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NABJ's The Monitor

NABJ's The Monitor

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Published by thewriting1
July 30, 2010 2nd edition of The NABJ Monitor
July 30, 2010 2nd edition of The NABJ Monitor

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Published by: thewriting1 on Jul 30, 2010
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CNN anchor Don Lemon and Shirley Sherrod, a former USDA director, participate in an Opening Plenary session Thursday at the ManchesterGrand Hyatt in San Diego. Lemon was one of the moderators for the event. For a complete story, see
Page 5
Residents, city officials arein opposition to library’snew location in San Diego’sEast Village.
Page 9
National Association of Black Journalists Convention
º www.nabjconvention.org º Wednesday, July 28, 2010
National Association of Black Journalists Convention
Friday, July 30, 2010
Journalist Bill Gentile emptieshis bag about using multipleplatforms to tell a story.
Page 11
Michael Steele, chairman of theRepublican National Committee,visits Friday. For breakingcoverage see nabjconvention.org.
Sherrod Joins Plenary
This week’s convention is make or break for the National Association of Black Jour-nalists’ future, officials say.NABJ has met its registration and ho-tel room targets this summer, said DrewBerry, interim executive director, showingsigns that the organization may have founda path out of the worst of a financial stormthat some officials say started nearly a de-cade ago.After closing 2009 with a deficit of $338,901, NABJ officials are doing a lot of  belt-tightening as the organization movesforward. NABJ is operating with a $1.04million budget in 2010.“We need to be lean and mean in San Di-ego; have a good convention, but come outstrong for Philadelphia next year,” saidNABJ treasurer Greg Lee. “We’re doing well but we still have a long way to go.”Board members, along with whoever
Finances, continued on page 3
NABJ and the Black AIDS Institutewill team up for a year-long partnershipfocused on raising HIV/AIDS awarenessin the black community.The goal of the Test 1 Million HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, announcedThursday during a news conference, isto get 1 million African-Americans testedfor HIV/AIDS within tone year.Actress Regina King, spokeswomanfor the initiative, said that with NABJ’shelp, “We can drastically reduce thenumbers.”“I am a mother, and I want my 14year-old son to be aware of what’s goingon,” King said during a news conference.“He’s at the age where sex is knocking atthe door.”Testing will be available at the Black AIDS Institute’s booth in the NABJ jobfair. Results can be obtained in as little asone hour.Phill Wilson, founder and executivedirector of the Black AIDS Institute, saidthis partnership is especially critical tothe campaign’s success.Wilson wants black journalists to usethis initiative to promote stories in allmediums about HIV.“Nobody can save us from us,” Wilsonsaid. “One in five Americans living withHIV don’t know their status.”According to Wilson, 2011 will mark the 35th anniversary of the first diag-nosed case of HIV in America.He says that it didn’t have to happen, but it will continue to happen as long aspeople don’t get tested or know their sta-tus.“A lot of black people find out lessthan a year before they get a full blownAIDS diagnosis,” Wilson said.King volunteered to work with the or-ganization three years ago, and openlytook an HIV test in public and had herresults shared publicly.Her results were negative but she saidit was a scary experience because shehad not taken a test in a while, but themessage she was sending encouragedher to do it.“I’ve had a friend who has been liv-ing with HIV for 19 years now,” Kingsaid. “Those stories need to be broughtto the forefront more often. I think thatso many young people feel like if theyfind out they are HIV positive ... it’s likea death sentence.”King told journalists in the room thatthere is a celebrity in virtually every citywho will publicly stand up and supportthe initiative to get tested.However, she said, journalists don’tneed to wait for celebrities.“(Journalists) should also publicly gettested and broadcast it on the radio, atyour station, or write about it,” Kingsaid. “You’ll save lives. You will literallysave lives.”
Friday, July 30, 2010 •
     #    N    A    B    J    2    0    1    0
7:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
National Golf Tournament
7:30 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
Professional DevelopmentBreakfasts
8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Breakfast: Accessing AunthenticVoices for Your Stories
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Career Fair & Exhibition
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 a.m.
Healthy NABJ Pavilion
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Cyber Café and Membership Lounge
9:00 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
Authors’ Showcase & Bookstore
11:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.
Workshop Session I
11:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Short Course Session(s) A
1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Workshop Sessions II
4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m
. Newsmaker Plenary w/ Michael Steele
8:00 p.m. - 10:00 p.m
. A “Nightastic” Evening with Disney!
King Brings Star Power toHIV Testing Initiative
Fame, Fortuneand Freelance
 Julie Walker is a multi-platform journalist andfreelancer.She has been a free-lance correspondent forAP, CNN, NPR, and othermedia outlets in radio, tele-vision and print.She offers what shewanted people to takeaway from the seminar shehosted, “Fame, Fortune,and Freelance.”* Freelancing is a great wayto stay in the business.* Anyone can do it.* Don’t be afraid to fail.
—Brittney Fennell
Several NABJ founderswere only in their 20’s atthe time of their organiza-tional meeting.A 22-year-old at the time,Allison Davis said she wasmore interested in attend-ing a party that night.She, instead, set her pri-orities, stayed at the meet-ing and became NABJ’sparliamentarian.“It’s probably among mylife’s most treasured ac-complishments.....,” Davissaid Thursday. “It showsthat we can get togetherand build something that’ssustainable.
