Getting started in New Orleans


Registration is underway and our members are making their way to New Orleans.


7th Annual Sports Task Force Jam in New Orleans at the House of Blues


Here are the details on the Sports Task Force Jam, a marquee event for the NABJ convention and career fair in New Orleans next week.

The Annual Sports Task Force Scholarship Jam is a special fundraising event. Come out and enjoy music and dancing for a good cause. Proceeds from the party go to benefit NABJ’s Larry Whiteside Scholarship Fund, which provides college scholarships to help aspiring journalists; proceeds also support general funds for NABJ and the Sports Task Force.This event is hosted by New Orleans’ own Michael Smith and Stan Verrett. DJ Limelight and a New Orleans deejay will be spinning.

Date: Friday, June 22, 2012
Time: 10 p.m. to 3 a.m.
LocationHouse of Blues, 225 Decatur Street, New Orleans, LA 70130
Attire: Upscale
Age Requirement: 21 or older

Purchase tickets on NABJ’s website. Here are the prices:

Categories Rates
New NABJ Member – Joined between March 1, 2012 and May 15, 2012
Email New Member Ticket requests to
NABJ Member $20
Non-Member $25
VIP (limited) $100
At the door $50

Sports Task Force programming for 2012 NABJ convention and career fair in New Orleans


Sports Task Force Professional Development Breakfast (7:30 to 9 a.m.)
Powered by ESPN, join the NABJ Sports Task Force for its annual mentorship breakfast, where aspiring journalists are paired with professional mentors from broadcast, print and online newsrooms. Moderator: Michael Smith, ESPN Talent; Presenter: Jemele Hill, ESPN Talent; Featured Speaker: Stan Verrett, ESPN SportsCenter Anchor. Location: NOHR Napoleon Ballroom (3rd Floor).

Interactive Session I (12:15 to 1:30 p.m.)

A “Brand” New You: Cut Through The Media Clutter and Make Your Mark!
Creating your own journalist brand is a must these days, as we all work to differentiate ourselves from the news/blogger crowd. Having your own brand can boost your profile at your current job, lead you to your next job or even help you create your own entrepreneurial Website or blog. This panel will offer tips, tricks, tools and techniques to help you create your own brand and take it to the next level. Presenters: Natalie McNeal, Personal Finance Journalist/Blogger/Speaker; Bomani Jones, Sports Personality, Contributor, and ESPN’s “Around the Horn;” Marcus Osborne, Founder & Podcaster/Blogger, Straight Male Friend; Corynne L. Corbett, Beauty Director, Essence; Benet Wilson, Founder,, Freelance Aviation/Travel, Journalist, Director of Media Relations, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.

Interactive Session II (3:45 to 5 p.m.)

Faces Behind the Lens: The Unseen Sports Jobs
Sports fans are familiar with the well-known, on-air personalities. But most people don’t see the people behind the camera – the producers, directors, editors, talent bookers and publicists calling the shots. This session will feature a group of professionals who will provide an overview of the sports jobs you should know and what it takes to succeed in these positions. Presenters: Rashan Ali, Social Media Correspondent, NBA TV; Galen Gordon, Coordinating Producer, ESPN; Harold Bryant, Executive Producer and Vice President, Production, CBS Sports; Drew Watkins, Creative Director, Turner Sports; Tony Wyllie, Senior Vice President, Communications, Washington Redskins.


Interactive Session III (9 to 10:15 a.m.)

No sports oriented session.

Interactive Session IV (3:30 to 4:45 p.m.)

From the Playing Field to The Press Box
Professional athletes are accustomed to answering – and sometimes dodging – the tough questions. What is it like leaving the game and being on the other side – now being paid to publicly constructively criticize others? This workshop features those who have made the switch. Presenters: LaVar Arrington, Sports Radio Host, WJFK FM, former NFL Player; Jim Rice, Baseball Analyst, Baseball Hall of Fame Inductee; LaChina Robinson, WNBA Analyst, NBA TV; Masai Ujiri, General Manager, Denver Nuggets; Michael Smith, Senior Writer, ESPN.

A Brand New Game: 40 Years since Title IX
Before 1970, women were essentially stonewalled in the sports world, even moreso than in some other facets of society. In 1972, Title IX came along and helped advance women dramatically in the sports arena. In this panel, pioneers and beneficiaries of Title IX discuss the changing landscape as well as the obstacles that remain. Presenters: Lisa Salters, Reporter, E:60, Correspondent, ESPN; Laurel Richie, President, WNBA; Graham Watson, Sports Blogs Editor, Yahoo!; Paula Madison, Owner, Los Angeles Sparks.

