SMC Lead the Way With Multimedia Storytelling at the NABJ Candidates’ Forum

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NABJ Candidates' Forum in Houston


By Erik M. Granados, SMC

Social Media Correspondents (SMC) revolutionize the way journalists approach their profession while covering the National Association of Black Journalists Candidates’ Forum at KPRC-TV in Houston on June 25.

In August, NABJ members will elect new leaders at the national convention in Philadelphia, Pa. With only a few weeks away, candidates stopped in Houston to convince their colleagues why they should be elected.

Presidential candidates Gregory Lee, Deidre Childress and Charles Robinson all emphasized the importance of skill development and evolving as a journalist in order to make it in this field.

Texas Southern University social media correspondents embrace the idea that storytelling is changing at a fast rate due in part to the Internet and smartphones.

SMCs covered the candidate’s forum in an evolving journalistic presentation, using a variety of social media networks including Twitter, Facebook, blogs, smartphones, and live broadcast via UStream.

SMC Sara Phipps Car Uses Smartphone for Interview

“There are now many new platforms to communicate with, which journalists need to embrace.  That’s the way to survival and sustainability,” said Childress.

Other topics discussed included the fiscal health of NABJ. Presidential candidate and former treasurer, Lee chimed in on the importance of financial stability.

“It’s quite simple, I will bring consistency and make sure we don’t spend money that we don’t have, “ said Lee.

The candidates were especially interested in addressing the concerns of its stakeholders.

Childress plans to introduce an initiative that would allow college and university professors to be full members of NABJ.  Currently they are associate members and have limited voting rights.

“I want to do more for our professors and students,” said Childress.

Recently NABJ separated from UNITY Journalists of Color Inc.  According to some NABJ members, the separation was failed negotiations.  The goal was never to leave UNITY but for every one of the associations affiliated with UNITY to come out better financially.

The candidates expressed they personally haven’t separated from UNITY, but NABJ as an organization has.

“I am not comfortable with our finances tied to the management of other organizations; we are NABJ. We need to run our own money. If we need to reconcile UNITY, we will reconcile on a philosophical level, not a financial level,” said Childress.

During the closing remarks in a crowd of approximately 30 people, Robinson said, “I have a vision for where we need to go. We’re going to ride the train, give you the expertise and you will become the expert people come to.”

The candidate debates began in May in Atlanta; the next stop will be at the NABJ National Convention and Career Fair where elections will take place on August 5.

NABJ members not in attendances can cast their votes online at

Social Media Correspondents
The Social Media Correspondents use multiple social media platforms to report on pertinent issues. The founding editor is journalist and Texas Southern University Journalism Professor Serbino Sandifer-Walker @sswalker (Twitter). *We are the first team in the nation, with a professional and collegiate news group, to use multiple social media as a reporting tool. We tell stories dynamically using a myriad of social and multimedia platforms. We are especially interested in telling under told stories in underserved communities. We use mobile phones and tablets to capture video, audio, photos and live events in the communities we cover. We live tweet and have a newsfeed on Twitter at #TwitterNewsChat. We're always thinking outside of the box.

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