Wilbon to receive Lifetime Achievement Award

Michael WilbonWASHINGTON, D.C. –The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) announced at its spring Board of Directors meeting that Michael Wilbon will be honored with the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Wilbon will join other honorees at the Salute to Excellence Awards Gala on August 8, in Tampa.

“Michael is the epitome of the cross-over journalist, and he has achieved that distinction at the highest levels,” said NABJ President Barbara Ciara. “One of far too few black columnists in the United States, Michael connects with sports fans and players like none other while capturing the enduring, challenging and inspiring moments of the game.”

A sports writer for the Washington Post since 1980, and a columnist since 1990 with a column that appears as much as four times per week, Wilbon is one of fewer than 20 black sports columnists at major daily newspapers in America.

In 2001, Wilbon became an original co-host for ESPN’s Pardon the Interruption, a fast paced sports talk show with in-depth debate on various topics between Wilbon and co-host Tony Kornheiser. Now one of ESPN’s most watched shows, Wilbon has excelled in covering nearly every major sporting event in the past three decades for the Post and ESPN. He has also co-written two books with NBA legend Charles Barkley: “I May Be Wrong but I Doubt It,” and “Who’s Afraid of a Large Black Man?”

“Michael is a thought-provoking columnist who still holds onto his foundation of being a print journalist despite being showcased on a variety of electronic platforms,” said NABJ Treasurer Gregory Lee, Jr. “Wilbon not only set the standard with his wide-ranging commentary, but his professionalism and mentorship ranks just as high as the columns that are printed in the/ Washington Post/. Michael is not just a role model for sports journalists, but for the entire profession.”

Wilbon has taken part in the NABJ Sports Task Force mentoring program where he helped guide up-and-coming black sports journalists. Wilbon was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists as its top sports columnist in 2001 and he has been among the top three national sports columnists selected by the Associated Press Sports Editors three times.

CNN’s T.J. Holmes will host the 2009 NABJ Salute to Excellence Awards Gala on August 8, 2009 as part of the NABJ Annual Convention and Career Fair in Tampa, Fla.

The NABJ Convention is the largest gathering of minority journalists in the country.

Salute to Excellence recognizes journalism that best covered the black experience or addressed issues affecting the worldwide black community during 2008. For more information, go to www.nabj.org.


Sports programming at 2009 NABJ Convention and Career Fair in Tampa, Fla.

The National Association of Black Journalist’s Sports Task Force will be coordinating the following workshops at the 2009 NABJ Convention and Career Fair in Tampa, Fla. More updates on STF’s programming and events will be posted here.

For more information on the convention and NABJ, visit NABJ.org.


Extending Your Brand–A Different Kind of Sports Radio
1 – 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 6 | Session Number/Code: 135

In a marketplace of dwindling jobs, your ability to maximize your skills over a whole host of media is crucial for long-term success. Radio continues to be an underdeveloped resource for reporters and writers of color. These professionals will discuss how to develop the unique skills necessary to impact your marketplace and increase your reach in a given area, without devolving into typical “fire the coach,” misogynistic sports talk that is typical in most markets. Non-on-air careers (producer, running boards, etc.) will also be examined.

Ready, Set, Blog!: Taking sports journalism online
3 – 4:30 PM Thursday, Aug. 6 | Session Number/Code: 132

Over the past decade the tools of print journalists in the sports industry have changed from pen and paper to blogs and broadband. With the onslaught of downsizing newspapers and magazines, many sports journalists are transitioning to the brand new world of new media. From the major league sites to powerhouse blogs to official newspaper sites, online journalism is now a mainstay of sports reporting. This panel will explore the spectrum of sports websites – from how they work to how to work for them – and will include a discussion on the next big thing in online sports journalism.

Pros and Cons: Covering the Professional and Personal Lives of Athletes
1:30 – 3 p.m. Friday, Aug. 7 | Session Number/Code: 134

In the age of camera phones, tabloids and blogs, are athletes permitted to have a private life or is that freedom revoked in exchange for their celebrity? What rights to players have to privacy and what rights to writers have for publicity? With so many players getting their name in print for what they do off-the-court, sports superstars have become a mainstay of tabloid fodder. This session will examine the realm of covering the personal and professional lives of athletes and identifying the fine line of tabloid vs. sports journalism.