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The cast of Reed Between the Lines. (Jade Olivia Earle)

BET Show Reads Between Lines of Mental Illness

By Jade Olivia Earle
NABJ Monitor

After a full day of career-building workshops and networking, convention attendees at the BET reception Thursday night were treated with an appearance by the cast of the network’s new show, “Reed Between the Lines.”

Actors Tracee Ellis Ross, Malcolm-Jamal Warner, Melissa De Sousa and Anna Maria Horseford introduced the characters they play on the show and Loretha Jones, president of programming at BET, emphasized the show’s importance to the African American community.

Producers want the show to not only promote the image of a loving, intelligent, black couple, but they also want it to highlight the effects of mental illness in African American families.

Jones said mental sickness is not mentioned frequently within the community and she hopes the show will encourage empathy for people affected by illnesses.

Madison donates $100,000 for New Orleans Confab

Paula Madison, former WNBC and KNBC executive, announced to NABJ members that her family will donate $100,000 to support next year’s convention in New Orleans. Her announcement comes amid uncertainty regarding the impact NABJ’s split from UNITY will have if any on the organization. Madison made it very clear at this morning opening plenary session that her time, support and money is behind NABJ.
“Don’t be fooled you need to be at NABJ because no matter how you define yourself you are defined by the rest of the world as black,” said Madison to a packed ballroom of members. “I’m not telling you don’t go to UNITY. If you only have one place to be, then there you go.” Madison’s family owns the Africa Channel and a portion of the Los Angeles Sparks WNBA team.

Buppie Love

By Tatianah Green
NABJ Monitor

We’ve all seen the shows: “Sex and the City,” “Living Single,” and the latest, “Single Ladies” — stories about women living the single dating life in big cities like New York City and Atlanta. But what about Philadelphia? How can singles can find love in the city of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection?

One way might be a group called “Buppies in Philly.”

“Buppies” are young Black professionals; some may be fresh out of college or graduate school. The Buppies in Philly group was formed in October 2010 and has grown to over 200 members or Buppies. The group is active in hosting networking events, speed dating events, and conversation parties for the members to connect professionally — and often romantically.

The group’s founder is Lauren Graham, a young biomedical researcher who is from Dallas but moved to Philadelphia not too long ago. And yes, Lauren is single, but dating.

“Buppies in Philly is not just for dating but for like-minded people to network,” says Graham, who found that dating in the city of Philadelphia can be a challenge if you don’t know people, which is what inspired her to create the group on

In a town full of neighborhoods, Philadelphia is known as a people city. Graham recommends joining a social group with similar interests if you want to meet new friends, colleagues, and singles. Just as in networking, Graham says many singles get together and date by knowing other people.

The Buppies in Philly group are having a meet-up event Saturday, August 6th at 6 p.m. at Ms. Tootsie’s Soul Food Café (1314 South Street, Philadelphia). It’s called a “Sit, Sip and Chew,” a chance for Buppies and guests to sit down, talk and meet one another; you don’t to be an official Buppy to attend.

Mentors on Diet Plan?

By Faran Foy
NABJ Monitor

NABJ, an organization that prides itself on communication, has apparently suffered a breakdown in communication about the student project.

The week-long project provides hands-on experience and gives students the chance to network with media professionals. These mentors work along with students day and night, aiding them in every aspect from assignment to production and publication of a newspaper, web site and TV broadcast.There are approximately 20 student mentors for this year’s student project.

In exchange for volunteering, NABJ pays for the mentors’ registration, lodging and a meal stipend, according to the NABJ website. But as of Wednesday, when the program was in its third day, none of the mentors had received their meal stipends.

“Based on the allotted funds the staff decided what would be in the budget,” said Greg Lee, NABJ treasurer. When he looked at the budget, Lee said he saw the mentors would be given meals instead of a meal stipend. Students and mentors have received breakfast and lunch during the first days of the program.

“The meal card issue was a miscommunication on all levels,” he said. “I did not find out about it until this morning.”

Sarah Hoye, Student Education Enrichment & Development (SEED) co-chair and student media project manager, confirmed she was not aware of the changes but declined further comment.

Lee said the miscommunication was a staff issue and that he and Irving Washington, NABJ program manager, are working on getting the mentors meal cards. Lee said he expects the cards to be delivered by Thursday. Lee, who was SEED chair from 2000-2005, said this has never been a problem in the past.

Akili Ramsess, who has been working with student projects for nearly a decade, agreed there had been no previous issues with meal stipends. “It’s a little upsetting because we do not receive financial support from our respective news organizations,” said Ramsess, photo team leader for the student media projects.

Much of the mentors’ frustration came because they were not made aware that they would have to provide for their own meals in advance. “We always got our meal cards the night of the reception,” Ramsess said. “We kept getting different answers and it just didn’t make sense.”

The students and mentors work up to 12 hours daily, with students preparing, writing and producing for online, print and television platforms. Throughout the week students work in a newsroom and out in the field under the direction of their professional mentors.

“We are volunteering our personal and vacation time to do this for students,” Ramsess said. “It’s not about the money. We like the challenge. ”

Lee said conventions can be stressful especially when everyone is not on the same page. “The mentors are hard workers,” Lee said. “This problem is regretful.”

Overheard in the Student Newsroom

Quotes pepper your story. They’re not the whole recipe.

Tech Talk

By Ariele Pratt
NABJ Monitor

This year’s conference kicked off with a series of day-long technology sessions aimed at giving NABJ members an update on the latest tools  and techniques in use on the digital media landscape.

The sessions included “Social Media for Beginners,” “Mobile Storytelling 101” and “Hands-On Computer-Assisted Reporting.”

At “Social Media for Beginners,” Ingrid Sturgis, assistant professor, New Media, Howard University, and Frederick Kendrick, a teaching assistant at Howard and freelance videographer, showed participants how to utilize basic tools found on their smartphones and laptops to enhance their story coverage and create an open dialogue online. Sturgis started with the basics, walking the participants through setting up a Twitter account. She said she typically tweets from her Android smartphone. Participants learned how to resize photos to meet Twitter’s 700k size limit.

In “Mobile Storytelling 101,” presented by Val Hoeppner, Director of Education at the Freedom Forum’s Diversity Institute, more tech savvy journalists found new ways to utilize apps found on their smartphones while in the field reporting. Hoeppner provided all participants with iPod Touch mobile devices to demonstrate how to use her favorite, free, must-have apps when covering a story. She showed members an app called Evernote that allows users to capture and organize all of their notes in one place in a quick, multimedia-friendly format.

Hoeppner also suggested using 5-0 Police Scanner to keep up with live police, firefighters, aircraft, railroad and emergency radios.  She recommends for journalists who need to find a mobile hot spot (free and paid) while out in the field. Photoshop Express is a great tool for those who need to edit, crop or resize photos on the go from their mobile device.

Hoeppner also recommends Audio Boo as “the simplest thing to use” for recording audio in the field or producing live streams. Audio Boo  can also be embedded on users’ websites for free.

In a session titled “Hands-On Computer-Assisted Reporting,” Ron Nixon, a Washington Correspondent for The New York Times, showed participants how to use Microsoft Excel to streamline their reporting process when a lot of data is involved. Nixon demonstrated basic Excel functions such as ways to organize data and formulas to find large sums.

While Excel can be helpful during the reporting process, Nixon urged journalists to be cautions because “sometimes the story is what isn’t in the data.”