November 1 meeting minutes

Meeting date: 7 -9 p.m. Tuesday Nov. 1

Location: Emerson College

1. Reports

  • Financial update – Zuri Berry
    – Our account is stable and we have money in the bank.
  • Chapter filings – Zuri Berry
    – We need to file our chapter audit with NABJ by Jan. 1.
  • 2017 Region 1 conference: Philadelphia – Zuri Berry
    – This year’s regional conference will take place April 29-30 in Philly. Expect a great program.
  • Meet and greets with: Boston City Councilor Tito Jackson, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh, Boston NAACP president Michael Curry – Gary Washburn
    – We’ve had some great meetings with city leaders and plan to do more. This is an opportunity for us to get to know them, understand their agenda and priorities and introduce them to BABJ. The next meeting will be with NAACP president Michael Curry sometime this month.

2. Chapter calendar

  • Holiday event
    – Mark your calendars! We’ll celebrate the holidays at 8 p.m. on Thursday Dec. 15 at a location to be determined. Options include Darryl’s Corner Bar and Kitchen.
  • Student project/student resume workshop
    – We plan to bring back our successful student resume workshop next year in addition to a workshop focused on helping students prepare for and land a job interview. One workshop is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 26 or Saturday, Jan. 28 tentatively at BU. The other workshop will be Wednesday, March 1.
    – We will reach out to our friends at AAJA New England to partner on the resume workshop as we did last year.
  • Harvard student women’s group
    – There is a Harvard professional women’s group that is interested in having black female journalists speak with their members at one of their monthly meetings. If you are interested reach out to Gary Washburn to get connected.
  • Scholarship program
    – Gary Washburn is looking into creating a BABJ scholarship program for students.
  • Upcoming chapter deadlines
    – Paperwork with the state is due annually Nov. 1 and has been filed.
    – Chapter audit for NABJ due: Jan. 1

3. BABJ elections

  • Schedule
    – It’s time to pass on the torch. BABJ was restarted by the current executive board a few years ago. And it’s past due for us to put new leadership in place. So, we will hold elections next year (yay, democracy!).
    – Here’s the plan:

    • The executive board will review the chapter bylaws to make any necessary tweaks/edits from when the chapter was restarted. The board will do this by the end of this year.
    • At our February chapter meeting, the executive board will present the bylaws to the chapter for discussion. At that point we will set a date for the election. The board will also send out descriptions of each position.
    • We will then hold elections (likely in April).

    – Some things to think about:

    • Should we restructure BABJ? Does the current model work? What positions do we actually need?
    • How should we conduct elections? In person? Online? Michelle Johnson has volunteered to help set up an online voting system.

4. Adjournment & Announcements

  • Questions, concerns and feedback
    – What do students want from BABJ?
    Emerson students said they want help with structuring and organizing their chapter. There was discussion about the official status of the Emerson NABJ chapter. There have been talks about creating a regional or citywide student chapter of NABJ with all the local colleges & universities. It sounds like there is a lot of interest in doing this. So, we need to reach out to Region 1 Director Johann Calhoun, who has been working on this, to find out about the process for doing that.

    – Idea: We should do a day conference for Boston. Or perhaps a New England Day conference where we partner with the Southern New England Association of Black Journalists (SNEABJ). Crystal Haynes suggested we charge for this event (even just $10) so that it could be a fundraiser.

    – Idea: A BABJ awards ceremony to acknowledge the achievements of chapter members. This could also be a fundraiser. We could make this a fancy affair and sell tickets or maybe get some companies to buy tables.

    – Michelle Johnson shared with the group the long history of BABJ. She has pulled up a lot of old documents and memorabilia going back decades that she is looking to store somewhere. We should discuss further how we want to preserve the chapter’s history.

    – Michelle Johnson is also one of a handful of official Google trainers in the country. She has offered to do a Google tools workshop for the chapter. This could be its own chapter event or part of a day conference if we decide to do that. We would need to contact SPJ to set up the training.

    – Astead Herndon asked if there are ways BABJ can support and mentor fellow journalists, particularly those who are early in their careers. This led to a discussion about how we can better welcome people who are new Boston and support fellow members. The takeaway here was that everyone — not just students — needs mentoring and professional support at different stages of their career. Some ideas:

    • Create a BABJ committee for mentoring and onboarding to come up with ideas, such as creating a “Getting Started in Boston” guide. (Paula Bouknight and A. Sherrod Blakely could be great resources for this as they already do a lot of this on their own.)
    • Hold regular social events so the chapter can hangout. (Perhaps monthly drinks/food)

5. Next steps and To Dos:

  • Set up holiday party at Darryl’s Corner (Dec. 15)
  • Develop ideas for scholarship program (Gary Washburn)
  • Circle back to students to discuss student chapter structure (Zuri Berry)
  • Finalize dates for student workshops (reach out to AAJA to partner)
  • Review bylaws and bring changes to chapter to vote in February (executive board)
  • Day conference (partner with SNEABJ)
  • Create mentoring and onboarding committee
  • Set up Google training session (connect with SPJ)
  • Create Twitter list of BABJ members (Zeninjor Enwemeka)