Finding fellowships to tackle the stories you’ve always wanted to cover

Fellowship experts shared their experiences with BABJ members at #BABJfellowships.

The Baltimore Association of Black Journalists hosted our March 11, 2017 meeting at The Baltimore Sun, 501 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202.

About 20 people attended the Saturday afternoon panel discussion “Finding Fellowships.” The 90 minute session focused on various fellowship opportunities,  compensation and how to fit these opportunities into your work schedule.

The Crisis magazine senior editor Lottie Joiner joined Bloomberg BNA transportation and infrastructure reporter Stephanie Beasley and Baltimore Sun health and medicine reporter Andrea McDaniels in a Q&A session sharing details of their fellowship experiences.

Joiner was a 2015 National Health Journalism Fellow with the Center for Health Journalism at the University of Southern California at Annenberg. She is currently a Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism at Brandeis University.

Here’s a link to Joiner’s Center for Health Journalism fellowship work:

“The Impact of Father-Absence on the Mental Health of Black Boys”

Beasley received a “Bringing Home the World” fellowship from the International Center for Journalists in 2016. Her project focused on U.S. companies working with the Cuban government to re-establish trade relations and launch large-scale infrastructure projects. Here are a couple links to Beasley’s fellowship work:

U.S-Cuba Rail, Aviation, Port Deals in Jeopardy Under Trump

Cuba Hobbled by Fickle Internet Service—A Look at U.S.-Cuba Trade

McDaniels was also among the 2016 “Bringing Home the World” International Reporting Fellows. Her series “Collateral Damage,” about the invisible health impacts on those who live in violent communities, has won several recognitions, including The American Association for the Advancement of Science Gold Award and the Association of Health Care Journalists’ top award for public health reporting. At the BABJ meeting, McDaniels’ shared her fellowship experience covering  Johns Hopkins Medicine’s vast expansion over the last decade in Singapore and the Middle East.

Here is a link to McDaniels’ “Collateral Damage” project:







The meeting concluded with Baltimore Sun Managing Editor Sam Davis leading members on a tour of the newsroom. Here members had a chance to talk with weekend staffers about multimedia use and editorial content.























Journalists discuss different approaches to covering the Trump White House

The Baltimore Association of Black Journalists hosted our February 25, 2017 meeting at Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication.

This panel discussion was in collaboration with Society of Professional Journalists-Maryland Professional Chapter, Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication and Morgan State University Chapter of National Association of Black Journalists.

About 30 people attended the Saturday afternoon panel discussion “Journalism in the time of President Trump: Has Trump’s administration changed the way journalists cover government?”

Two guests joined us for this journalism best practices and ethics discussion:

Dr. Jennifer Brannock Cox, President, Society of Professional Journalists- Maryland Professional Chapter and Salisbury University, Assistant Professor of Communication

Dr. Letrell Crittenden, Robert Morris University (PA), Assistant Professor of Communication.

Our panelists lead the discussion on the roles of journalists and whether these responsibilities have changed with the new White House administration.

The group viewed a video montague of clips from the last 10 days featuring controversial interactions between President  Trump and reporters, as well as POTUS’ appearances.

The group also compared the Baltimore reporter ban at City Hall incident with recent efforts by the Trump administration to exclude certain members of the White House Press Corps from gaggles with the press secretary.

The group also broke down the role media ownership and company directives have had on press coverage of President Trump from the election trial to the White House. While much of the political coverage on “The Hill” has turned to reactions to criticism of new organizations, both guests stressed the importance of journalists resisting the “shiny objects” being used as distractions and the need to focus on the stories that serve to inform the public. The perceptions of the media, in the media also took center stage in the 90 minute discussion.

The final 30minutes were spent discussing ways to cover the White House when sources have proven to be unreliable using so called “alternative facts.” The group also dissected the importance of independent media sources emerging online.

The meeting concluded with a NABJ Region 1 Conference giveaway sponsored by Nicki Mayo News LLC. Four NABJ members received free registrations to #NABJPhilly17. We’re looking forward to seeing Karen Campbell, Akira Kyles, Terrence Smith and Korey Mathews in Philadelphia March 31-April 1, 2017.

NABJ members Karen Campbell, Akira Kyles, Terrence Smith and Korey Mathews won registrations to #NABJPhilly17 Philadelphia March 31-April 1, 2017.


Here’s a storify showcasing the social media coverage from the event:



Members plan 2017 BABJ programming at #BABJsotu

The Baltimore Association of Black Journalists hosted our second annual BABJ State of the Union #BABJsotu meeting January 28, 2017 at Baltimore Clayworks.

About 15 people participated in the planning meeting focused on plans for 2017 organizational calendar.

Coming into 2017, BABJ had 80 members on our roster. The membership is comprised of student and professionals.

