Northwestern’s National Association of Black Journalists awarded Student Chapter of the Year at annual convention

Drew Gerber, Summer Assistant Editor

The National Association of Black Journalists named Northwestern’s chapter the Student Chapter of the Year at its 40th Annual Convention and Career Fair Wednesday night in Minneapolis.

NU was among three finalists for the award, along with the University of North Texas and the Carolina Association of Black Journalists. In giving the award, NABJ noted the chapter’s efforts in building ties with minority members of the media and with journalism students at the University.

Charles Whitaker, a Medill professor and the chapter’s adviser, said he feels the award validates everything NU’s chapter has done and the work the executive board has done to build up the community, both through connecting with journalists at NU and with those within the national association. Whitaker — who is also a board member at Students Publishing Co., The Daily’s parent organization — said this award will benefit the chapter, showing that it is a place where those in the community can gather.

“I think it is really good momentum,” he said. “These affinity groups often have trouble galvanizing groups and communities … It is not only external motivation, it is internal motivation.”

Also noted was the chapter’s sponsorship of the annual State of the Black Union, in collaboration with For Members Only. This year, students interviewed keynote speaker Sybrina Fulton, the mother of Trayvon Martin, who has been an outspoken advocate against violent crime since her son’s fatal shooting by George Zimmerman in 2012.

Medill junior Sierra Boone, president of the NU chapter; Medill-Bienen senior Thaddeus Tukes, former president; and other members of the NABJ-NU were in attendance to accept the award.

“All three chapters have made extraordinary contributions to NABJ,” Khorri Atkinson, NABJ student representative, said in a news release.

The NABJ Convention and Career Fair is a five-day conference that honors excellence in journalism by black journalists and features discussions on being a minority in the newsroom as well as coverage of the black community.

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