By C. B. Hanif
AVENTURA, Fla. – What a difference 32 years make.
Ronald Reagan was president when the National Association of Black Journalists last held its annual convention in South Florida.
That 1987 gathering at the Intercontinental Hotel in Miami, was memorable for its day cruise to the Bahamas, and for DeWayne Wickham’s landslide election as the group’s president.
Today, Wickham, one of NABJ’s founders, also is the founding dean and a professor of Journalism at Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communications, whose unprecedented partnership with The Wall Street Journal he announced, along with the Journal’s Editor-in-Chief Matthew Murray, at this year’s convention.
Not only did 4,200 journalists arrive for NABJ’s 2019 Convention and Career Fair hosted by the local NABJ-South Florida Chapter.
Four presidential candidates – Corey Booker, Pete Buttigieg, Bernie Sanders and Bill Well – also made appearances, foreshadowing next year’s meeting in Washington, D.C. There, it’s unlikely any November 2020 candidate will bypass an invitation to address the nation’s largest organization of media professionals of color. Then again, odds are, one candidate will.
Meanwhile, Journalism students from Arated Inlet Grove High School in Riviera Beach, refusing to miss an NABJ Convention in their backyard, traveled to volunteer, learn, meet lifelong mentors and new friends, and capture some of the photos appearing with this story. They are encouraging friends to join them next year in the nation’s capitol.
Speaking of 2020, NABJ also announced a return to joint conventions with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists next year, and at Ceasar’s Palace in Las Vegas in 2022.
Between is NABJ’s return to Houston.
What a difference 32 years make. In 1897, Riviera Beach native Yvette Miley, and her best friend Kim Godwin, were local television producers in West Palm Beach – and soon founding members of the Palm Beach Association of Black Journalists. Today, Miley is senior vice president for NBC News & MSNBC, and Godwin is CBS executive vice president of News, both based in New York.
Another thing that wasn’t happening in 1987 is the NABJ Student Multimedia Project. Founded by longtime NABJ-er Sheila Brooks, the project guides “NABJ Babies” in producing the NABJ Monitor daily convention newspaper, as well as daily NABJ TV newscasts, podcasts and more, under the tutelage of seasoned professionals.
Find all that coverage at nabjmonitor.com/2019. For other information regarding the National Association of Black Journalists, visit nabj.org.
This article originally appeared in the South Florida Times.