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Food Fight: Panel Addresses Healthy Food For All

The top leading causes of death for African-Americans are heart disease, cancer, and stroke: all diet-related diseases that can be prevented, according to panelists in a discussion led by Tambra Stevenson, a nutrition educator and food justice advocate.

“Fighting for Food Justice in the Black Community” addressed issues concerning the role of black farmers, diversity in nutrition and the need for people of color to be both consumers and producers of organic, wholesome food.

“The simplest definition of food justice for me is making sure that everybody — no matter what color you are, how much money you make, or where you live — has access to quality, healthy food,” said Jenga Mwendo, one of the panelists and founder of the Backyard Gardeners Network.

Other panelists at the session were Evelyn F. Crayton, Alabama Cooperative Extension System Executive assistant director; Michael W. Twitty of the Cooking Gene Project; Tannika Cunningham, co-founder and executive director of Healthy Solutions; Harvey Reed, executive director of the Louisiana Association of Cooperatives; and Jenga Mwendo, founder of the Backyard Gardeners Network.
— Azania Briggs


Big Ups, Atlanta Chapter

The Atlanta Association of Black Journalists was named NABJ’s Chapter of the Year on Thursday at the 37th annual NABJ Convention and Career Fair. Tenisha Bell, a CNN executive producer and AABJ chapter’s president, accepted the award.


A “Brand” New Image

“My brand saved me and helped me do bigger and better things,” panelist Benet Wilson said to a packed crowd in the A “Brand” New You: Cut Through The Media Clutter and Make Your Mark interactive session.

Wilson, affectionately known as the “Aviation Queen,” was laid off from her position as an editor for Aviation Week on October 4, 2011. She said she had four job offers waiting for her by October 31, which she credited to effectively marketing herself as an expert in a niche market, aviation.

Moderated by personal finance journalist and blogger Natalie McNeal (Frugalista.com), the session centered on helping journalists boost their personal brands through the use of various tools and techniques.

Panelists advised the audience to differentiate themselves from the crowd by having the technical expertise in the niche they are covering and to develop their own perspective that will attract followers.

Denise Sawyer, a senior from Howard University, found the panel to be very informative.

“I thought that it was a great selection of panelists and it really served as a how-to on developing a detailed niche as a broadcast journalist,” Sawyer said.

Other panelists included Bomani Jones of SBNation.com, StraightMaleFriend.com founder Marcus Osborne and Essence beauty director Corynne L. Corbett.

— Ameena Rasheed

 


Mentor Jennifer Dronkers gives ‘em 70 (seconds)

Challenged to pull-ups at the Marine’s booth in the NABJ Career and Job Fair, Dronkers demonstrates fine form as she holds her own for 70 seconds. The few, the proud were impressed. So were we.

Jennifer shows that she has the right stuff at the Marine’s booth in the Career Fair.

Full Belly, Fat Wallet

Meredith Clark
NABJ Monitor

Before you feast your eyes on this year’s NABJ Student Multimedia Project blog, allow me to offer a brief disclaimer: We are not restaurant critics. We are not food bloggers, gourmands, home cooks or even “foodies.” We are just like you – media professionals making memories and building connections during another fast-paced NABJ convention.

And we are hungry.

It’s a sin to come to a city like New Orleans and limit oneself to chain restaurants or insane hotel fare. And despite our hectic schedules, we all have to eat. The convention offers attendees countless opportunities to swap power lunches for leisurely communion over pain perdu  on a brunch break  between workshops. We’re encouraging students to explore some of the area’s culinary offerings, including gator meat on a stick at  New Orleans Cookery  and the ubiquitous beignets at Café Du Monde. And they are going to share those experiences right here. Join us as we brave the sun and near 90-percent humidity to savor the city’s rich cultural history, one sensual morsel at a time.

Having just abandoned a 12-year stint in vegetarianism a few months prior, I couldn’t have picked a better time to come to the Big Easy. The opportunities to flavor my meals with the spicy meats and fresh seafood found in traditional Cajun and Creole dishes like gumbo, jambalaya and etoufee are endless.

Daisy Dukes, a 24-hour diner, offered all three staples without wrecking my budget. My diet, though, was not so lucky. NOTE: You won’t get far worrying about that here. It’s just like my new friend Gary, a barista who put me on to the spot, said, “We don’t count calories in New Orleans.”

Daisy Dukes is a greasy spoon cozily tucked away on Chartres Street just a few blocks from the convention hotel. Create your own bayou tapas by ordering several smaller platters and splitting them within a group. Our selections of the blackened catfish platter, New Orleans sampler and a shrimp po’boy proved to be plenty to share. The sampler, in particular, gave us an ample selection of fried green tomatoes, gumbo, red beans and rice with sausage and dense, flaky homemade biscuits. At about $21 per person (including three beers and two mixed drinks) for four people, Daisy Dukes was a perfect starting point for a tasting tour of the Crescent City. BONUS: The restaurant also offers an around-the-clock delivery service. And breakfast is served all day. Don’t hurt yourselves.

Yes, we suggest not fretting over the nutritional value of most of your meals this week, but that’s no reason to do too much damage. Try to balance sinful treats at places like Daisy Dukes with a little physical activity and smart shopping at a neighborhood grocery store. Rouses, located about eight blocks west of the hotel on Baronne Street, offers standard supermarket choices along with an organic/natural foods/vegetarian section and a wide selection of ready-to-go meals prepared in-house.

Trying to keep my own indulgences intact, I spent a few bucks on yogurt, berries and granola for breakfasts during the week. While the convention hotel offers room refrigerators free of charge (you have to call in and order them to be delivered to your room), I’m keeping my purchases cold with ice from the hotel vending machine and a $3 insulated bag purchased in the store’s checkout line.

With a bit of preparation, curiosity and flexibility, it was easy to balance smart nutritional choices with a delectable splurge on local flavor for under $40 on Tuesday. Though that figure is easily covered by per diem reimbursements, I’m a graduate student with limited income. I aim to lower that total by $10 and still dining out at least once daily throughout the week. Have any tips about enjoying good food with great company during this year’s convention? Help a sister out: Post tidbits here and check back often as members of the student projects team discover New Orleans.


International Flavor at NABJ

Joonji Mdyogolo and Paulo Rogerio Nunes, mid-career journalists participating in the Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship, bring a fusion of international cultures to the NABJ convention

The two, who are studying at the University of Maryland, came to the convention in order to bring what they learn back to their respective media companies.

Nunes hails from South America by way of Brazil, in 2005 he co-founded the Instituto Midia Etnica, which advocates for diversity in media and digital communications.

Mdyogolo was deputy and managing editor at O, The Oprah Magazine South Africa, from 2006 to 2011. During her fellowship she has worked with the National Geographic Traveler and the Op-Ed project, a social venture attempting to diversify the media.

“This is a huge organization that’s been running for a long time that has great influence across the board and I’d like to replicate this kind of vibrancy in South Africa,” Mdyogolo said.

Nunes said he would like to unite journalists of color in Brazil and learn how to organize a convention of their own.

“We have the second-largest black population in the world in Brazil,” Nunes said, “We’re trying to organize all of our journalists to come together and NABJ has a large experience in that.”

As the convention enters its 37th year, it’s apparent that it is more than mere networking.

“Everybody knows each other and they come together and reconnect after years of knowing each other,” Mdyogolo said. “It’s like a family reunion.”

— Ameena Rasheed