Students pursuing careers in journalism have a new scholarship option launched by the Detroit Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, (NABJ).
The organization is celebrating its 40th anniversary with new opportunities and programs for Black journalists in Detroit.
Detroit broadcast legends and media personals gathered at the William V. Banks Broadcast Museum on Thursday afternoon to mark the occasion
"This is a day when we're not only (celebrating) but also, we remember those who have come before us in this chapter," said Detroit NABJ President Vincent McCraw.
Detroit NABJ is a professional organization that offers advocacy and professional development. Individuals are typically in the media industry and through the organization, they can seek job opportunities, mentorship, media training, and more. The group was founded on Dec.1, 1982.
It was an afternoon full of cheers and laughter surrounded by history. Photos of popular Detroit broadcasters and journalists sat on the walls of the museum. Many in attendance, including Mayor Mike Duggan, gave high praise to the organization and journalism in Detroit during a brief press conference.
" As you all know, in many cases, Black journalists have great passion for journalism itself," said Duggan. "But they often times have great passion for the community and that comes through in your work."
Recent retiree or better known as WJBK-TV ( Fox 2) evening and late-night news reporter Huel Perkins was in the building along with other Detroit journalism veterans like Luther Keith, who served as the first African American newsroom editor at The Detroit News.
Nicole Avery Nichols is the editor-in-chief of Chalkbeat, a nonprofit news organization that covers education in Detroit and across the country. She has been a part of Detroit NABJ since 1997 and says that journalism in Detroit is major league
"What I found here in Detroit that is different is such a rich legacy for Black journalists, " Nichols said. "You know, a lot of my peers who grew up here grew up seeing themselves on television, hearing themselves, people that look like them and sound like their mothers, their aunties on radio. ... their uncles. What we have is a tradition and a legacy. This is a very vibrant news market. ...
"What we want to really do this year is honor the legacy of journalists of color, particularly Black journalists that have come through this area."
The chapter plans to host events over the next year in tribute to past Black Detroit journalists.
In the spring of 2023, the organization will host a gala and celebrity roast event to officially celebrate the chapter turning 40 and additionally launch their latest scholarships for students in Detroit, who are pursuing careers in journalism or who are in college studying it. The event will honor Chuck Stokes, an editorial director for WXYZ-TV (Channel 7).
"We're gonna have about 10 scholarships, and all the scholarships will be in various categories, named after people in this category, " said McCaw. "We'll have a couple of scholarships in print, we'll have a couple and broadcast both radio and TV. And we'll have a couple in public relations, named after former members (who) are now deceased members of our chapter."
Starting on Sep.8, the organization will begin selling T-shirts to raise funds for the effort. The T-shirts say, "If you came through, come through" and feature a logo that says "Detroit NABJ 40th." The $50 shirts are aimed at journalists who worked in the Detroit market but who now want to give back.
The William V. Banks Broadcast Museum (WGPR Museum) was the first Black-owned TV station in the nation. Its first TV broadcast aired on Sept. 29, 1975, under "WGPR-TV," which stands for "Where God's Presence Radiates." The station was founded in Detroit by William Banked Venoid. Shows no longer air there but it serves as a museum where visitors can check out exhibits and learn more about the history of broadcasts in the city.
The Detroit Chapter of NABJ is part of the National Association of Black Journalists, a professional organization that connects Black journalists from all of the 50 to resources for jobs and professional development. The organization hosts an annual conference that provides sessions with seasoned professionals, networking opportunities and a job fair with some of the top media companies.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Detroit NABJ chapter celebrates 40 years, launches scholarships