The National Association of Black Journalists is coming to Plattsburgh State.
NABJ is a national organization of journalists, students and media-related professionals that provides quality programs and services to and advocates on behalf of black journalists worldwide, according to their website, nabj.org.
Sophomore Mya Bradley has helped found the Plattsburgh State Association for Black Journalists, a local campus chapter that currently has provisional status in the PSUC Student Association. Bradley started considering how she would go about starting a chapter at the college last semester, and now she has an executive board full of journalism, public relations and communications majors supporting her and this initiative.
To view more of our videos, visit our Multimedia page.“With the name being ‘journalists,’ it seems like it excludes public relations, but we definitely need to get PR involved, and that’s how we got Trudy and Henry involved,” Bradley said of her vice presidents Trudy-Ann Evans and Henry Rambalde. “All of us bring a certain skill set to the group, with the youngest as a freshman and some of the others being involved in PSTV.”
Along with the aforementioned junior public relations majors Evans and Rambalde, the vice presidents behind Bradley include seniors Hollis Richardson, a TV-video production major, and Alex Ayala, a multimedia journalism major. Bradley said she and her vice presidents have a “good balance,” where Bradley runs the meetings, Richardson works to meet and make everyone feel welcome and Ayala keeps the team on track.
“Last semester, Mya approached me and said she was trying to start a chapter on campus,” Ayala said. “I said, ‘It sounds really interesting, and I support it — anything to bring diversity, not just to campus, but to the journalism department.’”
Ayala said he loved Bradley’s idea and took the vice president of print position immediately. With a Puerto Rican background, he said he hopes this group will bring a change to the campus and better transform the community of young people of color going into the journalism field.
“Right now, we are trying to advertise that anyone can join, no matter what color or major,” Ayala said. “It is open to everybody.”
Bradley said when September comes, the group will be applying to become an official chapter of NABJ. They will then be notified in October if they are approved by the organization as affiliates.
“It is actually good because that gives us time to plan and promote events and give them something concrete when we apply,” Bradley said. “Saying, ‘This is what we did, this is why we are applying for affiliate status and why we should receive funding from you.”
Special Affairs Chair of PSABJ, sophomore Darlloyd Petteway, said being involved in the group has already benefited him as a student and professional.
“I am further expanding my teamwork abilities because I’m not really used to working with a team,” said Petteway, a broadcast journalism major. “When we have our board meeting, we talk like adults.”
Petteway said it has also helped him build his communication skills, which he said he deems important because he plans on being in front of the camera as his career. One of his goals as part of the group is making sure that when people attend meetings, they are able to speak about it “fluidly and positively.”
Journalism and Public Relations Lecturer and PSABJ adviser Jack Downs said this chapter could be important to an individual on this campus. He said it gives students access to training, conferences, scholarships and job opportunities, of which other students aren’t eligible.
“They are partners with places like CBS, FOX, AARP,” Bradley said. “They want to make sure that everyone can get their foot in the door.”
As well as supporting the students, Downs said it benefits the college and the community.
“We could use journalism things that aren’t publications,” Downs said. “There are no honors societies or clubs, and this is a good opportunity to have one because it is all motivated by the students.”
He said this group will raise awareness in the community of the industry issues that have been neglected, and it will help the community look at what the journalism department is doing here.
Email Lisa Scivolette at firstname.lastname@example.org