Board members include:

Executive Board positions for 2016-2018 remain the same. Positions:

Vice President of Broadcasting – Carla Wills

Vice President of Print – Andrea McDaniels

Vice President of Media Related Professionals – Maria Morales

Secretary – Talisha Dunn-Square

Treasurer – Shantee’ Woodards

Parliamentarian – still vacant

Student Representative – Vance Brinkley

Additional board members include:

Membership – Dave Steele

Mentor Program – Maria Pitts-Roberts

Operation Reclaim BOOMERS – Jannette Witmyer

Members also brainstormed ways to improve BABJ communications, branding and board training.

















4th #BABJholiday collects clothes to help Baltimore’s homeless

The 4th Annual #BABJholiday Warm Clothing Drive kicked off December 7, 2016 at

Flight American Fusion Restaurant and Lounge. About 30 people attended the “party with a purpose” in Govans to enjoy spicy comfort foods, classy cocktails, fellowship and fun.

Among the festivities, members played a “BLACK Elephant” game based of the holiday poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  Prizes ranged from reporter themed wine glasses, t-shirts, earbuds, phone chargers,  mini “spirits” and even a BABJ “crystal ball.”

The giveaway swag was sponsored by various media companies, journalism/public relations academic programs and news services.

BABJ members and party guests donated 87 coats, hats, scarves and more to the Charm City Warmth Drive. This Baltimore non-profit works with shelters, food pantries, clothing donation and homeless advocacy groups around the city.

Here is a complete itemized list of the 2016 #BABJholiday donations:

16 – hats

16 – sets of gloves (all sizes and ages)

11 – scarves

8 – women’s shirts

7 – children’s coats

6 – women’s sweaters

5 – mens coats

5 – women’s coats

2 – women’s dress slacks

2 – sets of mens socks

4 – skirts

1 – women’s business suit

1 – blouse

1 – blouse and skirt set

1 – women’s thermal long johns

1 – kids sweater

BABJ’s donations will go to help The Transformation Center‘s Food & Clothing Distribution Center based in southwest Baltimore’s Brooklyn community.…/transformation-center/ . They have a children’s event Saturday Dec 17th and then an adult warm clothes giveaway event in January 2017.

Our #BABJHoliday  history of giving

In 2013 we celebrated the beginning for BABJ at Silo .5% (View photo gallery here)

We also teamed up with Philanthropix to benefit the Ronald McDonald House Charities. (View photo gallery here)

In 2014 BABJ collected gifts at Teavolve for the “It’s Kindertime” Toy Drive. (View photo gallery here)

We returned to Teavolve in 2015 for a toy and coat drive for the Penn-North Kids Safe Zone. 

BABJ learns book marketing and self-publishing best practices

The Baltimore Association of Black Journalists hosted our November 2016 meeting at Maryland Public Television in Owings Mills.

About 20 people attended the Saturday afternoon workshop “Promoting Your Own Book” with public relations veteran Cherrie Woods. She authored the book “Where Do I Start” and shared her insight on how she advises clients to promote their work.

Woods lead the group in activities to identify audience, branding and literary type. Attendees worked in groups critiquing current book titles, covers, author headshot photos and marketing.




Following the presentation
Woods was available for a meet & greet where she paused for photos as she sold and signed copies of her book.

BABJ members also gathered outside Maryland Public Television to congratulate and pose for photos with Charles Robinson III. The veteran journalist was honored with a star on the “Walk of Fame.”

BABJ condemns Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s ban against WYPR-FM reporter as unconstitutional

VIEW BABJ response via pdf here: babj-reporter-ban-responsebabj-response-image

This is the notice banning Burns.












WATCH (23:15 – 24:05) October 5, 2016 press conference exchange between Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and WYPR-FM reporter P. Kenneth Burns.

WATCH (8:00 – 9:50) October 12, 2016 press conference as Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake answers questions as why she banned WYPR-FM reporter P. Kenneth Burns.


BABJ gets LinkedIn to network downloading and Social Selling Index scores


The Baltimore Association of Black Journalists hosted our October 2016 meeting at WBAL-TV/Radio on TV Hill.


About 20 people attended the #BABJLinkedIn Saturday afternoon workshop “LinkedIn: To Win “with Intero Advisory’s Colleen McKenna. The LinkedIn Trainer covered the basics and pointed out key methods journalists and public relations professionals can use the website for work. McKenna also showed members how to download their networks and research their Social Selling Index (SSI) “score.”14657370_10154679102817922_2254388365728653660_n




This is McKenna’s third visit to BABJ. She also presented to the group:


April 2015 – BABJ gets LinkedIn to professional tools (Stratford University)

April 2014 – BABJ gets LinkedIn (WYPR-FM)


Following the meeting, BABJ members had a chance to tour 98 Rock as well as WBAL-TV and Radio facilities.






MPT honors BABJ’s Charles Robinson III and Roberta Lyles


Maryland Public Television (MPT) recognized Roberta Lyles and Charles Robinson III with the station’s top honors.

Long-time political reporter Charles Robinson III was saluted with one of two new stars on the Walk of Fame during a Wednesday, October 5,  2016 ceremony in Owings Mills, Maryland.