—Letrell Crittendon
ERIC BURSE/nabjconvention.org
Go to www.nabjconvention.org for morecoverage of the Black AIDS InstituteNews Conference and more conventionphoto coverge.Actress Regina King talks with a convention attendee at the Test One Million Campaign newsconference Thursday during the NABJ@35 convention.
“I am a mother, and I want my 14 year-old sonto be aware of what’s going on.
NABJ has had two confer-ences in California; one in1990 and this year’s. Anitem in Thursday’s edi-tion was not clear.
Friday, July 30, 2010 •
The MoniTor
is tapped to take the reins as thenext executive director, have thearduous task of figuring out howto get the organization back intothe black. The executive directoris responsible for making day-to-day financial decisions. The boardis responsible for signing off on the budget and hiring and firing theexecutive director.Officials have discussed raisingmembership fees and beefing upthe board with business-savvy in-dividuals who are well-connectedand can bring in bigger donations.They say NABJ must continuefinding other streams of revenueso the organization is not so de-pendent on annual conventions –NABJ’s bread and butter.According to a review of docu-ments obtained by The Monitor,the organization’s finances have been particularly bad since the2005 convention in Atlanta, whichleft the organization $255,797 in thered. Things got even worse the fol-lowing year when NABJ reporteda $631,095 deficit, according to taxdocuments.Some of NABJ’s past presidentsattribute money problems to amyriad of issues – from overspend-ing and unanticipated expensesto poor planning and disconnectamong board members and theexecutive director. The ailing econ-omy has siphoned away hundredsof members and that, too, has af-fected the organization.Lee, who was critical of spend-ing during the 2006 convention inIndianapolis, has said there’s beena lack of oversight.“Once their term is up, boardmembers see (financial issues) as‘the next boards’ problem,” Leesaid. “In order for NABJ to thriveonce again, no matter what lead-ership team is in office we have to build on the previous board’s work if they do good work.”
Bg spdg
Since 2005, NABJ’s member-ship has dropped almost 27 per-cent.President Kathy Times sent ane-mail in October 2009, saying theorganization had lost 887 memberssince 2008 -- a $78,525 drop in day-to-day operating dollars.With about 2,820 members ac-cording to most recent figures,NABJ is the largest of the journal-ist-of-color associations. But NABJhas struggled to get members to at-tend. About 2,500 people attendedthe NABJ convention in 2006. Thenumber of attendees dropped thefollowing year to 1,700. NABJ of-ficials expect about 1,600 attendeesat this week’s convention – 323fewer people than last year’s con-vention.That slide in numbers has hadan adverse affect on the organi-zation. For example, NABJ washammered with $150,000 in feesin Tampa last year because it failedto meet hotel reservation require-ments that had been negotiatedyears in advance.Hoping to avoid a similar fatethis year, NABJ renegotiated its ho-tel agreement, slicing the numberof rooms from 6,800 to 2,850.Here was the problem: NABJ’s bylaws require the organizationto book its convention sites fiveyears in advance, not allowing theorganization to factor in dips in theeconomy.During an executive boardmeeting earlier this week, the board voted unanimously to post-pone its selection of a host city forthe 2016 convention until it had aclearer picture of its financial situa-tion and it evaluated its process forplanning conventions.Lee said if NABJ can avoid feesfrom this week’s convention andkeep overall costs down, the orga-nization should be in good shapeentering 2011.“I’m very cautiously optimisticthat we will leave San Diego with-out any bills,” Lee said.
A talsp
Following the 2000 conventionin Phoenix, NABJ faced a deficit af-ter poor turnout. Wayne Dawkins,NABJ historian and a former boardmember, said that hosting a con-vention in the West hurt NABJ because most of its members are inthe East Coast.“Between participating in theUNITY conference on the WestCoast in 1999 and coming back andhaving (the NABJ) convention inPhoenix in 2000, it really put a hurton the finances,” Dawkins said.“The year 2000 is when NABJ wentthrough a tailspin.”Shortly after that convention,then-executive director Toni Sam-uel abruptly announced she wasleaving the organization to accepta new job.Later that year, Tangie New- born was brought in to steer theship.“I inherited an organizationwith a $340,000 deficit,” Newbornsaid. “NABJ’s revenue base heav-ily depended on the annual con-vention for 65 to 70 percent of itsoperating budget. My goals wereto reduce that dependency marginand begin to create new revenuestreams by increasing membershiprecruitment and retention, creatingnew products and services, anddeveloping new educational pro-grams.In the five years Newbornserved as executive director, NABJgrew from about 2,000 to morethan 4,000 members. Fundraisinggoals were set at more than $1 mil-lion annually.“We instituted a plan to builda better budget by employing the‘under promise, over deliver’ phi-losophy. It worked,” Newbornsaid.At the 2005 board meeting,Newborn reported a $45,000 bud-get surplus. Months later, afterfactoring in costs associated withthe Awards Gala and the 30th an-niversary program, NABJ reporteda deficit of 255,797.At the time, Newborn wasreceiving $125,252 in salary and$7,262 in benefits. On March 6,2006, Newborn resigned as execu-tive director.“We made a switch when it became clear a new direction wasneeded,” said Bryan Monroe, whowas NABJ president from 2005-07.“It was a performance issue. Weended up doing what was the rightthing to do for the organization atthe time.”Newborn said she did not leaveon bad terms; it was time to moveon to the next job.Things would get worse afterexpenses created at the Indianapo-lis convention when NABJ’s deficit ballooned to $631,095.Monroe attributed much of thefinancial hardship under his ten-ure to overly optimistic revenueprojections and unanticipated con-vention costs, including fees for notfilling the hotel block.“The issue that often happenedwas that revenue projections werenot met,” Monroe said, adding thatNABJ was hit with fines as high as$100,000 for not filling the prede-termined number of hotel roomsduring his time as president. Mon-roe said he could not rememberwhich years during his presidencyNABJ was charged for failing to fillits hotel block.Lee, currently in his secondterm on the board, said blame for budget problems in 2006 is aboutleadership; not hotel rooms.“The 2006 deficit was a resultof just overspending,” Lee said.“Indianapolis is a great city and agreat town, but expenses shouldn’thave been as high.”
