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The National Association for Black Journalists helps ASU members reach new journalistic heights

NABJ ASU chapter seeks to provide opportunities to black students in the newsroom

Members of the ASU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists pose for a photo a the iHeartRadio studio on Nov. 18, 2016, in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. 

Members of the ASU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists pose for a photo a the iHeartRadio studio on Nov. 18, 2016, in downtown Phoenix, Arizona. 

The ASU chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists aims toward expanding diversity in newsrooms, and USGD funds them to accomplish what the club has in mind. 

On the national map, NABJ is the largest journalism organization that focuses on minority students ever since it was founded in 1975 in the capital of the U.S. 

As the amount of black students in college increases every year, NABJ strives to increase the amount of black journalists in the nation within its college chapters around the country. One of those chapters is located at the downtown Phoenix campus. 

The ASU chapter of NABJ in downtown Phoenix uses its funding to empower its already existing members while also doing outreach for black journalists.

Retha Hill, the advisor to the ASU chapter of NABJ said it's important to her and the rest of the organization to supply every platform possible for these students to use as a step toward their journalistic goals. 

"The purpose of NABJ is to provide opportunities for our members to get into and excel in media," she said. "Also, we want to see African Americans portrayed in our full complexity, not in stereotypical ways." 

The current existing ASU chapter has been active since 2010. A former member is James White, who graduated from ASU in the spring of 2016. 

White said part of his experience with NABJ was visiting local news stations and sponsoring field trips such as the annual NABJ convention. The NABJ convention, which also includes a career fair for attendees, is a gathering of black aspiring journalists around the country.

"I remember one of our senior students went to the convention in D.C., and she ended up finding a job opportunity through that convention, and we did not see her come back to school since she was offered the opportunity she found that weekend," James said. 

The organization's long-term goal is for every newsroom to include different, race-focused perspective on necessary news story, and that is the result of having different cultures within the same newsroom.

Jamie Barnes, current president of the NABJ ASU chapter, said that one of the most important elements of the club is the comfort each member experiences. Although NABJ represents a minority group in the area, members find community in being surrounded by people with similar racial backgrounds and career goals.

"Having this club shows the inclusiveness that comes with attending a great school such as the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, and knowing that there are others that look like you and are striving to become the best journalist they can with the help and comfort that this club provides," she said. 

Reach the reporter at or follow @thewillmijares on Twitter.

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