The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) at USC, led by two Annenberg students, was named Student Chapter of the Year at the joint NABJ/National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ) convention now underway in Washington, D.C.
Outgoing Vice President, Kay Angrum (B.A. Broadcast and Digital Journalism ‘16), said the win was a culmination of a year’s hard work and dedication.
Angrum recalled that she and outgoing NABJ USC President Jordyn Holman often joked the USC chapter was their “baby because it was something that had taken so much time and effort invested into it.”
“It has been such an exciting past few hours,” Angrum said by phone from D.C. “The award really feels good — it’s kind of a dream come true.”
The USC chapter was formed in 2012, but became inactive when the students involved graduated, Holman (B.A. Print and Digital Journalism ’16) said. In May 2015, she and Angrum decided to bring the chapter back to the USC campus. USC Annenberg professor Erna Smith was instrumental in the first iteration of the chapter as an initial advisor in 2012, according to Holman.
“We wanted to bring NABJ USC back to campus and make it active again. One of the goals we had for NABJ was to win this award and part of that was becoming very good friends with the regional director, making sure we attended conferences and connecting with professors, and also doing a lot of programming on campus,” Holman said.
Holman and her board worked tirelessly with the organization’s 15 members on various events in the past year. Some of those included bringing Bill Whitaker, correspondent from “60 Minutes” to campus to discuss his professional path in journalism in conjunction with the Institute for Diversity and Empowerment at Annenberg (IDEA); a panel about entertainment reporting with correspondent Zuri Hall from E! Entertainment Television, and conversations around depictions black hair in the media. Additionally, they worked on networking and connecting with the NABJ Los Angeles chapter to facilitate internship opportunities for students, Holman said.
Both credited Annenberg’s administration and faculty for providing an encouraging and supportive environment, citing the encouragement of Dean Ernest J. Wilson III; Willow Bay, director of the School of Journalism, and advisors Roberto Suro, professor in specialized journalism, and Lisa Pecot-Hébert, USC Annenberg lecturer in broadcast and multimedia journalism.
Pecot-Hébert, one of the NABJ USC advisors, said the chapter had a singular goal in mind: winning the Student Chapter of the Year award. She said both met with the Dean to discuss funding for the organization.
“What cinched it was they were so active, there was so much programming,” she said. “It was all them, really. Advising them was very easy. I helped take some things out of concept mode into action mode.”
Tiaira Muhammad (B.A. Broadcast Journalism and Political Science ‘18) is the incoming 2016-2017 President.
“I am so proud of everybody. Our board really put in a lot of hard work,” Muhammad said, adding she was excited to continue working closely with Pecot-Hébert, other Annenberg faculty and facilitate internship opportunities for students.
Holman called Annenberg “a great journalism school.”
“There’s such a strong push in Annenberg to extend your networks and make sure you're connecting with professors and other students in the program,” Holman said. “I think it's already in the Annenberg DNA to be looking ahead.”