ABOVE: Jeffrey L. Boney
Photos By Vicky Pink
For the second year in a row, the Forward Times was a huge winner at the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) 43rd Annual Convention & Career Fair this past week in Detroit, Michigan.
At the Salute to Excellence (STE) Awards event, NABJ gave awards in more than 100 categories across six segments including digital media, magazine, newspaper, photojournalism, television, and radio at the STE gala. NABJ recognized journalism that best covered the Black experience or addressed issues affecting the worldwide Black community during 2017. The competition was open to all media organizations and individuals involved in print, broadcast and/or online journalism media.
Forward Times Associate Editor Jeffrey L. Boney was named a finalist in two new categories for the NABJ Salute to Excellence Awards – for his Business article entitled Honoring A Trailblazing Woman in the Area of STEM: Dr. Reagan Flowers, and for his News: Single Story article entitled Hurricane Heartache: This is What 15 Trillion Gallons of Water Looks Like. Boney, who was up against several national mainstream publications, came away victorious with an honor for Best Business feature story, which highlighted the outstanding work that Dr. Reagan Flowers is doing in the area of S.T.E.M.
“I am so honored to be recognized amongst my peers across the country, as being considered one of the nation’s best journalists,” said Boney. “Telling stories, reporting the news and providing information to our community is an extremely important responsibility that I have been entrusted with. I plan to continue allowing God to use my pen to be a voice for those who need their stories told.”
This was the second time the Forward Times was nominated for the NABJ Salute to Excellence Awards.
Last year, the Forward Times was selected as a finalist in four categories – Art & Design: Page Design, News: Single Story, Specialty and Sports. The national multimedia powerhouse came away with three awards out of the four categories, receiving an honor in the area of Art & Design: Page Design for the Yes He Did Special Edition highlighting President Barack Obama’s historic two-term presidency.
Jemele Hill was also honored as the 2018 Journalist of the Year at the Salute to Excellence Awards. The annual award recognizes a Black journalist who has amassed a distinguished body of work with extraordinary depth, scope and significance to the people of the African Diaspora.
The 2018 NABJ Annual Convention & Career Fair, which was held from August 1-5, is the premier venue for journalism education, career development and networking opportunity that draws leaders in journalism, media, technology, business, arts and entertainment. Over 3,000 of the nation’s top journalists, media executives, public relations professionals and students gathered in The Motor City for the annual event. The NABJ Career Fair draws hundreds of recruiters from the top media companies and journalism schools from across the country and around the world.
Countless headline makers, innovators, and industry leaders in politics, media, journalism, and film have attended NABJ Conventions. Sen. Barack Obama, President George W. Bush, President Bill Clinton, Vice Presidents Al Gore and Joseph Biden, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, RNC Chairmen Michael Steele and Reince Priebus, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington, Bishop T. D. Jakes, and the Rev. Al Sharpton all have shared their wisdom and insight with our members.
This year, actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry served as a presenter at the NABJ Convention and delivered a powerful and inspirational master class focused on entrepreneurship and branding, followed by a Q&A session with the audience. Perry shared his life’s journey and discussed many of the challenges he faced on his path. Before delivering his life-changing speech, Perry played a powerful video that chronicled his road to success, which includes showing him buying the property that now houses his own studio.
“You need emotional tolerance and high-risk endurance if you want to accomplish your goals,” said Perry. “You have to stay focused and keep going no matter what, because there are people who are tied to your destiny and you can’t quit.”
Perry referenced the biblical scripture in Psalm 23:5, as he challenged attendees to build their own table versus always trying to sit at someone else’s table.
“If you sit at someone else’s table, they will tell you when and what to eat,” said Perry. “If you build your own table, nobody can tell you when and what to eat, because you are in control. You can do it!”
Perry talked about overcoming criticism and adversity, as he talked about the harsh criticism he received from his fellow colleague in the entertainment industry, Spike Lee.
“When you receive criticism, find the truth in it,” said Perry.
The NABJ Convention also featured an outstanding Newsmaker Plenary called #NABJTech: Journalism Driven by Technology and Innovation, which was a TED-style talk on tech, VR and augmented reality within news, where leading voices discussed the platforms and tactics used to amplify innovation and propel the future of media. Featured speakers included NABJ Vice President-Digital Roland S. Martin, Retha Hill of Arizona State University and DNC chairman Tom Perez, who discussed how the Democratic Party is parlaying technology and social media to reach voters and the Black electorate.
Attendees at the NABJ Convention also heard from gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams on her historic journey and attorney Benjamin Crump on litigating cases of Black men killed by police and the social impact. As well, an esteemed group of panelists participated in a conversation on taking up the social justice mantle in King’s legacy, as NABJ highlighted the 50th anniversary of the Kerner Commission and the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., by bringing together thought leaders in civil rights to compare and contrast past and present day efforts while amplifying King’s message of hope, unity, equity, and civil rights.
To close out the NABJ Convention, the NABJ Gospel Brunch Powered by Motown Gospel provided attendees with a stellar event featuring legendary and notable Gospel artists, with featured performances by Vickie Winans, Erica Campbell of Get Up! Mornings who served as the emcee, along with the Houston area’s own Brian Courtney Wilson and Lexi.