President (and St. Pete Times TV/media critic) Eric Deggans:
The TBABJ and its national parent, the NABJ, were founded on the belief that once journalists of color succeed, they have an obligation to reach back and help those behind them.
So we have banded together to create training programs, job fairs, scholarship programs, cultural awareness training and more, to help the industry diversify itself and cover all communities better. The techniques and networking that we have pioneered winds up helping journalists of all ethnicities, who learn from our example and are welcome to participate in our organizations.
Volunteering with NABJ is just a way of paying back those who came before me and blazed a trail so my journey would be easier. With any luck, I've helped firm up ground so those behind me can have an even easier time.
By the way, according to the website StopBigMedia.com (powered by the media reform group Free Press) racial and ethnic minorities make up 34% population but own only 7.7% of full-power radio stations and 3.15% of TV stations. Something to think about.
If you're interested in getting involved with the TBABJ, now is the time. With the NABJ conference coming to Tampa from August 5th-9th, there's plenty of prep to do this weekend. Contact membership chair Camille C. Spencer at 248.760.7561 or visit the website at: www.tbabj.com