent into a room with NABJ election officials where the election votes were tallied electronically and the results were announced to us. We were the first to get the results, and they were then formally announced at a 6 p.m. news conference that was being held at the Marriott Waterside next to the convention center.

Unfortunately Dedrick lost the election, and the chosen candidate for NABJ vice president of broadcast was Bob Butler of KCBS Radio in San Francisco. Dedrick ran a great campaign, impressing a lot of people and making Charlotte look good along the way. On behalf of CAABJ, I salute him for his efforts. Kathy Times, an anchor for WDBD-TV in Jackson, Mississippi, was elected as the 18th president of NABJ. She and the other 11 board members chosen will lead the 3,200-member organization for the 2009-11 term. Click here to read more about the election results.

And of course, Friday night meant party time. The Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists hosted a great party at the Florida Aquarium featuring special guest Tom Joyner and DJ Kid Capri. The place was packed and the music was great (there weren't enough bartenders though). I spotted Joyner heading for the exit around 12:45 p.m. and almost simultaneously the music switched from old school to new school. It was great to party with the people I'd been seeing for the last few days at the convention. The party rolled on until 2 a.m.

August 7, 2009

Blogging from NABJ Convention: Day 2

The National Association of Black Journalists Annual Convention and Career Fair is underway in Tampa, Florida. Several Charlotte members are attending and CAABJ president Jarvis Holliday will be doing recaps of the days' events here online.

Thursday was an eventful day at the convention. It featured perhaps the most notable sessions and events on the schedule, including a Zumba Fitness Workout; NABJ Sports Task Force Mentor Breakfast sponsored by ESPN; a forum on what the death of Michael Jackson tells us about media competition; a photography and design competition; Lebron James was on hand to discuss his new documentary (More Than a Game); and numerous sessions on how journalists can strengthen their brand, transition into new careers, get multimedia training, use social networking, ethical decision making, and more.

Another very important feature of the day was the Career Fair and Exhibit Hall, where dozens of media companies had booths set up. I visited the ESPN booth, which was one of the most popular, and I was able to speak with an executive with ESPN The Magazine. She gave me her card and I feel like I made a great contact, which is important for me as a freelance writer.

Throughout the day as I came in and out of a couple of sessions, I helped fellow CAABJ member Dedrick Russell with his campaigning for NABJ vice president of broadcast. Dedrick has a booth set up in the lobby outside of the exhibit hall along with the other candidates vying for national office. We passed out "Vote Russell" buttons and campaign fliers. At 4:30, Dedrick and the candidates participated in a forum (it was in a large room and they were on a big stage) in which they answered questions to explain why they would be best for the office they're seeking.

The evening wrapped up with a Media Reception sponsored by Target. Lounging at this point was much needed after a long day. Plus, Target provided free drinks (including the Targetini) and hors d'oeuvres. I was able to mingle and exchange business cards with several professionals who it seem like it would be beneficial to keep in touch with (having a career in media means that you'll often cross paths with people you've met before or who have mutual friends and colleagues).

From talking to different people, it seems like there are several journalists here who are either a year or two removed from college and looking for their first or next job, or they're experienced journalists who've recently been laid off. I hope that many people leave this convention with the contacts and tools needed to help them make that next step.

August 6, 2009

Blogging from NABJ Convention: Day 1

The National Association of Black Journalists Annual Convention and Career Fair is underway in Tampa, Florida. Several Charlotte members are attending and CAABJ president Jarvis Holliday will be doing recaps of the days' events here online.

Day one of the NABJ Convention was surprisingly productive and informative. I say surprisingly because oftentimes the first day of a convention is slow and mostly serves the purpose of registrations and check-ins. The itinerary for Wednesday was certainly lighter than what is scheduled for the remainder of the week, but the programming was good.

I spent most of the day in the "Chapter Day" sessions, which included the executive leadership of NABJ chapters from around the country, a panel of leading journalists, and a few NABJ board members. We discussed many topics on how to survive as journalists during this recessed media climate and how to strengthen our local chapters, but the overwhelming consensus was that NABJ and the local chapters (such as CAABJ) need to develop stronger relationships. Several chapter presidents, including from Cincinnati and Los Angeles, talked about how there are too many cases of journalists living and working in our cities who are members of the national chapter but not of the local chapter. The local chapter, quite simply, is where the local work--workshops, community forums, after-work mixers, mentorships--is done.

Chapter Day concluded with an hour-long session that featured a Q&A with candidates who are seeking national office. CAABJ member Dedrick Russell is seeking the office of NABJ vice president of broadcast. He wasn't scheduled to arrive in town until later that night so I spoke on his behalf (he'll be participating in the formal Candidates Forum on Thursday). It was interesting to see Roland Martin at the session. Because he's an analyst for CNN and commentator for TV One, I'm so used to seeing him on TV and it's easy to forget that he's a journalist like the rest of us. He's running for NABJ secretary, which he surely will win, and he'll bring his great industry connections to the organization.

The highlight of the day (of course) were the receptions. There was a Welcome Reception from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in one of the ballrooms at the Tampa Marriott Waterside. And from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. there was a white party held poolside at the Marriott, with proceeds benefiting NABJ's Reinvention Committee and Media Institute. This party was great--featured a DJ, ice cream hors d'oeuvres by Häagen-Dazs, free gift bags, and a great view of the city and the water. I attended both events, had a great time, and did some great networking.