WATCH excerpts of Charles Robinson III’s acceptance speech

COURTESY Maryland Public Television

COURTESY Maryland Public Television

Since 2001, Robinson has been a member of MPT’s public affairs team as a political reporter for State Circle and a correspondent for the weekly program Your Money & Business. He also served as the associate producer on MPT’s Hard Working Families series, which won a CINE Golden Eagle award.

Robinson is a past president of the Association of Black Media Workers (ABMW), The organization that preceded BABJ which was established in 2013 He was twice elected to lead journalists from the National Association of Black Journalists’ Mid-Atlantic Region. According to a news release from MPT, Robinson was selected in 2010 to the Who’s Who in Black Baltimore and received the 2010 Black Professional Men, Inc.’s media and communications award.

The Virginia Commonwealth University alum has worked in television and radio in West Palm Beach, Florida; Cincinnati, Ohio; Washington, D.C.; and Baltimore in capacities including reporter, news director and political analyst.


BABJ and ABMW longtime member Roberta Lyles was also honored October 5, 2016 posthumously with an induction into the Maryland Public Television Alumni Honor Wall (Class of 2016).

Roberta Lyles’ love of broadcasting traces back to 1976 when, after her high school graduation, she pursued her interest in radio and TV by volunteering at WBJC Radio, interning at WWIN-AM, and working at WBAL-TV, according to a news release from MPT.  Lyles continued her studies and earned a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering technology.

Lyles worked as an electronic test technician at Westinghouse from 1979-1986. This capitulated her to a nearly 30-year career at MPT. She worked as an audio engineer and a videotape operator and editor. Roberta worked diligently and passionately as a valued member of the MPT Production Services. Lyles passed away in May 2015.



Experts share social video 101 tips with BABJ

14339900_10210476724691713_358498631_oBaltimore Association of Black Journalists  hosted “Social Video 101” Saturday September 10, 2016 at Maryland Public Television.14225484_10154567806937922_6101351547928999672_n





The event special guest speakers included Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area content creators:

The three multimedia experts joined the group to present best practices, new trends and easy to use inexpensive apps. Members had a chance to try out Videolicious and discuss how to use social video on their various newsrooms and organizations.

14317430_10154567806712922_6299791425009879260_nEveryday auto-playing video news reports laced with graphics, transcribed interviews and music fill our social media newsfeeds. AJ+, Buzzfeed, Now This and more social videos have become an major part of news sharing online among various social media platforms. BABJ members can now incorporate these trendy storytelling method into their everyday stories.









BABJ students shine at ONA16 as HBCU Digital Media Fellows

BABJ’s Tramon Lucas, Nicki Mayo, Benét Wilson and Vance Brinkley.


Members of the Baltimore Association of Black Journalists were well

represented at the Online News Association annual conference in

September. But one of the most exciting parts was that two Baltimore

students won the opportunity to attend the conference for free.

Vance Brinkley and Tramon Lucas


Vance Brinkley of Morgan State/Bowie State University and Tramon Lucas

of Morgan State University were among the six students chosen as HBCU

Digital Media Fellows, a special ONA diversity program funded by the

Knight Foundation. The program, overseen by BABJ chapter member

Benét Wilson, chooses six HBCU students to participate alongside ONA’s

Student Newsroom.

“As ONA’s diversity chair, programs like this are important to me, since

online media companies are still struggling to bring journalists of color into

their newsrooms,” said Wilson. “The HBCU Fellowship Program gives

these students special training and puts them in front of hiring managers for

future internship and job opportunities.”

The fellows received special digital training from Michael Grant, Senior

Digital Designer at the Star-Tribune in Minneapolis and got to speak with

movers and shakers in the digital news industry in special sessions.

Lucas’ video piece, “ONA attendees of color discuss diversity in

newsrooms,” included commentary from BABJ President Nicki Mayo and

AAJA President Paul Cheung.

In his piece, “Social’s evolving impact on

journalism,” Brinkley used the example of how Pulitzer Prize-winning

Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery is using social media as part of

his storytelling.

The fellows were also the guests of honor at the conference’s must-attend

event, the Knight Foundation party.

“Seeing our BABJ student members not only at ONA16, but as fellows

makes my heart melt. They are taking the phrase ‘BABJ Baby’ to another

level,” said Mayo. “I love that they are starting off their careers as

multimedia journalists unafraid of trying out new news gathering tools and

unattached to one singular kind of news medium.

BABJ President Nicki Mayo at ONA16.

“I can’t believe this was my first ONA. I should have been there sooner,”

said Mayo. “The reality is most of our newsrooms are experimenting with

virtual reality, drones and automation. The best thing we can do is arm

ourselves with the tools to keep us relevant and necessary in these ever

changing newsrooms.”

The ONA conference showed there are so many journalists like me that

enjoy spicing things up with various storytelling and information gathering

methods, said Mayo. “I’m going back for sure.”

The next ONA conference is scheduled for Oct. 5-7, 2017, in Washington,

D.C., at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, the same place where NABJ

was held this year. Since the event is so close, it would be great to see

BABJ members there to see how ONA is training and preparing digital


NABJ officers and members at ONA 16.