I know summertime just began, but this conference has already been the ultimate highlight of my summer! As a proud member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), I had the opportunity to go down to New Orleans for their annual conference and career fair for June 20-24! Being this was my first convention with NABJ, I just had to tell all of you about my time in the Big Easy.
Founded in 1975, NABJ is an organization and advocate that provides programs and services for African-American journalists, students and media professionals. Every summer in a different city, the association holds the nation’s largest journalism convention filled with 30+ interactive sessions, special guests, panels and help for professional development. The career fair hosts some of the top print and broadcast companies and recruiters, such as NBC/Comcast Universal, Gannett Corporation, CNN, BET News, Google, The Huffington Post and Tribune Company.
When we arrived on Wednesday, I already knew that I WOULD NOT want to leave at the end of the conference. It was great and refreshing to learn and talk with fellow black professionals who are in media and probably had the same career aspirations when they were my age! Ok, so to start it off…opening up the eventful weekend were remarks from former CNN Anchor and BET newcomer, T.J. Holmes, current NABJ President Gregory Lee Jr., who then opened the floor for VP Joe Biden! For it being an election year, it was really an honor to hear Biden speak and how elaborated about how we journalists play a huge role in not just politics, but every industry.
Then, famed and beautiful songstress Melanie Fiona got the house rocking with a great selection of her songs! So sad I missed her singing the majority of, “It Kills Me,” but she has so many hits hearing any of them is still worth it. With all of these well-known guests, I’m sure you can only imagine how the rest of the convention went. Here’s a rundown of the major highlights:
- Rev. Al Sharpton shared a panel with several other top journalists and the relatives of Trayvon Martin (including his parents)
- Special Screening: Won’t Back Down – Starring Viola Davis and Rosie Perez
- The Insider’s, Kevin Frazier, receiving the Legacy Award
- Ruben Studdard and Cupid performing at a Disney Parks reception
- Networking and meeting fellow members at different task forces, such as Digital Journalism, Young Journalists and LGBT
- Moderated panel by T.J. Holmes about African-American voters
- Sports Task Force Scholarship Jam (bummed I missed it, but heard it was legit!)
- CNN Anchor, Soledad O’Brien, presenting a panel about juvenile incarceration
- Special Screenings of: Fox Searchlight’s Beasts of the Southern Wild; TV Land’s Soul Man (with Cedric the Entertainer & Niecy Nash); Spike Lee’s Red Hook Summer; Best Director Award at the Sundance Film Festival for the film Middle of Nowhere; NBC’s Guys with Kids (with Anthony Anderson & Tempest Bledsoe)
- Gospel Brunch
As you can see, from the moment you arrive at the convention there’s non-stop action! From what is up above, the list is incredibly longer because there’s tons of great valuable information to consume! Also, not to mention NOLA is a pretty awesome hub to host a gathering such as this. With Bourbon Street, Café du Monde and the sights of the city at my feet, it was all easy breezy. Just wish I could’ve taken home all the red beans and rice, beignets and hurricanes! C’est la vie
If you or you know someone who would be interested in attending NABJ 2013 in Orlando, I encourage you to get involved in a local chapter in your community and also join NABJ. My experience has been nothing but beneficial and wonderful; the people who I met and networked with are those that I WILL keep in contact with for years to come and will hopefully see at future conventions! CLICK HERE for more info on NABJ and this year’s convention!
Laissez les bons temps rouler en Nouvelle Orléans, best of luck and see you in Orlando July 31- Aug. 4 for NABJ 2013!
See more photos of my trip below in the slideshow!