Regional Conference for Black Journalists Comes to Cincinnati This Weekend

The conference is expected to draw more than 300 professional and student journalists from across the Midwest

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click to enlarge Greater Cincinnati Association of Black Journalists President and Conference Co-Chair Alexis Rogers. - Provided
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Greater Cincinnati Association of Black Journalists President and Conference Co-Chair Alexis Rogers.

A regional conference that is expected to draw more than 300 black professional and student journalists kicks off April 26 in Cincinnati.

That conference will explore a key question — why there aren't more people of color in newsrooms even as the country becomes more diverse. But it will also celebrate great black journalists and offer key opportunities for networking, new skills and insights and fun.

The National Association of Black Journalists' Region II conference, titled NABJ in the NATI: Surviving and Thriving, will feature a keynote address by writer and editor Jamilah Lemieux, a question and answer panel facilitated by acclaimed journalist and speaker Soledad O'Brien and a networking session at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center. Attendees can also find sessions on skills involved in developing great stories, talks by journalists from The New York Times, NBC News, The Ida B. Wells Investigative Reporting Society, Google and others, as well as discussions on issues like increasing newsroom diversity.

While a number of journalists of color have contributed outstanding work on national and local levels, people of color, including African-Americans, remain underrepresented in many newsrooms. In 2017, black journalists and other journalists of color accounted for just 16.5 percent of the staff of 661 news organizations that responded to a survey from the American Society of News Editors. That percentage was lower than it was in the years immediately previous. 

That gap also exists at news outlets locally, though the city has a long, rich black history. Cincinnati birthed one of the nation's first black newspapers in 1843 and is today the home of the Cincinnati Herald, a black-owned and operated newspaper founded here in 1955. 

NABJ exists to provide advocacy and career opportunities to black journalists as they navigate the choppy waters of the media industry. 

In today’s news climate, it is important that journalists are constantly refreshed on what it takes to become a mainstay in our industry without experiencing the burnout we’ve seen in newsrooms across America,” said Greater Cincinnati Association of Black Journalists President and Conference Co-Chair Alexis Rogers. 

The conference is sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Association of Black Journalists, the Cincinnati USA Convention and Visitors Bureau, Procter & Gamble, a number of local news outlets and Fifth Third Bank.  

NABJ's Region II includes Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Founded in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest industry group representing black journalists. 

The conference runs from April 26 to April 28 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. You can find more information or register here. 

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