Monday, June 8, 2009

Voting for New NABJ Officers Begins Today

Today is Monday, June 8 which means it's the first day of online voting for the new board for the National Association of Black Journalists. With the current turmoil in the journalism business, I feel that this election could be the most important in the association's history.

I have blogged here extensively about, among other things, the job losses, monetizing the business model and journalists adapting their skills to fit into an ever-changing industry. As such, I believe it is very important that we have a board that can hit the ground running to handle these and other challenges our members will face in the next two years. No matter who you vote for, I would encourage you all to contact the candidates you're interested in and speak with them about their platform and vision for NABJ moving forward.

I am going to offer my endorsements today for the NABJ candidates I believe will best serve our membership moving forward. I'll start with the person I believe should lead us for the next 2 years. That person is Kathy Times, currently the board's VP/Broadcast. I have admired Times' advocacy and drive to help NABJ's Media Institute grow and flourish. I have become a strong proponent of training NABJ members to handle the move to new media, and Kathy has made that a priority on her platform. I also appreciate her commitment to providing more communications to NABJ members. I believe Kathy is the person most qualified to lead NABJ moving forward.

Next up is VP/Print, and I am heartily endorsing current NABJ secretary Deidre Childress. I have always been impressed with Childress's responses on the NABJ Listserv to questions from the membership, no matter how difficult the question. And having looked at the board minutes for the past 2 years, Childress is detailed and task oriented, skills that will be critical as print journalism continues its painful -- and interesting -- transformation. I have blogged about NABJ forming partnerships with the businesses that are transforming the print journalism model and Childress is committed to doing that moving forward.

I am throwing my support behind Andrew Humphrey for VP/Broadcast. As an active member of the NABJ Digital Journalism Task Force, I have had the pleasure to see Humphrey's work up close and personal. Among the planks in his platform is his commitment to push for members in the digital frontier and is also committed to expanding NABJ partnerships with new media businesses.

Sherlon Christie is my choice to take over as NABJ secretary. Christie has been actively running for the office, reaching out to the NABJ membership with his blog, Facebook page, online live chats and appearances at association events. In his platform, he has two planks that especially appeal to me and should to the rest of the NABJ membership. First, he is emphasizing the importance of new media, with the goal to encourage all members to get up to speed with those skills, since that is the future of journalism. Second, he has committed to continue with Childress's efforts to be more open and offer regular information updates to the NABJ membership.

Although I can't vote for Region IV director, I am supporting the candidacy of Keith Reed. Reed has been very active in creating and maintaining his multimedia profile and serving as a commenter with national media outlets on money and finance. In his platform, he pledges to work with the NABJ board to help members find renewed purpose in a quickly changing media landscape.

And last, but not least, I hope those of you in Region II will consider my candidacy for director. I understand that I am running against an incumbent, but with the rapid changes in the industry in the past two years alone, I feel some change could only do the board good.

As Region II Director, my priorities will be to:

  • Offer a yearly Region II conference and quarterly webinars on hot topics;

  • Ensure more is done to offer training/advice/learning for members trying to adapt to new business models; and

  • Increase the contact of the regional director to better serve as a bridge between local chapters and the board.

During these times of rapid change, it's important for NABJ members to look at all the candidates and see which ones you feel will best guide the association in what will most likely be another two years of turmoil. Again, I feel the candidates I'm endorsing are the ones who will do that best moving forward.

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