NABJ Announces 2021 Convention and Awards Chairs
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With the theme of “Navigating a Digital World – United by Mission, Driven by Purpose,” the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Annual Convention & Career Fair will return as a virtual gathering this year and be held August 18-21, 2021.
Today, President Dorothy Tucker announced the following chairs who will work, in their respective capacities, on #NABJ21 programming that will bring this year’s theme to life. In keeping with her goal to amplify the diverse talents and experiences of our members, President Tucker has asked some new and familiar faces to bring their unique perspectives to this year’s events.
Registration for the convention will be announced in the coming weeks. For event updates, bookmark this link.
Tucker also announced the chairs of the 2021 #NABJAwards. The Salute to Excellence, Special Honors and Hall of Fame awards event will be held at a later date this year and details are forthcoming. Nominations can be submitted here until April 26.
Convention Chairs: Kay Angrum and Isiah Carey
Kay Angrum is a native New Yorker who joined NBC 4 New York in 2019 as a digital reporter. Angrum is the host of “Listen Up,” NBC 4 New York’s award-winning Instagram digital newscast, which delivers a quick, two-minute overview of news and weather along with a special New York Live segment filled with the latest entertainment, pop culture and lifestyle news. In 2020, the Local Media Association awarded “Listen Up” with the Local Media Digital Innovation Award for Best Social Media Strategy. She also hosts WNBC’s daily news and lifestyle cut-ins on the NBC LX network under the brand “LX News New York.”
Isiah Carey is a two-time Emmy award-winning journalist who hosts “The Isiah Factor: Uncensored” weeknights at 10:30 p.m. based out of KRIV-TV, a FOX-owned and operated station in Houston. “The Factor” also airs daily on FOX Soul TV. Carey has been telling stories for nearly 30 years across the country. Working in local television as a reporter and anchor in Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Tennessee as well as at BET News and “The Tavis Smiley Show.” His efforts to highlight the plight of the homeless in 2009 earned him a proclamation and his own day from the City of Houston.
“We are thrilled to welcome Kay and Isiah as chairs for this year’s convention,” said President Tucker. “Kay’s background in digital media and her commitment to helping others live out their purpose will play an important role in ensuring our theme is at the center of this year’s offerings. Isiah’s experience with navigating and pivoting in unpredictable situations will be vital to ensuring our event meets the needs of our attendees. He will be a great representative of our Houston family, which is where we would have hosted the convention pre-pandemic.”
Convention Program Chair: Leisa Richardson
Leisa Richardson is executive editor at The State Journal-Register in Springfield, Illinois. The veteran journalist has worked as a reporter, editor and publisher in newsrooms in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, and Northern Virginia. Her work has received awards from the Hoosier State Press Association, Gannett, Indiana Associated Press, and Ohio Associated Press, among others. She was named to the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in May. Richardson is a lifetime member of NABJ, serving on the Board of Directors for two terms and continuing in leadership as chair of the Special Honors committee. She was three times selected chair of the organization’s National Convention. She is a past president of the Indianapolis Association of Black Journalists and was a founding member and past president of the NABJ Cincinnati chapter. She serves on the Board of Directors of the Illinois APME and Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame.
“Leisa is an industry veteran and has played a leading role in several of our most successful conventions,” Tucker said. “We are blessed to have her with us again this year. She is dedicated to ensuring our convention will help to take our attendees to the next level in their careers.”
Student Multimedia Project Chairs: Carol Gantt and Justin Madden
JSHOP (High School Workshop) Chair: Sheryl Kennedy Haydel
Carol Gantt has been in the broadcast media industry for 25 years. Currently, she’s a freelance producer working on various projects. She served as the manager of programming and production for a small independent network for two years and spent 23 years as a producer in local and network newsrooms across the South. Gantt is the immediate past president of the Atlanta Association of Black Journalists and continues to be an active member. Gantt has been a mentor for NABJ’s Student Projects since 2016 and a co-chair since 2018. In 2020, she and her team of mentors successfully executed the first virtual Student Projects.
Justin Madden is the senior editor and general manager of The Sun News & myrtlebeachonline.com in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. He previously worked as a desk editor at The Associated Press in New York and as a reporter in Lexington, Kentucky, Chicago, and Cleveland. Madden, 30, is a native of Los Angeles. He is an “NABJ Baby” and participated in the NABJ Student Multimedia Project in 2012 and 2013, as well as the NABJ Student Short Courses, where he later served as a mentor.
Sheryl Kennedy Haydel, Ph.D., APR is the G. Lee Griffin Distinguished Assistant Professor of Public Relations at Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication. Over her 28-year career, she has worked as a journalist and an award-winning public relations executive. In addition, Haydel serves as a media expert on the use of social media in political and social movements. Twice, she has been awarded the Individual Award of Excellence by the Public Relations Society of America’s New Orleans chapter.
