Alcorn State University’s (ASU) Mass Communications students, Jazmin Green, Majesty Ferguson, Ren-Nessa Maulseed, and RaShunda Veals attended the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Regional Conference in Birmingham, Alabama on April 5-6. This 2-day conference was catered to students and media professionals of the NABJ’s Region 3.
The conference’s theme was Code Switching: Reporting The Virtual Truth. Through workshops and seminars, students were able to enhance their skills and knowledge in the field of journalism. On Friday, April 5th, the conference began with registration and many workshops including an IRE Watchdog Workshop, a Coding Session which explained the basis of coding, Mobile Storytelling Hands-On Training which provided ways to visually enhance reporting skills and Trollbusters which was a panel discussion. Friday concluded with an opening reception hosted by Mercedes Benz. Leona Dunn, a Graduating Senior at The University of Tennessee, stated, “This experience has been so amazing. I came here knowing that I needed a job because I graduate in a month and there are so many journalists here that are willing and that want to help me to succeed. I just love this conference because it includes a variety of people of color trying to help you succeed in a business and field where we need a lot of representation.”
On Saturday, April 6th, students were provided with breakfast at the opening session. During the session, NABJ Region 3 Director, Ken Lemon, along with NABJ President Sarah Glover, provided information about the conference as well as motivation and encouragement to begin a day filled with essential information. The morning breakout sessions taught attendants about news lab training, building capital, dating data, and money moves. After morning breakout sessions, attendants were provided lunch during the Region 3 Achiever’s Award Luncheon.
The Luncheon was presented by Title Sponsor Alabama Power and awarded many trailblazers in the field of journalism such as, Sherrel Wheeler Stewart, founder of the Birmingham Association of Black Journalists and Ervin Hester, Sr., the first African American inducted into the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters. The afternoon sessions were hands on sessions that allowed attendants to discuss and enhance techniques used as journalists. The Region 3 conference concluded with a private tour of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham. The closing reception was hosted by The US Virgin Islands where attendants were given the opportunity to network and build lasting relationships with media personnel. The next NABJ National Convention will be held in Miami, Florida in the Fall of 2019.