The National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists are exploring the possibility of a joint convention in 2016, the organizations’ presidents said Thursday.
The convention would be the first organized solely by NABJ and NAHJ. Both organizations have previously participated in conventions hosted by UNITY, an alliance between several minority journalism associations.
NABJ left UNITY in 2011, with NAHJ leaving in 2013, citing governance and financial reasons.
Talks about a joint convention began in 2013, according to NAHJ President Hugo Balta.
Executive directors of both organizations will explore different markets to host the convention, considering the cost of space, hotel, sessions, career fair and social events, Balta told The NABJ Monitor.
“We’re trying to figure out a way to make this work, to see if it’s profitable for the organizations,”
said NABJ President Bob Butler. “If not, it’s not going to make it.”
Yvonne Latty, a journalism professor at New York University and a NABJ and NAHJ member for over 20 years, said the joint convention would be like a dream come true.
“We have a lot in common,” said Latty, who is black and Dominican. “Obviously, I’m both things, so I can see the commonalities between both groups.”
“I’m especially excited because after NAHJ and NABJ left UNITY, I had always hoped that there was a way that we could still work together,” said Latty, who previously served as a UNITY board member.
UNITY, whose members include the Asian American Journalists Association, Native American Journalists Association and National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, is also considering hosting a convention in 2016. No official decisions have been made yet, said David Steinberg, UNITY president since 2013.
Steinberg doesn’t see a conflict if UNITY and NABJ and NAHJ host conventions in the same year. “This summer, you already have five,” he said, referring to the conventions of NAJA, NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA and NLGJA. “I know people have to choose.”
Consolidating conferences makes it easier for people to get them, Steinberg said. “The future is collaboration. We need to figure out the best way to do that.”
There are, however, advantages to having more journalists meet in one place, according to Latty.
“The industry doesn’t want to go to different conventions every week,” Latty said. “They want us all in one place. And the more of us [who] gather together, the easier it is for us to get access to recruiters and to the really fantastic panels and to the networking opportunities. When we’re divided, it’s a lot harder.”