My #NABJBasics Experience
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By Jessica Hayden
I Messenger Media, LLC
On February 14-15, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) hosted the third annual NABJ Presents: The Basics Bootcamp at Paul Quinn College. It was a two-day event that brought in many different students and professionals from around the country. This event was sponsored by Paul Quinn College, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Dallas Morning News and I Messenger Media, LLC.
According to Bootcamp founder and NABJ Vice President-Print Marlon Walker, the purpose of the bootcamp was to learn different skills, network and soak in all the knowledge you can from the many sessions.
This was my first time attending the #NABJBasics Bootcamp and it really opened my eyes to what I needed to know going forward in the industry.
The first workshop I attended was “Radio for the People.” This workshop focused on how the radio world works and the importance of making lasting impressions in any company you may join.
Jamie Goodspeed-Maxie of Radio One was very transparent with the audience about how she was able to climb up the ladder in radio. Also, the panel, which included noted psychologist and former radio host Dr. Brenda Wall and veteran broadcaster and former NABJ Vice President-Broadcast Alexis Yancey, dropped so much wisdom on the younger students and adults in the audience
The next workshop I attended was about fellowships, which are very important for all college students and professionals who’d like to enhance their careers. Fellowships teach you about advancing your skills in all areas, including social media, and you receive a monthly allowance that covers the cost of living. Plus, you receive the opportunity to get mentored by someone who is where you want to be in their career. If you have not looked into fellowships, you should start now so you can advance your skills toward your future career goals.
Next, I went to “Finding Stories,” where I was able to learn some new methods to find different ways to develop and share a story. This event had at least 20 students in the room because most of them were very interested in being in broadcasting. I learned that sometimes it may be hard to get the true facts when people do not want to talk about the subject because of their beliefs or other reasons, but you have to be the one to convince them to trust you by your actions and hopefully overtime they may open up to you. This made so much sense because if people do not see you in the community they will not be able to take you as a truthful source.
Speaking of sources, “Accuracy in the Digital Age,” focused on how to properly use anything you do or receive the right way. Constantly fact checking is very important because of the countless mistakes that you can make if you do not get the information correct. Inaccurate information can put your company in a bad situation, which could get you fired or facing litigation. The panelists talked about what type of sources you can trust versus who you cannot trust. Never post anything you did not receive permission to post because that can be a problem. Take for instance at the “Newsmakers Event “ where NABJ Secretary Cheryl Smith sat down with Judge Tammy Kemp to flush out the entire murder trial of former Dallas Police officer Amber Guyger, who shot business exec Botham Jean (Guyger said she mistakenly mistook his apartment for hers and shot who she thought was an intruder). It was amazing listening to Judge Tammy Kemp really telling her truth versus what people think they saw in her courtroom. That is why it is up to journalists to get the facts and the truth about what they see at any event or on any issue.
The “Write More Powerfully & Strategically for Public Relations in Traditional and Social Media ” workshop panelists talked about making sense of what you may put out into the universe for people to see. Always think about everything you are writing from blogging and press releases to social media posts and deliver your message clearly. They also gave examples about how the public relations business works when it comes to writing style and how to properly use hashtags to help your brand.
If you were ever looking to become an editor or manager of a multimedia business the “Building a Career Toward Editing and Managing” workshop was very key to understanding the business and served as a guide for putting your best foot forward to get there.
Overall, this event was very helpful. Students came from across the state and around the country. NABJ members and leaders were well represented including President Dorothy Tucker, Treasurer Greg Morrison, Media-Related Representative Terry Allen, some of NABJ’s Founders and veteran members. The Bootcamp provided a taste of how amazing the National Association of Black Journalists is and how much the leadership cares about the future generation’s growth.
Make sure, if you are a student or professional, to make an effort to attend the 2020 convention in Washington, D.C., which is being held by NABJ and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists in July. It will be a life-changing experience. Learn more at NABJNAHJConvention.com.