The Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists (CAABJ) is an affiliate chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), a nonprofit organization focused on establishing strong ties among African-Americans working in the media and expanding and balancing the media's coverage of the African-American community and experience.

November 15, 2005

CAABJ Board of Directors candidates

Three individuals have put their names in the running for the CAABJ Board of Directors. You'll hear from them at our next meeting, set for 11 a.m. Saturday (Nov. 19).

President: April Bethea, The Charlotte Observer
Vice-President: Melody Freeman, WCNC-TV; Lena Warmack, The Charlotte Observer

We will take nominations from the floor from people interested in the following positions: treasurer, secretary and parliamentarian.
Read the post "It's Election Time" for descriptions of these positions.

In the meantime, click on the link below to read more from our candidates.

The candidates e-mailed these statements to .

April Bethea, reporter
The Charlotte Observer

Let's face it: our industry is at a crossroads, and all of our companies are looking for different ways to get news to the greatest number of people. But we should not let people forget that having diverse staffs, and giving them the resources they need to improve their skills are two of the surest ways we can provide news that accurately portrays what it is happening in our communities.

I am running for president of the Charlotte Area Association of Black Journalists because I want this chapter to have a voice in shaping how our region delivers the news. We need to push for recruiting and retaining more black journalists on our staffs and in management positions. And we must raise our hands when we think there's not enough news correctly depicting residents in our areas.

It's not going to be an easy task. Our chapter's first priority clearly has to be recruiting a strong group of members who are willing to volunteer their time and energy to organize workshops, or serve as mentors to students, or plan social events for us to network with each other.

I'd like to use my experience as a five-year member of NABJ and a leader in my college chapter to help return CAABJ to the model status we held several years ago. Doing so will make sure this region -- despite whatever changes our companies make -- continues to offer quality news options.


(1) Melody Freeman
5 p.m. Producer - WCNC-TV

I want your vote for the position of Vice President of CAABJ. In the past few meetings I have heard suggestions that broadcast journalists have not played critical roles in this organization. I want to change that. I am excited about the opportunity this organization has to make a difference in this community. The culture of Charlotte is changing. We can help drive that change. Changes in stereotypes. Changes in news coverage. Changes in the futures of our young people. These goals can be realized through programs we put in place that strengthen our own skills as journalists and programs that strengthen our future leaders and our community.

(2) Lena Warmack
Reporter, The Charlotte Observer

Martin Luther King Jr. reasoned that the most powerful weapon people of color had during segregation was to exercise the full extent of their citizenship. Black journalists can still use this advice today in their newsrooms. Our revamped chapter must empower black journalists to become vocal newsroom leaders. Leaders not merely by job title, but by action and advocacy. We must advocate for more than our self interests, but the interests of readers, neglected neighborhoods and youth aspiring to enter our profession.

NABJ scholarships, training and support through college helped steer me into a print journalism career. As an active member of NABJ, I took advantage of several training programs for young reporters including a business workshop sponsored by the organization and Bloomberg. I am running
for CAABJ vice president because I want to give back and help our chapter flourish. I will work closely with members to develop a firm vision for our future and create opportunities for journalists to have active roles in our relaunch. I also want to create programs to offer workshops for journalists,
as well as training programs and mentorship for aspiring high school and college students.

Thank you for your consideration.

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