Sports Pioneer Awards ceremony (6 to 7:30 p.m.)
Powered by the NFL, Fox Sports, NASCAR, the NBA, and NFL Players Association. Location: Grand Salon B.

Sports Task Force Jam (10 p.m. to 3 a.m.)
The Annual Sports Task Force Scholarship Jam is a special fundraising event. Come out and enjoy music and dancing for a good cause. Proceeds from the party go to benefit NABJ’s Larry Whiteside Scholarship Fund, which provides college scholarships to help aspiring journalists; proceeds also support general funds for NABJ and the Sports Task Force.This event is hosted by New Orleans’ own Michael Smith and Stan Verrett. DJ Limelight and a New  Orleans deejay will be spinning. More on the Sports Task Force Jam.


NABJ Golf tournament (7:30 to 10:15 a.m.)
This year the NABJ Celebrity Golf Tournament will take place in the home of New Orleans’ first PGA tournament and the South’s premier golf destination Lakewood Golf Club. Hosted By: Stan Verrett of ESPN and former professional football player Kordell Stewart. Location: Lakewood Golf Club, 4801 General Degaulle Drive, New Orleans, LA 70131.

Interactive session V (10:15 to 11:30 a.m.)

The Art of the Hustle
This financial seminar for young journalists just starting out is designed to offer a reality check. Graduating is scary, but it’s even scarier when you don’t know the source of your next dollar. Young journalists need to know how to work a side hustle and how to invest early. They also need to know how to budget, how to invest and how to save. This panel targets graduating seniors, unemployed young journalists and recently employed graduates. Presenters: Keith Reed, Senior Editor, ESPN The Magazine; Ashleigh L. Atwell, Student, Georgia State University; Marcus Vanderberg, Yahoo! Sports.

Interactive session VI (11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

New Media, Old Problems
There has been tremendous growth in the blogosphere and at traditional new media sites, such as ESPN, Fox, Yahoo, and NBC-Comcast. Yet despite the vast opportunities, the number of African-American sports journalists in new media remains frighteningly low. The Big Lead and Deadspin have become immensely popular sports pop culture sites, yet neither employs an African-American blogger. Panelists will discuss the lack of diversity and the reasons behind it and the role of content in the lack of diversity. The session also will offer solutions for hiring companies and black journalists. Presenters: Jemele Hill, Columnist/Television Personality,; AJ Daulerio, Editor-in-Chief, Gawker; Bomani Jones, Sports Personality, Contributor, and ESPN’s “Around the Horn;” Don Povia, Creator,; Graham Watson, Blog Contributor, Y! Sports.

NABJ Sports Task Force business meeting (2 to 3 p.m.)
Come meet the members of the Sports Task Force board and find out about what the NABJ Sports task force has been up to the previous year and what’s ahead. Location: Compass.

Sports Task Force party date has been moved

The 2012 NABJ Sports Task Force Scholarship Party will be held on Friday, June 22 at the House of Blues in New Orleans. The move of the party from Thursday to Friday by NABJ president Gregory Lee was to give our membership covering the NBA Finals a chance to attend. A potential Game 5 of the NBA Finals is on June 21.

More info coming soon.

Lee elected NABJ President

Greg Lee Jr.

Gregory Lee is congratulated after receiving the news that he has been elected president of NABJ. (Photo by Eric Burse for the NABJ Monitor)

By Naomi E. Prioleau, Faran Foy and Daniella Dorcelus
NABJ Monitor

Greg Lee was elected NABJ president Friday, defeating Deirdre Childress and Charles Robinson.

Lee, who will take the reins from Kathy Y. Times, received 294 votes in Friday’s election. Childress trailed Lee with 168 votes, followed by Robinson who tallied 50 votes.

“I feel very overwhelmed, very privileged and I value everything because NABJ members recognize me,” Lee said after hearing he was elected president.

Lee, who at age 37 becomes the youngest president of the organization, said during a news conference that he was “honored” to be elected as NABJ’s 19th president.

“I’m so very honored and humbled by this awesome responsibility that I have and with my team for the next two years,” he said.

Lee, senior assistant sports editor at the Boston Globe, said his next course of business is to begin planning the 2012 convention in New Orleans and to fill NABJ’s three empty board seats.

Shortly after, Childress posted on her Facebook page that the election results were announced. “I lost the election, but UNITY lives on. I am proud to embrace people of all races.”

She later posted, “And the NABJ president will have to honor the people’s will.”

Childress told an NABJ TV reporter that she thought there were voting irregularities and she plans to call for a recount. She later told the reporter “[expletive] NABJ.”

