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National Association of Black Journalists
Founded atWashington, D.C.
TypeNonprofit organization
PurposeProfessional association
HeadquartersCollege Park, Maryland
Ken Lemon
Executive Director
Drew Berry

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is a 501(c)3 nonprofit educational and professional organization of African-American journalists, students, and media professionals. Founded in 1975 in Washington, D.C., by 44 journalists, the NABJ's stated purpose is to provide quality programs and services to and advocate on behalf of black journalists.[1] The organization has worked for diversity and to increase the number of minorities in newsrooms across the country.[2]

The association's national office is on the main campus of the University of Maryland, College Park. The current president is Ken Lemon, a reporter for WSOC in Charlotte, North Carolina and the executive director is Drew Berry. The NABJ states that it has a membership of 4,100 and is the largest organization of journalists of color in the United States.[1] The organization was one of the four minority journalist member associations in the UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc. until they seceded from the organization in Spring 2011.

The organization's annual Salute to Excellence Awards honors coverage of African-American people and subjects. Awards given include Journalist of the Year, Emerging Journalist and Lifetime Achievement; past honorees have included Lester Holt, Ed Bradley, Carole Simpson, Byron Pitts, Charlayne Hunter-Gault, Bernard Shaw, Gwen Ifill, and Michele Norris. NABJ also maintains the NABJ Hall of Fame, which is designed to honor black journalists.


The founding meeting of the National Association of Black Journalists was held on December 12, 1975, in Washington, D.C., at the Sheraton Park Hotel (now the Marriott Wardman Park). [3] The interim committee for a National Association of Black Journalists, The Association of Black Journalists in Philadelphia, Chicago Association of Black Journalists, San Francisco Association of Black Journalists and the Washington Association of Black Journalists hosted the founding to create the National Association of Black Journalists based on the work of the Black Perspective, a 1967 group of journalists. [3] The National Association of Black Journalists saw fit its creation because at the time, there were associations of other professions including teachers, lawyers and doctors and believed journalists to be as important and other professions. A 1968 Kerner Commission Report mentioned how small a role black people held in a white media environment.[4] The National Association of Black Journalists was founded to increase the presence of black people in mainstream media and change the misrepresentation of black people.[4] The organization used the constitution of The Association of Black Journalists in Philadelphia.[4] Founded on Friday, December 12, 1975, the organization explicitly stated their excitement to cover the 1976 presidential campaigns. [3]


Annual convention and career fair

NABJ annually holds the nation's largest journalism convention and career fair each summer with plenary sessions and workshops for career and professional development.

Recent speakers have included former U.S. Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Hillary Clinton, and Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade. The convention features hundreds of recruiters and as the largest career fair in journalism, is among the best means of finding a journalism position in the industry.

The NABJ Career Fair encompasses the nations broadcast, print, and online media including recruiters from Gannett Corporation, NBC News, CNN, Bloomberg, Google, ESPN, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and Tribune Company.

NABJ held its first convention in October 1976 at Texas Southern University, which at the time had recently established the second school of communications at a historically black college or university in the nation (the first was the School of Communications at Howard University).

Future locations of the NABJ Convention and Career Fair include Washington, D.C. in 2020; Houston, Texas, in 2021; Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2022; Birmingham, Alabama, in 2023; Chicago, Illinois, in 2024; Cleveland, Ohio, in 2025 and Atlanta, Georgia, in 2026. [5]

In October 2014, CNN withdrew its support for the 2015 Convention and Career Fair after the NABJ criticized the network for its lack of diversity on air and its treatment of black employees.[6][7][8]


The organization also distributes more than $100,000 in scholarships to African-American college journalism students, places 14-16 students at paid internships and sponsors short courses for students at historically black colleges and universities.

Task forces


Twenty-one people have served as president of the National Association of Black Journalists:


During its Annual Convention and Career Fair, NABJ presents various awards at the annual Salute to Excellence Awards Gala.[9][10]

Journalist of the Year

Journalist of Distinction

Legacy Award

Journalism Educator of the Year

Student Journalist of the Year

Community Service Award

Emerging Journalist of the Year

Pat Tobin Media Professional Award

Chuck Stone Lifetime Achievement Award

Percy Qoboza Foreign Journalist

Best Practices

Student Chapter of the Year

Chapter of the Year

President's Award


  1. ^ a b "History/Mission - National Association of Black Journalists".
  2. ^ Rose Creasman Welcome, "Minority Groups Praise BuzzFeed’s Diversity Pledge", American Journalism Review, October 2, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c Dawkins, Wayne (1997). Black Journalists: The NABJ Story. August Press LLC. ISBN 978-0-9635720-4-2.
  4. ^ a b c Jackson, D. (1997). "The outspoken mr. stone": A conversation with chuck stone.The Black Scholar, 27(1), 38-57. ProQuest 229815826
  5. ^ "NABJ Announces 2023-2026 Convention Locations - National Association of Black Journalists". Retrieved 2019-12-10.
  6. ^ Eddie Scarry, "Black Journalists Group ‘Concerned’ About CNN", Mediaite, October 16, 2014.
  7. ^ Richard Prince, "CNN’s Restructuring Results in Several Layoffs for Journalists of Color" Archived 2014-10-20 at the Wayback Machine, The Root, October 16, 2014.
  8. ^ Aprill Turner, "CNN Withdraws Support of the National Association of Black Journalists", NABJ News Release, October 17, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c d Turner, Aprill (April 20, 2011). "NABJ Honors Pioneering Sports Journalist, ESPN's Claire Smith with Annual Legacy Award". National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ). Retrieved 2011-10-21. [T]he association's 36th Annual Convention and Career Fair in Philadelphia, PA, ... [was to be held on] Saturday, August 6, 2011.
  10. ^ a b "Past Special Honors Recipients - National Association of Black Journalists".
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h "NABJ Special Honors Award Winners 2013 - National Association of Black Journalists".
  12. ^ a b c d e f g April Turner, "NABJ Announces 2014 Salute to Excellence Awards Finalists", Friday, May 30, 2014, accessed 11/18/2014.
  13. ^ "NABJ Honors Sports Columnist Bryan Burwell with the 2015 Legacy Award". NABJ.
  14. ^ a b c d e f "NABJ Special Honors Award Winners 2011 - National Association of Black Journalists".
  15. ^ "NABJ Honors Morgan State University's, Allissa Richardson as Journalism Educator of the Year - National Association of Black Journalists".
  16. ^ "If You're Really Into MSNBC and Joy-Ann Reid Right Now You Have Yvette Miley to Thank".
  17. ^ "Veteran Journalist Beverly White Honored".
  18. ^ "Kevin Merida Named NABJ Award Winner".
  19. ^ "West Africa, Issues 3953-3966". West Africa. West Africa Publishing Company Limited: 1356. 1993.
  20. ^ "Roberson Alphonse désigné par l'Association Nationale des Journalistes Noirs (NABJ) lauréat du prix Percy Qoboza". Le Nouvelliste (in French). 2024-05-09.
  21. ^ Roberts, Sam (January 20, 2017). "William A. Hilliard, 89, Pioneering Black Journalist, Dies". The New York Times. Retrieved January 24, 2017.