A w dct
Karen Wynn-Freeman wastapped to replace Newborn.Wynn-Freeman earned $93,242plus $10,119 in benefits for her firstnine months as executive director,according to documents obtained by The Monitor.In 2008, Wynn-Freeman’s sal-ary had jumped almost $50,000,including $35,000 more in benefitsthan her predecessor.Barbara Ciara, then the VicePresident for Broadcast, waselected in 2007 to succeed Monroeas the organization’s president atthe Las Vegas convention. Ciararestructured Wynn-Freeman’s con-tract and began looking for waysto bring in money to shore up thedeficit. The Monitor asked for acopy of Wynn-Freeman’s contract, but requests were denied, citingpersonnel reasons.“The industry had been project-ing in an erratic manner,” Ciarasaid. “It’s been difficult for us fi-nancially for at least the last sevenyears.”Ciara attributed much of NABJ’s financial hardship to inef-ficient, unprepared leadership.“There was a lack of account-ability, and just no accounting of certain things (in the budget).”Ciara said.In 2007, NABJ began to bounce back, boasting increases in rev-enue from convention registration,membership dues and program-ming fees. By the end of 2008,NABJ had $69,776 in the bank, ac-cording to tax documents.Ciara said she added newstreams of revenue so NABJ wouldnot have to rely on the annual con-vention.In 2008, NABJ got a major boostfrom the UNITY: Journalists of Color convention in Chicago.“Most of the time, UNITY is asuccessful financial year,” Ciarasaid. “Everyone makes moneyduring UNITY years.”
Tubl  Tampa
Despite making money atUNITY ’08, leaders knew there wasa bleak financial outlook for the2009 convention in Tampa.“In 2008, we made money butwe negotiated an unattainableroom block for Tampa,” Ciara said.The contract signed in 2004with the Tampa Marriott Water-side Hotel and Marina in Tamparequired NABJ to fill 5,669 rooms.The organization came up short by2,341 rooms.“Nobody knew when the con-tract was signed in 2005 that wewould be facing the greatest eco-nomic challenge since the GreatDepression,” Times said in a mes-sage to members in October 2009.“We are not surprised that we didnot meet our contracted room block at the convention.”Lee said NABJ also incurred in-creased cost at the Tampa conven-tion after failing to make budgetcuts in a timely manner. He saida lack of communication among board members allowed the win-dow to close when it was time totrim.“We knew at the conventionthat we had problems,” Lee said.“We were doing well sponsorshipwise, but we didn’t know otherthings.”A decline in membership didn’thelp NABJ’s 2009 financial situa-tion.“We’ve lost over $97,000 inmembership dues over the lastthree years,” Lee said. “We had ahigh of 4,100 (members) in 2005.We’re sitting at just about 3,000members now. People are losingtheir jobs and can no longer affordto attend the conventions, the indi-viduals can’t afford to come, theycan no longer afford their member-ship, and as a result we lose mem- bers.”Convention costs and finescrippled NABJ’s balance sheets,and Lee reported to the board onTuesday that the organizationclosed 2009 with a $338,901 deficit.Wynn-Freeman resigned inDecember 2009. She could not bereached for comment.On the onset of her presidency,
Finances, from page 1Finances, continued on page 5
: $125,252 plus $7,262 in other compensation
: $93,242 plus $10,119 in other compensation
: $172,808 plus $41,230 in other compensation
: $167,623 plus $14,739 in other compensation
Executive Directors and the Presidents
Source: This information was provided by Internal Revenue Services documents
Cyntra Brown / nabjconvention.org
: $30,496 plus $1,276 in other compensation
Condance Pressley
Herbert Lowe, Jr.
Bryan Monroe
Barbara Ciara
Kathy Times
 Tangie Newborn
June 2001 - March 2006
Karen Wynn-Freeman
July 2006 - December 2009
Presidents:Executive Directors:

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