Student journalist brings NABJ to SJU

Angelica Acevedo, News Editor

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An organization that focuses on diversity in the newsroom is making its way into St. John’s University. In an interview with the Torch, Beverly Danquah, the president of The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), spoke about her career as a journalist so far and the organization’s inception. During their general body meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 15, the Torch was also introduced to their e-board.

What does it stand for?

The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) was founded in 1975 in Washington D.C. It’s not only the largest organization of journalists of color in the U.S., it also awards nearly $100,000 of scholarships and internships.

The NABJ seeks to assist students pursuing a career in the media. Whether a student is a communications, public relations or journalism major—NABJ wants to help them get the most from the connections they share. Most importantly, they want to help diversify the media, as it’s an institution that, until this day, tends to be driven by white males.

However, Danquah emphasizes that this organization isn’t limited to Black students only, as students of all races are welcomed. “NABJ is open to everyone,” Danquah said.

The students who run it

There’s no doubt that the students involved in the NABJ team members are passionate about their individual careers, with resumes full of extra-curricular and professional experiences. Nevertheless, they are just as passionate about helping their peers succeed.

Danquah, a Bronx native, is currently a sophomore in St. John’s. She’s had an extensive career in journalism since she was in high school—even receiving the Most Enterprising Reporter award from the New York University’s Urban Journalism Program when she was merely 16-years-old. Now, she interns at CNN, writes for the Torch and is a R.I.S.E. mentor—among other endeavors.

How does she have the time to do this you might ask? “Don’t ask me, I don’t know,” Danquah replied.

The other e-board members are all sophomores, involved in clubs such as WRED-TV and RedHouse. They include Crystal Simmons, VP of Programs and Activities; Imani Jasmin of Public Affairs, VP of Public Affairs; Zoe Stanley, Treasurer; Destinee Clowe, Secretary; Christina Grierson Vice President of Broadcast and Derrell Bouknight Vice President of Print.

Plans for the future

According to Danquah, NABJ began on October 2016. Therefore, as an almost brand new organization, it’s still in the process of becoming fully-organized.

They plan to help their members go to journalism conferences all over the nation, as they see this is as an important way to network and learn from seasoned journalists.

Additionally, Grierson said that they are working on setting up tours at organizations, like the Wall Street Journal and various Public Relations firms.

They applied to be recognized by Student Government, Inc. but, to their surprise, did not receive it. “We felt like we were well prepared,” Grierson said.

However, Danquah said they will consider applying for recognition in the years to come. For now, NABJ will focus on their main goal, “to bring about a union of diverse journalists dedicated to the truth and excellence in news.”

 

Editor’s note: In the Wednesday, Feb. 22 print version of this story, Derrell Bouknight, Vice President of Print is missing; Christina Grierson’s title is also replaced with “Vice President of Broadcast.” Corrections were made as of 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 22.

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