This article was originally written for [THE CHARGER BLOG] (https://www.newhaven.edu/news/blog/2018/communication-major-reflects-on-first-national-association-of-black-journalists-conference.phpby by Khaaliq Crowder). It has been given minor edits before re-posting.
Earlier this month, I attended my first National Association of Black Journalists conference in Detroit, Michigan. If I had to use three adjectives to describe my experience at the NABJ convention, it would be rewarding, overwhelming and busy. Many people will tell you that the media industry is very fast-paced, but you never really understand until you see it for yourself. And the conference was indeed a reminder of that.
At the advice of a family friend who knows my passion for journalism, I joined NABJ as a student member back in December and later joined the New York City and Southern New England chapters of the 43-year old organization. One of the biggest reasons I decided to invest in attending the NABJ conference was because of the endless networking, the career fair, and workshops that took place every day, giving me many opportunities to polish my skills and to learn about the current state of blacks in the media.
During the five-day convention, I was able to meet professionals (some for the second and third time) who work at some of the biggest media companies out there, including Buzzfeed, NBC Universal, The Root, VIBE Magazine and Essence. I also got a chance to learn from celebrities such as Tyler Perry, Chance the Rapper, Tichina Arnold and DeVon Franklin, who all hosted master classes and workshops.
“If you aspire to go into the media industry (news, music, entertainment), it takes more than high grades. It’s also about who you know…” Khaaliq Crowder ’19
Most importantly, I got to spend with friends and connections I formed through the NABJ GroupMe chat – which was started by our national student representative for students (and recent graduates) – that included NABJ members from all over the country.
Before we all meet each other in person in Detroit, I was already introduced to their witty language, quick humor, strong work-ethic and nonstop debates on different topics. I knew their hobbies, what they did for work, and their favorite sports team, etc. before I even met them.
To be able to meet other people who look like you and have the same aspiration to be in the media industry is a blessing. We spent the five days touring the city of Detroit (we even ventured into Canada) and exchanged networking and resume advice.
If you aspire to go into the media industry (news, music, entertainment), it takes more than high grades. It’s also about who you know, and networking through events that the NABJ conference is important for future success.