“Carol and Sheryl have lent us their expertise and served with passion for NABJ’s student programs for years. Their industry experiences have made a powerful impact in the lives of future professional journalists and communicators,” said Tucker. “We are proud to also welcome Justin to the student programs leadership team. His experience as both an ‘NABJ Baby’ and reporter will serve as great inspiration for our students.”
Innovation Bubble Chair: Michelle Johnson
Authors Showcase Chair: Alexis Yancey
Michelle Johnson is an associate professor of practice in journalism at Boston University. Johnson is a former editor for The Boston Globe and boston.com. She is a pioneer in digital journalism, as a reporter, editor and educator. As an editor at The Boston Globe, she was part of the team that launched the newspaper online in 1995. At Boston University, in addition to teaching, Johnson oversees the award-winning Boston University News Service, a showcase for work produced by BU’s Journalism students. In 2020, the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism named Johnson a Distinguished Alumni. Johnson served as the first Academic Representative on the NABJ Board from 2015 to 2018. In 2013, Johnson was named NABJ’s Educator of the Year.
Alexis Yancey, president/CEO of Alexis Yancey Productions and creator of PrayerWorksTV.com, is an Emmy-winning former network television news producer. Alexis has produced newsmagazine stories for the CBS News programs, “Sunday Morning,” “Street Stories with Ed Bradley,” “America Tonight” and documentaries for 20th Century with Mike Wallace and PBS affiliate KERA-TV. In her 30-year television news career, she also managed newscasts and staff at Satellite News Channel (SNC), WBZ-TV Boston and WFAA-TV Dallas. She has produced live political debates, live broadcasts, in-depth reports and series, news features, newscasts, news talk shows, public affairs shows, radio stories, and programs. Yancey recently produced the show “Fronteras” for Texas Public Radio, which focuses on issues along the U.S.-Mexico border. She is co-author of “Divorce, Wilderness Peace: A 40 Day Healing Journey,” which helps women and men who are recovering from broken relationships.
“Michelle and Alexis have been mainstays in the success of our conventions,” said Tucker. “We are glad to have them return this year to offer the wealth of knowledge they each possess. Over the years, they respectively have helped many of our members find success in their fields.”
Salute to Excellence Chairs: Greg Morrison and Sia Nyorkor
Greg Morrison is a longtime member of NABJ and has been active at both the local and national levels. He is a founding member of the NABJ Philadelphia chapter and has served as an elected officer with the Atlanta chapter. Additionally, he served as NABJ Treasurer from 2015-2020. His career has focused on broadcasting and cable, working in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Mobile, Alabama, and Atlanta. He is currently CEO of Griotworks LLC, a video production company in Atlanta that produces documentaries and Bumper2Bumpertv.
Sia Nyorkor is an Emmy award-winning journalist who is the weekend anchor and a multimedia reporter at WOIO-TV, the CBS affiliate in Cleveland. Nyorkor sits on the NABJ Board of Directors and serves as the Region II Director. She is also a mentor to young, aspiring journalists. She has chaired NABJ’s award programs and committees for multiple years.
“Not only have Sia and Greg been great contributors to the work of NABJ’s Board, but they each have inspired so many of our members through their work,” said Tucker. “We are grateful to have Sia with us for another year as a Salute to Excellence chair and Greg’s industry insights will play a vital role in our awards selection process.”
Special Honors/Hall of Fame Chairs: Sachelle Saunders and Jamar Younger
Sachelle Saunders is an active NABJ member, currently serving as the vice president of broadcast for the Southeastern Wisconsin Chapter. Saunders is a Rockford, Illinois native who began her career as an anchor and reporter in the small town. She continued her news career in Milwaukee, eventually heading far south to Orlando, Florida where she was an anchor and reporter at the CBS affiliate. During Saunders’ time in Florida, you may have seen her on CNN covering hurricanes at Daytona Beach, or appearances she’s made on CBS Nightly News. Most recently, Saunders has made her way back close to home in Milwaukee once more as morning anchor for a statewide cable news show for Spectrum Networks.
Jamar Younger serves as an editor and adjunct instructor at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Prior to joining the Cronkite School, Younger was the communications coordinator for the Arizona Charter Schools Association. He began his career in Tucson, Arizona, where he spent eight years as a reporter for the Arizona Daily Star, covering education, public safety, county government, and neighborhoods. In addition, Younger is the immediate past president of the Arizona Association of Black Journalists.
“We are excited to have Sachelle and Jamar joining the convention team this year,” said Tucker. “Their respective success in various facets of the industry will be critical to ensuring that NABJ identifies and honors the best and brightest at this year’s awards ceremony.”
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