Washington, D.C. (June 23, 2015): — The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is proud to announce its three finalists for the 2015 Professional Chapter of the Year Award. This year’s finalists include the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation (PBMF), the Southern New England Association of Black Journalists (SNEABJ), and the Washington Association of Black Journalists (WABJ). The award recognizes a professional chapter which has gone above and beyond to attract and retain members, design and execute exceptional programming for its members, demonstrated a significant level of involvement at the national level, and engaged their local community, among other criteria.
“We applaud the finalists for chapter of the year, PBMF, SNEABJ, and WABJ,” said NABJ President Bob Butler. “These chapters have demonstrated why our chapters are the lifeblood of the organization. By working to engage members on a local level, they extend NABJ’s reach. They support the career development of aspiring journalists as well as seasoned professionals. These chapters also demonstrate an ongoing commitment to their respective communities, promoting inclusivity and diversity, but also engaging folks around issues important to folks locally.”
PBMF has undergone a complete transformation with new leadership and is currently thriving under the direction of its president, Tory Parrish. PBMF successfully held its longstanding, annual programs, which were the 31st annual Frank Bolden Urban Journalism Workshop for high school students, the 26th annual Robert L. Vann Media Awards and the Soul Café, which is an annual music and arts showcase and scholarship fundraiser. In addition, PBMF’s “Still Feel Like Going On,” a 10-week photography project for teen boys, was more closely aligned under the umbrella of PBMF programs.
Additionally, a new Community Service Subcommittee is one of the most active of PBMF’s committees and subcommittees. Its successful initiatives have included a children’s book drive, PBMF Reads: Project Book Bridge, and a coat drive that was tied to a holiday happy hour, ‘Coats and Cocktails.’
SNEABJ represents working and aspiring journalists in print, broadcast, and online in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Barbara Morse Silva is the president of the chapter. Monthly meetings rotate among media outlets between the three states. This group has made tremendous strides during its first year as a professional NABJ affiliate chapter. They have grown their paid membership both locally and nationally while offering both community-related and journalist benefits through its programming to more than a 200 people.
The chapter also offered its first community forum called “Does Race Matter to the Media?” The forum was held in December at Brown University. The event, which drew in more than a hundred community members, educators, social activists, and journalists from all backgrounds, focused on recent high profile race-related cases including Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, and Donald Sterling, among many others that happened in 2014.
Through hard work and dedication, WABJ has maintained strong membership support, and with attendance numbers that continue to grow. This chapter is very active in holding meetings every month and sponsoring events almost as frequently. Invited guests at its most recent meetings include leaders in the journalism industry, such as network executives and reporters. The chapter is lead by its president, Donna Walker.
In March of 2014, WABJ held one of its Hallmark programs, the Urban Journalism Workshop (UJW). Three journalism students received scholarships totaling near $5,000 for their respective endeavors in print, and broadcast journalism. Last year, WABJ also held their first “Summer SOULcial,” an opportunity for members to meet and network while enjoying some good ol’ picnic fare. At the NABJ convention in Boston, the group sponsored a networking reception where professionals united to discuss the numerous seminars and workshops designed to improve journalists’ skills in the workplace. In the fall, it was the lead organization to support a networking event sponsored by CBS, and WABJ threw its annual holiday party in December, which was also well attended.
Throughout the year, the organization co-sponsored the Diversity Job Fair in Washington, DC. It was one of the largest groups to attend the NBC Diversity mixer held at NBC 4, and it even had a group represent the pre-screening of the award- winning film ‘Selma,’ before its nationwide release. This year’s winner will be named during NABJ’s 40th Annual Convention and Career Fair which takes place August 5 through August 9 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. For additional information, ticket sales and registration, please visit us at www.nabj.org.–OnPointPress.net.