After hearing the news, Robinson wished Lee well.

“It’s been a great process, challenging each others’ ideas, but we’re all great friends and whoever leads this organization will need the support of everyone,” he said.

Robinson said, “NABJ will survive” and “we should not settle for mediocrity; we should build exceptional journalists, people who are leaders in the newsroom, people who dare to dream.”

Earlier Friday, the candidates were making their last push, handing out literature, shaking hands and urging members to vote before polls closed at 5 p.m.

During his campaign, Lee told the membership he was a good fit because he possessed the ability to challenge NABJ to stay in constant motion through leadership development, meeting membership needs and honoring NABJ’s founding principles.

Lee acknowledged that he will have plenty of challenges ahead as president. In addition to planning the New Orleans convention, Lee will have to work with the executive director and the board to find ways to boost membership and steer NABJ on a progressive path as the industry continues to evolve.

“We have a lot of work to be done and everyone knows based on my past that I work hard for you,” Lee said during a news conference. “I’ll continue to do so, so that you can get the best services possible and make sure that I fight on your behalf with jobs in the industry — but not only jobs but opportunities to become managers and to run newsroom.”

Lee, NABJ’s 19th president and first sports journalist, will also have to deal with NABJ’s decision to withdraw from UNITY: Journalists of Color. It will be up to Lee to lead discussions about reunification with the alliance.

Turnout in this election was low compared with the 2008 election in Tampa, Fla. There were about 515 total votes Friday, according to NABJ election officials. In Tampa, 1,326 votes were cast.

NABJ has 3,500 members with an estimated 2,500 attending the Philadelphia convention.

“I have been a member since 1983,” said NABJ member Kelly Williams. “There are always people who will be disappointed when their favorite candidate doesn’t win. This organization needs strong leaders. The fact that so many seasoned journalists want to lead is something we should all be proud of.”

Sports Task Force Jam update

We want to thank everyone that purchased already. Your ticket will be in an envelope waiting for you when you arrive and you can get it when you pick up your NABJ convention registration.

If you didn’t get tickets yet, you can still purchase them in person at the NABJ convention registration area in the Philadelphia Convention Center. If you’ve missed any of the five previous parties (2006 in Indianapolis, 2007 in Las Vegas, 2008 in Chicago, 2009 in Tampa and 2010 in San Diego), you don’t want to miss this one.

The luxurious Whisper Night Club (1714 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103) is only a 15 minute walk (0.6 miles) from the Marriott Hotel or a 5-minute drive (1 mile). We recommend car pooling (if you are driving) or taking a cab to save your feet for dancing. Party goes from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. and ticket prices can be found right here and check out the party’s Facebook page to see who’s coming through on Thursday, August 4.

Sports Task Force announces Pioneer awards honorees

Thanks to Sports Task Force members Ron Thomas and J.A. Adande, the duo have assembled a first-class lineup for next week’s Pioneer Awards. And thanks to Ricky Clemons’ fund-raising efforts, the bills have been paid. There’s lots of great sports history represented among the honorees, and you’ll probably be introduced to some groundbreakers you hadn’t heard about before.

Here they are, the 2011 honorees:

Donald Hunt – Journalist of the Year – Philadelphia Tribune

Basketball coach John Chaney – a combined 748-309 at Temple and Cheyney State, including 17 NCAA Tournament appearances and a Div. II national championship

Philadelphia Stars of the Negro Leagues – Mahlon Duckett, Harold Gould, Bill “Ready” Cash and the late Stanley “Doc” Glenn

Sonny Hill – Philadelphia’s “Mr. Basketball” – founder of the Sonny Hill Community Involvement League that has provided tutoring and career guidance to far more than 10,000 children, celebrated WIP-AM sports talk show host, played 10 years in the semipro Eastern League when quotas limited the number of black NBA players

Wendell Scott (posthumously) – only black winner of a NASCAR race, focus of a 2011 ESPN documentary, risked his life to pursue his sport

Tina Sloan Green – first African-American female head coach of an intercollegiate lacrosse team, compiled a 207-62-4 record at Temple and won three national championships, co-founder of the Black Women in Sport Foundation

Smokin’ Joe Frazier – heavyweight boxing champ from 1970-73, participated in arguably the fiercest boxing match in history when he lost to Muhammad Ali in the “Thrilla in Manila.”

So reserve time to attend our annual awards ceremony 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 5.

What: Sports Pioneers Awards ceremony
When:5 p.m. Friday Aug. 5 (buffet open at 5 p.m., ceremony starts at 5:30 p.m.)
Where: 119A (Convention center)