Former ABC News Anchor Carole Simpson moderated a panel of five journalists from across Southern New England. Two local chapters of the National Association of Black Journalists teamed up to host the event on February 1st in honor of Black History month.
The Southern New England Association of Black Journalists and The Boston Association of Black Journalists gathered an esteemed panel to discuss the challenges of Blacks in American Journalism. The Southern New England Association is the latest addition to the NABJ, offering support to journalists working and living in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Massachusetts.
The panel was composed of veteran journalists such as Pulitzer Prize Nominated Boston Globe Columnist Derrick Z. Jackson, ESPN The Magazine Senior Editor and NABJ Treasurer Keith Reed, Blackstonian Publisher and Editor Jamarhl Crawford, WPRI- TV News Reporter Todd Wallace, and Former Boston Globe Editor and Boston University Journalism Professor Michelle Johnson.
Michelle Johnson discussed her struggles during decades of work at the Boston Globe. There would be times when it was just three of us in an entire department. We knew that. Todd Wallace surprised the audience mentioning he was the first African American anchor in the largest city in Indiana. I became the first Black TV Anchor in the Indianapolis market and that was just in 2007.
The discussion prompted many to ask What can be done to improve the situation? The panelists all agreed that without The National Association of Black Journalists they would not know where they would be.
Carole Simpson, who is currently an Emerson College Professor, opened the conversation up to audience members, by pointing out her former student Georgiaree Godfrey. Godfrey is a news reporter at WWLP-TV in Springfield, Massachusetts. Godfrey spoke about her first time experiencing an NABJ Convention. NABJ is a comforting and an excellent place for critique and a nice awakening.
Just the fact that I can walk into a room and see 3,000 journalists that look like me, thats what NABJ means to me, said Johnson. NABJ is a continuous mentor location, said Keith Reed.
WPRI-TV Reporter and SNEABJ President Chantee Lans said she was thrilled. Saturday was SNEABJ's first major event and first collaboration with another NABJ chapter. We did a phenomenal job of bringing journalists together for a positive and powerful cause.