NABJ at 35: The Power of Change

August 10, 2010

by Nikelle Feimster, Media Relations Specialist, Business Wire/New York

I recently attended the 35th annual National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention and Career Fair held July 28 to August 1 at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, CA. The sold out event was a huge success, drawing more than 1,600 media professionals from across the country. The convention was packed with a plethora of workshop and training sessions, forums, plenary ceremonies, and networking opportunities.

Dr. Mehmet Oz at the opening ceremony of the NABJ Convention

In keeping with this year’s theme, “The Power of Change,” a new initiative was introduced: Healthy NABJ. The opening ceremony featured television personality Dr. Mehmet Oz and veteran broadcaster Rene Syler. According to Dr. Oz, in order for journalists to do their jobs effectively they have to take care of their health. In addition, journalists can spark change in the black community by spreading awareness of health issues that affect African-Americans including heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

The most talked about panel discussion was “Context and Consequences: Conversation with Shirley Sherrod.” Sherrod was animated as she talked about how she was forced to resign from the U.S. Department of Agriculture because a conservative blogger posted video excerpts from a speech she gave at an NAACP meeting. Sherrod claimed her words were taken out of context and she was accused of being a racist.

During the conference, workshop and training sessions were held to provide journalists with the skills they need to stay current in the industry. Some of the sessions were:

  • Advanced Multimedia Training
  • Power Writing for the Web
  • Google for Journalists
  • Internet Etiquette: Being “Socially” Responsible

Benèt Wilson and Nikelle Feimster

I really enjoyed the workshop called “Public Relations and Journalism – The Intersecting Highway.” The room was filled with reporters and PR professionals who were eager to know how they can build better relationships with each other. During this lively discussion, one of the attendees asked if the reporters thought press releases distributed through wire services were useful.  Not only did the reporters find them useful, but one of the panelists, Benét Wilson, Online Managing Editor of Business Aviation, said that “Business Wire is great.” She praised Raschanda Hall, Global Media Relations Manager at Business Wire Chicago. Raschanda helped Benét  create a custom newsfeed with Business Wire’s PressPass tool. With PressPass, Benét receives only the news she needs at her convenience. This free media service is a valuable resource to journalists’ news gathering and it makes their jobs a lot easier.

Swayne Hall, AP photo editor, and Nikelle Feimster

Other heavy hitters in journalism who attended the convention were CNN contributor Roland Martin, Soledad O’Brien, and JET senior staff writer Clarence Waldron. Soledad was named Journalist of the Year, and Clarence received the NABJ Legacy Award.

Next year’s convention will take place in Philadelphia. To learn more about NABJ, visit www.nabj.com.


Event Recap: Charlotte, NC Media on Reaching Minority Communities

March 30, 2010
Business Wire/Charlotte recently hosted a luncheon on March 24th in Durham, NC. The discussion, moderated by Ely Perez, Engagement Marketing Manager for Capstrat, focused on best practices for companies in the Triangle region and across North Carolina to reach the Hispanic and African American communities. The panel of speakers included:
  • Blaire Borthayre, president of Hispanic Marketing Resources
  • Jose Cusicanqui, Raleigh/Durham Editor for Qué Pasa, North Carolina’s most widely read Spanish-language newspaper
  • Cash Michaels, chief reporter/photographer and columnist for The Carolinian, a twice-weekly African American newspaper.

    L-R: Cash Michaels, Blaire Borthayre, Jose Cusicanqui, Ely Perez

 

Among the insights brought by the panelists:

 

Blaire Borthayre:
  • Not all Hispanics are short and brown.
  • Know thy customer and find commonalities with your audience. Tough market to differentiate.
  • All buying decisions are based on who they trust.
  • Know the culture, not just the language.
  • What marketers need to ask themselves: How long has their audience been in the US? There are 4 different segments.
Segment 1: 5 years or less; they get all their info from Spanish media; still living in their own culture.
Segment 2: 5-10 years; at home they speak Spanish; some English outside of the home; understand pieces of info; more internet friendly.
Segment 3: 10+ years; internet friendly; assimilated; served through English media.
Segment 4: US Born Hispanics; only 35% speak Spanish.

 

Jose Cusicanqui:
  • Qué Pasa is the only NC newspaper reaching Hispanics.
  • Qué Pasa has 67,000 readers every week.
  • Hispanics will have $18 billion buying power by 2010.
  • Each Hispanic culture is very different. Know the culture of the group you are trying to reach.

 

Cash Michaels:
  • The Carolinian is a family owned business.
  • African Americans are a very loyal consumer base.
  • African Americans primarily have church-based communities that they care a lot about.
  • When pitching a story to Cash, be mindful of what is going on in the news: e.g., April is election time.
  • Get Cash’s attention by sending a video. Create your own documentary.
  • The rules for reaching African Americans are constantly changing.
Don’t forget to look for Business Wire events in your own area, as well as register for our free webinars on PR, IR, SEO, monitoring and more.

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