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Journalism: a power-center career.

Journalism--gathering and disseminating news and information--is one of the power centers of America. People often decry de·cry  
tr.v. de·cried, de·cry·ing, de·cries
1. To condemn openly.

2. To depreciate (currency, for example) by official proclamation or by rumor.
 the ways of "the media," but at the same time they count on newspapers, TV news, magazines, and radio to inform, enlighten, and even entertain them. For young Black Americans considering careers, journalism is a viable and important career option.

"If they choose their careers carefully, [journalism] is the place to be," says Sheila Stainback, a TV journalist with CNBC CNBC Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (artificial intelligence)
CNBC Consumer News and Business Channel
CNBC Congress of National Black Churches, Inc.
 in greater New York New York, state, United States
New York, Middle Atlantic state of the United States. It is bordered by Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and the Atlantic Ocean (E), New Jersey and Pennsylvania (S), Lakes Erie and Ontario and the Canadian province of
. "We are an information-rich society and we live in a global village. People need to find out everything going on. Somebody has to deliver" all this information.

And a talented, dedicated workforce of African Americans must be in the mix. Journalism needs smart young people with passion for their work.

In the early years of one's career, journalism does not pay the big bucks of other professions. For example, 1993 journalism graduates on average made $18,200 a year if they started their careers at daily newspapers, according to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 the Dow Jones Dow Jones

the best known of several U.S. indexes of movements in price on Wall Street. [Am. Hist.: Payton, 202]

See : Finance
 Newspaper Fund.

Nevertheless, the news business offers other rewards: freedom of expression and the chance to effect social change.

And salaries routinely double or triple after five to 10 years of experience.

Thirty years ago the so-called mainstream news media were segregated, Whites-only fields. The Civil Rights Movement and urban riots brought change: desegregation desegregation: see integration.  in most places and integration in many.

The 1968 Kerner Commission The Kerner Commission was the popular name given to the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders, chaired by Illinois governor Otto Kerner, Jr. It was also known as riot commission. The 11-member commission was created in July, 1967 by President Lyndon B.  Report, which tried to explain why Black ghettos burst into flames, noted that the news media of that time were "shockingly backward" in their employment and portrayal of Blacks and other Americans of color not of the white race; - commonly meaning, esp. in the United States, of negro blood, pure or mixed.

See also: Color

Many people might argue convincingly that mainstream media remain backward and racist in their practices. But unlike the case more than a generation ago, they now have many more instruments to retool re·tool  
v. re·tooled, re·tool·ing, re·tools
1. To fit out (a factory, for example) with a new set of machinery and tools for making a different product.

 the system.

An undeniable change from 30 years ago is that hundreds of African Americans are majoring in journalism in college.

Paul Delaney is chairman of the University of Alabama The University of Alabama (also known as Alabama, UA or colloquially as 'Bama) is a public coeducational university located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, USA. Founded in 1831, UA is the flagship campus of the University of Alabama System.  Journalism Department. He says that of the 250 journalism majors in the most recent class, 40-16 percent--were Black, and the numbers of Blacks have been i going up for each of the past few years.

Delaney returned to his native state after a 20-something-year career as a newsman at The New York Times. As a journalist-turned-educator, Delaney helps students get jobs all over the country through his contacts with journalists with the power to hire interns and beginning reporters.

Pros like Delaney and Stainback say students must prepare themselves well for this demanding and exciting field.

"Work on writing, thinking, and analyzing," says Delaney. "Read. Stop looking at TV. Reading sharpens your wit, skills, and mind. If you're going to make it, you gotta be aggressive."

Stainback has worked in TV and radio news with CNBC, the NBC-TV cable channel, and in broadcast news in New York, Boston, Chicago, Baltimore, and Miami. But her first job out of college in the early '70s was as a researcher for Newsweek magazine.

Her advice to aspiring journalists: "Really develop your writing skills. Everything else will be taught to you. Everyone should be writing for a campus newspaper.

"[The pros] can teach someone how to be on camera, but they cannot (or don't have the time to) teach a solid reporting and writing style."

Delaney and Stainback have strong ties to the National Association of Black Journalists The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), was founded in 1975 by 44 men and women in Washington, D.C. Headquartered at the University of Maryland, College Park and with 3300 members, it is the largest organization of journalists of color in the nation.  (NABJ NABJ National Association of Black Journalists ). Delaney was one of the 44 members who established NABJ in 1975. Stainback since 1991 has been broadcast vice president of the organization, which has swelled to 3,000 members. NABJ offers scholarships and internships to college students. Also, many of the approximately 50 affiliate NABJ chapter offer scholarships to incoming college students.

Since 1990, Stainback has been one of the leaders of a broadcast journalism Broadcast journalism refers to television news and radio news, as well as the online news outlets of broadcast affiliates.  short course held annually at North Carolina North Carolina, state in the SE United States. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean (E), South Carolina and Georgia (S), Tennessee (W), and Virginia (N). Facts and Figures

Area, 52,586 sq mi (136,198 sq km). Pop.
 A&T State University and Florida A&M University.

"In three days we introduce students to the wide range of jobs in the newsroom--for example, assignment editor, news director--jobs not enough Blacks go after," she says.

"We set up a makeshift newscast, and we knock the wind out of them. We let them know how much they don't know Don't know (DK, DKed)

"Don't know the trade." A Street expression used whenever one party lacks knowledge of a trade or receives conflicting instructions from the other party.
, but show them that this is fun."

