#NABJNAHJ returns in person, first time in 3 years
By Jordan D. Brown and Kiara Smith with SGJC Student News Network
LAS VEGAS – Energies were high Wednesday morning as hundreds of journalists gathered for the first in-person National Association of Black and Hispanic Journalists conference in three years.
NABJ and NAHJ combined its conferences this year in Las Vegas to provide a multitude of journalism resources to the nation’s top journalists of color.
The five-day convention opened Wednesday with several dozen workshops, a career fair, and career coaching.
Select NABJ student members have the opportunity to report on local projects while attending the conference.
Zakiya Jennings, a senior multimedia journalism student at Morgan State University, shared more of her experience as a producer of the student projects.
“I'm also covering two stories, the 2022 NABJ elections and sex trafficking in the area. I've just had all three of my interviews today. I'm working on getting our story together,” Jennings said.
This year was the first in-person conference for many attendees, especially college students and recent graduates.
Tamia Fowlkes, NABJ student representative, said she was excited to attend the convention in person: “It feels so amazing to be here at my first [in person] NABJ conference. I feel like I've been waiting for this day very patiently for the last couple months. I'm super energized by being around people.”
Fowlkes attended last year’s virtual NABJ conference, but this week looks forward to connecting with other journalists in person.
“I think networking is so fun in this industry, because everybody is so smart and they're learning things all the time that they can inform you about,” Fowlkes said. “I'm excited to just be in spaces where I can meet people and ask them questions,”
Athena Snyder, program manager for university recruiting at Yahoo, is experiencing her first in-person convention as an exhibitor. Her previous convention experience was virtual. In anticipation for the convention this year, she said she felt much different:
“What I think is really wonderful about virtual is that it's a great opportunity for others to be able to wake up, jump up on a computer and be able to engage, but I think for me what I love about in person is that it is just so immersive and the connections that you make while being networked and in a mentorship space.”
Tonia Brown said being surrounded by journalists who looked like herself at NABJ was a great experience - a new one.
“In my first station, I was the first black meteorologist there,” she said. “So now I have the opportunity to be in a room full of journalists that look like me. Seeing them in person is a big experience in itself. Also the chance to network with individuals that are doing amazing things is a blessing.”
Brown recently graduated from Syracuse University with a master’s in broadcast digital journalism. She expects to connect with other journalists and employers throughout the conference.
Hundreds of media companies and journalism schools will be present as the conference continues to recruit and network with upcoming journalists.
“I'm excited to have conversations with students and candidates, but then also to be able to learn from them what they’re looking for in future roles,” Snyder said.
Over 40 journalism sessions took place on Wednesday, and more will come with special guests: CNN political analyst and Morgan State alumna April Ryan, Morgan State journalism professors Wayne Dawkins and E.R. Shipp, and NBC correspondent Shaquille Brewster.