Baton Rouge, Louisiana (August 2016) – The Baton Rouge Area Association of Black Journalists (BRAABJ) was recently awarded the National Association of Black Journalists’ (NABJ) Professional Chapter of the Year award. The award was presented by NABJ President Sarah Glover at the NABJ/NAHJ Convention in Washington, D.C. on Aug. 3.
The NABJ Chapter of the Year Award is presented to a professional affiliate chapter for its accomplishments during the eligibility period. The criteria includes, but is not limited to the number of new members who have joined the chapter and NABJ, the chapter's community activities and programs and the number and size of scholarships awarded by the chapter.
"Local chapters are the backbone of NABJ and help keep its mission alive. The chapter's talented members form a vital fellowship for black journalists across the country," said NABJ President Sarah Glover. "Local chapters help working journalists identify allies and advocates who live and work in the same market, formulating an indispensable network."
“I am so proud of our chapter members who have all helped contribute to this award,” said BRAABJ Immediate Past President Michelle McCalope who accepted the award on the organization’s behalf. “And personally as president and founder of BRAABJ for the past four years, it’s one of my proudest moments. BRAABJ has done alot in its short history and I know we’ve impacted the community. I’m looking forward to the organization continuing its legacy. “
Statement from NABJ as to why Baton Rouge Area Association of Black Journalists was nominated and received the award: “The Baton Rouge Area Association of Black Journalists (BRAABJ) has worked tirelessly to ensure that both local journalists and the community at large are engaged in an ongoing basis. The chapter hosted a breakfast meeting with New York Times Executive Editor Dean Baquet, the first African-American to hold that position. There was also a very successful "Secrets to Accessing the Media" workshop, designed to help nonprofits and small business owners be successful in getting their events covered by the press, learn how to write a news release and how to conduct themselves during an interview. The event has drawn more than 70 people each year. To engage students, there was a mentoring workshop with students from both Southern University and Louisiana State University. The community has also turned out in force for the chapter's annual scholarship luncheon in April, where they honored pioneering journalists and raised money for student scholarships. This year they raised nearly $14,000.”
BRAABJ was founded in 2012. Its mission is to support journalists of color and mentor and provide scholarships to aspiring student journalists and promote diversity in our newsrooms. It is an affiliate of the NABJ.