Many students from the first sessions First Sessions is an EP by singer Norah Jones, released in 2001. The EP was a limited release of approximately 10.000 copies. Track listing
  1. "Don't Know Why" (Harris) – 3:11
  2. "Come Away with Me" (Jones) – 3:06
 are now working journalists. This year, five of them returned to teach.

Veterans like Delaney and Stainback urge students to sharpen their writing and research skills. But will there be workplaces to use them?

In the spring of 1995 the Houston Post The Houston Post was a newspaper in Houston, Texas, United States that was established on February 19, 1880, by Gail Borden Johnson.

Though that original publication ceased in October 1884, the Houston Post was re-established with the merger of the
 published its last edition: Another big-city newspaper went out of business.

In the past decade, papers in Dallas, Baltimore, and Miami went under. And in about a dozen cities, separate morning and afternoon papers merged into one edition, mergers that meant jobs evaporated evaporated

reduced in volume by evaporation; concentrated to a denser form.
. But no need to fear.

"A lot of kids are disturbed by what they hear," says Delaney. "[People] will read newspapers in the 21st century, only the delivery system will be different."

Newspaper-formatted information is expected to be transmitted on computer screens or possibly tablet-like electronic pads instead of paper.

Says Delaney, "We'll need writers and gatekeepers (editors). With a degree in journalism, you can parlay An open programming interface (API) to a service provider's network (the network operator), developed by the Parlay Group ( By enabling the customer's application to talk directly to the network, it allows the end user to have greater access to network information as well  it into something else (i.e., law, corporate communications Corporate communications is the process of facilitating information and knowledge exchanges with internal and key external groups and individuals that have a direct relationship with an enterprise. , or small business).

"And, community newspapers are going to always be around in small towns."

Stainback says that because of cable TV and independent stations, the broadcast field is growing. Growth means more jobs, but with younger, less experienced (and often non-union) correspondents entering the field, people will make less money in the top assignments. According to Stainback, a veteran big-city TV journalist made about $95,000 to $100,000 about a decade ago; now the pay is about $65.000 to $70,000.

Stainback says the best opportunities for African Americans in television news are "behind the scenes: people in managerial roles and people figuring out the best way to deliver information."

She notes that because of the changing technology, newspapers and television in some cities are doing collaborative news presentations, e.g., (Philadelphia) Inquirer News Tonight; Orange County (California) Cable with the Register newspaper, and New York 1-Cable with Time/ Warner.

In magazine journalism, news-weeklies like TIME and Newsweek hire recent graduates as reporter-researchers, a.k.a. fact checkers, says Sheryl Hilliard Tucker.

Hilliard Tucker was editor of Black Enterprise magazine for about a decade and is now editor of Your Company, a magazine geared to small business owners. She was also a board member with the American Society of Magazine Editors For the engineering society, see .
The American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME) is an industry trade group for editors of magazines published in the United States. The group advocates on behalf of member organizations with respect to First Amendment issues, and serves as a

A recommended career path for magazine journalists, says Hilliard Tucker, is to pursue job opportunities with trade magazines, because beginning journalists learn how to cover "beats" (specific subjects) and learn reporting fundamentals.

"They're narrow," says Hilliard Tucker of magazines like Chemical Engineering Today or Supermarket News, "but it is where a lot of business writers do well with a concentrated introduction to a beat. And the trades have small staffs, and you get to write a lot."

Many writers who excel at Verb 1. excel at - be good at; "She shines at math"
shine at

excel, surpass, stand out - distinguish oneself; "She excelled in math"
 popular magazines gained early experience in the trade press.

Whether the medium is newspapers, magazines, television, radio, or computer networks, news professionals today insist there is a tremendous need for smart, savvy, determined, and dedicated African Americans to serve as journalists well into the next century.

Wayne Dawkins is a newsman with the Courier-Post of Camden/Cherry Hill, New Jersey. He is the author of Black Journalists: The NABJ Story (August Press, NJ, 1993).

For More Information:

Black Women in Publishing 10 East 87th St. New York, NY 10128 Phone: (212) 427-8100

National Association of Black Journalists 1160 Sunrise Valley Dr. Reston, VA 22091 Phone: (703) 648-1270 Fax: (703) 476-6245

National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters 1730 M St. NW, Rm. 412 Washington, DC 20036 Phone: (202) 463-8970

National Newspaper Publishers Association 3200 13th St. NW Washington, DC 20010 Phone: (202) 588-8764 Fax: (202) 588-5029

National Alliance of Third World Journalists P.O. Box 43208 Washington, DC 20010 Phone: (202) 462-8197

National Black Media Coalition 38 New York Ave., NE Washington, DC 20002 Phone: (202) 387-8155

National Conference of Editorial Writers 6223 Executive Blvd. Rockville, MD 20852 Phone: (301) 984-3015

Society of Newspaper Design The Newspaper Center 4075 Reston, VA 22090 Phone: (703) 620-1083

American Society of Magazine Editors 919 Third Ave. 22nd Fl. New York, NY 10022 Phone: (212) 752-0055

Dow Jones Newspaper Fund P.O. Box 300 Princeton, NJ 08543 Phone: (609) 452-2820
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Title Annotation:journalism for African Americans
Author:Dawkins, Wayne
Publication:The Black Collegian
Date:Oct 1, 1995
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