By Nyesha Stone
The United States had it is first black president in office for eight consecutive years. Former President Barack Obama embedded in the people’s minds that there would be hope. It was hope that things would get better for everyone in America. It is now 2017, Donald Trump is the president, police brutality is still a trending topic and there’s civil unrest in Charlottesville, VA.
There has been talk about war with other countries, but America is already at war with itself. While the world seems to fall apart, the National Association of Black Journalist held their annual convention. Black journalist and black journalism students met in New Orleans at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside hotel for this year’s 2017 convention.
Black joy was the feeling drifting in and out of the hotel. Each floor was filled with professionals from CNN, New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today and many more, and they were ready to change someone’s life with a new job/internship or networking opportunity. Throughout the five-day convention, that began Aug. 9, college students nationwide had the chance to get their shot and hopefully impress the top people in the media industry. Some students were offered jobs on the spot and even invited to meet with the media publications later in the year. Professionals and students were immersed into a journalistic world that was meant for them. From the music to the food, the convention made being happy and black its top priority, although non-people of color were welcomed. No matter the race, ethnicity or gender of a person, NABJ made everyone feel welcomed.
New Orleans has live music on every block, so it only made sense that NABJ had that same experience inside the doors of the Hilton. NABJ’s 2017 Welcome Reception Powered by Walt Disney Parks and Resorts brought everyone into a spacious ballroom to network and dance the night away. The last two hours of the reception was dedicated to black people being black. The top professionals from the biggest media publications lit up the dance floor with the journalism students. It was a time to be free and partake in a moment that most inner-black city kids don’t see—a room full of successful black people in charge.
According to a 2012 NABJ article on black journalists in the industry, there was a decline in black journalists. NABJ reassures its upcoming young black journalists that’s there hope out there for people like them in the industry.
The NABJ’s green CBS badge granted access to panels and workshops to enhance a journalist’s career. The quantity and diversity of the speakers made it so everyone had an event to attend throughout the five days.
A laissez-faire type of convention—to get something out of this convention it had to be strategically worked for. Media publications were there to help, but students and professionals had to make themselves stand out. Some students stood out so much that their interviewer took them out to lunch to further their conversation.
Not everyone received a job offer or internship, but everyone left with something they didn’t come with. Whether that’s a smile or a new connection, NABJ provided many opportunities for its members.