By Carmen Glover
Thousands of journalists, media professionals and students gathered in Boston from July 30 to August 3 for a successful hosting of the 39th annual National Association of Black Journalists Convention and Career Fair.
Attendees to the event were welcomed officially on Wednesday, July 30 in an engaging reception that featured television veteran Carole Simpson, who is senior leader in residence at Emerson College, WBZ-TV’s Paul Burton and an exciting dance troupe from Roxbury, Massachusetts. Journalists were then escorted to Regal 13 in downtown Boston, for an exclusive screening of the James Brown film “Get On Up,” which riveted the audience with lead actor Chadwick Boseman’s compelling transformation as he depicted the Godfather of Soul.
At 6:30 a.m. each morning, Zumba workouts were available and on some days there were professional development breakfasts and lunch and learn sessions. On Thursday, July 31, Governor Deval Patrick, Mayor Martin Walsh, television veteran Sarah Shaw and ESPN host of Numbers Never Like Michael Smith, spoke at the opening ceremony.
Among the notable panels included “Race in America,” during which Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree discussed salient issues concerning race, in a conversation moderated by noted journalist Ed Gordon. Ogletree also joined Ambassador Andrew Young, chairman of his self-named foundation, Dr. Bobby Austin, president of Neighborhood Association Inc. and editor of “Repairing the Breach,” Jim Shelton, deputy press secretary of education, My Brother’s Keeper task force and Washington Post managing editor Kevin Merida on Friday, August 1 on the panel “Repairing the Breach to My Brother’s Keeper: Reconnecting African-American Mena and Boys to American Society.”
Panelists explored issues such as the outlook for print journalism in “The Future of Print,” to the entrepreneurial role of African-American Journalists in the burgeoning online media industry in the session, “Hanging Your Own Shingle: Making the Leap into Entrepreneurship.” Financial health and planning were discussed in “Cultivating Personal Wealth: Are You Financially Fit?” which provided excellent insight by experts such as The Money Coach Lynnette Khalfani-Cox, Shirley-Ann Robertson of Prudential and Deborah Owens, who appears regularly on Roland Martin’s TV One show “News One Now.” The Anne Casey Foundation provided a poignant look at the plight of children from different ethnic groups that elicited passionate feedback from the attendees.
A career fair operated daily from 9:00 a.m. and each night there were receptions and parties to offer a broad mix of activities. ESPN’s mentoring breakfast was well-attended, as was the Sports Task Force’s Scholarship Jam at the House of Blues on Friday night. The Film Festivals showcased movies such as “Get On Up,” “Finding Samuel Lowe,” “Black and White,” “Dear White People” and “Contradiction.” Actors Kevin Costner and Octavia Spencer seemed relaxed as they talked with journalists after the first screening of their heartwarming film “Black and White.”
The awards gala, NABHJ’s signature event of the convention, did not disappoint, with journalists being honored for their outstanding work and special awards given out. Wesley Lowery of The Washington Post was named “Emerging Journalist of the Year” and Stephen Henderson of the Detroit Free Press was named “Journalist of the Year.” NABJ14 wrapped up on Sunday, August 3, with a stirring Gospel Brunch. During the awards gala on Saturday night, NABJ’s president Bob Butler offered a bargain to those who register early for NABJ15, when the organization will celebrate its’ fortieth anniversary in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“If you register by August 31 the cost is $200 and $150 for students,” he stated, as appreciation was shown with thunderous applause–OnPointPress.net.