NABJ Emphasizes the Role of Black Press After Affirmative Action Ruling

Image via Alabama News Center


By: Ryann Phillips, Contributing Writer 


Following the end of race-conscious college admissions, thousands of Black journalists have been forced to figure out how to cover the topic while keeping their jobs. Subsequently, the proper response to the affirmative action ruling was a pressing topic at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) Convention. 


The NABJ Convention was held from June 2-6. The five-day convention was held in Birmingham, Alabama where organizations like the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), The Thurgood Marshall Fund (TMF), and NBCU Academy gathered to educate journalists amidst these decisions. 


During the conference, NABJ held sessions regarding the matter. Implications for Black higher education, ramifications for Black journalists, and how Black journalists should discuss this topic overall were some of the issues discussed.


One prominent question throughout the weekend was if renowned organizations like the UNCF would take legal action following the Supreme Court’s ruling.


“By any means necessary,” said Dr. Michael L. Lomax, the president of the UNCF. 


This statement was well received by an applauding audience filled with historical Black college students and individuals working in higher education. 


Not only was pressure put on higher education institutions to respond to this decision, top news networks also have had to make arrangements regarding their diversity, equity, and inclusion procedures. Most recently, NBCUniversal has held workshops to enhance the skills of journalists of color at not only the NABJ conference, but also at the National Association of Hispanic Journalists conference held in July. 


The Maroon Tiger spoke with Omnika Thompson, executive editor at NBCUniversal, who works closely with their diversity, equity, and inclusion programs. 


“Never has our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion been stronger. This decision is not going to deter that. In fact, it is going to make us work harder than ever to make sure that our newsrooms reflect the America that we live in and the world that we live in,” Thompson said. 


CNN and ABC News were other networks that held workshops to enhance the skills of Black journalists at the NABJ conference. 


Beyond support from major institutions, Black journalists were also charged to action at the NABJ conference by respected journalist, known as “The Voice of Black America,” Roland Martin. 


“On the media side, we have got to stop allowing editors and reporters to say ‘voters feel this way’ when you really mean ‘white voters’,” Martin said. 


The Maroon Tiger will continue to follow new developments and keep you updated as decisions are made regarding the Supreme Court’s recent reversal of race-based decisions. 


To learn more about the Supreme Court’s initial decision, click here


Copy Edited by: Auzzy Byrdsell, Editor in Chief