The National Association of Black Journalists Annual Convention and Career Fair is underway in Tampa, Florida. Several Charlotte members are attending and CAABJ president Jarvis Holliday will be doing recaps of the days' events here online.
Friday felt like a day in which many attendees at the convention were focusing on the future--the future of their careers, the future of our industry, and the future of NABJ. The Career Fair and Exhibit Hall was hopping with traffic for a second executive day. Many journalists were meeting with media companies, some getting one-on-one interviews or critiques of their broadcast tapes. I visited the CNN booth and talked to one of their people about how I would go about being a contributor for CNN.com. That is obviously a competitive position, as are just about every other position in media today, but the advantage of me visiting the Career Fair is that the lady I spoke to told me the process of how to inquire about an online position and gave me the editorial director's name and email address.
I attended two afternoon sessions--one titled "Becoming a Multimedia Journalist" and the other was called "View From the Top Tier: Journalistic Objectivity in the Age of Obama." The latter sparked some interest conversations between the audience and panel, which included Warren Ballentine.
Friday was the last day of voting for the national candidates seeking office for NABJ, so throughout the day I helped Charlotte member and WBTV reporter Dedrick Russell do some last-minute campaigning for his candidacy for vice president of broadcast. All of the candidates were out in full force with their supporters directing people who hadn't yet voted to "Go to room 7." The on-site polls closed at 5 p.m. (as they did online as well). Each of the candidates could select a monitor to be present during the tallying of results. I served as Dedrick's monitor. We were sent into a room with NABJ election officials where the election votes were tallied electronically and the results were announced to us. We were the first to get the results, and they were then formally announced at a 6 p.m. news conference that was being held at the Marriott Waterside next to the convention center.
Unfortunately Dedrick lost the election, and the chosen candidate for NABJ vice president of broadcast was Bob Butler of KCBS Radio in San Francisco. Dedrick ran a great campaign, impressing a lot of people and making Charlotte look good along the way. On behalf of CAABJ, I salute him for his efforts. Kathy Times, an anchor for WDBD-TV in Jackson, Mississippi, was elected as the 18th president of NABJ. She and the other 11 board members chosen will lead the 3,200-member organization for the 2009-11 term. Click here to read more about the election results.
And of course, Friday night meant party time. The Tampa Bay Association of Black Journalists hosted a great party at the Florida Aquarium featuring special guest Tom Joyner and DJ Kid Capri. The place was packed and the music was great (there weren't enough bartenders though). I spotted Joyner heading for the exit around 12:45 p.m. and almost simultaneously the music switched from old school to new school. It was great to party with the people I'd been seeing for the last few days at the convention. The party rolled on until 2 a.m.