Young Journalist Unite At Northwestern NABJ Summit

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Photo By M. Parham

Over the past years, the National Association of Black Journalists, NABJ for short, has had many excellent conventions, workshops and summits for journalists at every stage in the industry. This year’s recent summit at Northwestern University was no exception.

True Star’s Morgan Park editorial team joined college students from University of Illinois, Northern Illinois University, Indiana University, Michigan State University and Marquette University on the Northwestern campus to get a better understanding of what it takes to have a career in journalism. Sierra Boone, the current president of NABJ-Northwestern, and her fellow team of student journalists, put together a summit filled with a variety of different workshops to help young African-American journalists get ahead. Some of these workshops dealt with things like documenting your story, sports reporting, finding your dream job, entertainment writing, going into marketing, and learning how to use the Adobe program to express yourself creatively.

Charles Whitaker, a journalism professor at Northwestern and a faculty adviser for the NABJ student chapter, stated, “Periodically, student chapters of NABJ hold these conferences to bring other chapters around the region together and hold workshops and panels that will enable students to sharpen their skills.” Whitaker has been affiliated with the NABJ team for 30 years and has been the faculty advisor for the Northwestern’s student chapter for 14 years.

Boone, Whitaker, and the whole Northwestern NABJ team put their all into this year’s event. Boone said that she and her committee had been planning the three-day summit since June of 2015. Boone stated, “This event is mainly for the African-American journalists because sometimes you don’t have the best reputation of Black people or Black communities. So it takes the people in these communities to say I’m going to tell the story the way I want.”

“Controlling Your Narrative” was this year’s theme. This title can be interpreted many different ways. According to Boone, the reason behind this title was to give people a chance to say, “this is what’s important to me. How can I report on it?” You could really see and feel the theme in the workshops, which were taught by current professors at Northwestern and former students who have graduated from the university and now have excellent journalism careers.

You can be certain that each year this summit will continue to get better and better.  For more information about the NABJ summits and programs visit

By Maya Jones, Freshman, Morgan Park

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