N.O. native tapped to lead the National Assn. of Black Journalists
15th August 2011 · 0 Comments
The Louisiana Weekly Staff Reports
Gregory Lee, a 1992 graduate of Sarah T. Reed High School in eastern New Orleans and a member of Xavier University of Louisiana’s Class of 1996, was elected president of the National Association of Black Journalists on August 5. The election took place during the association’s national convention, which was held in Philadelphia, Pa. August 3-7.
The proud New Orleans native has been a member of NABJ since 1996 and has spent the past seven years working as senior assistant sports editor of the Boston Globe. Prior to joining the Boston Globe staff, Lee worked at The Washington Post for five years and at The Times-Picayune for six.
During his matriculation at Xavier, Lee served as editor of The Xavier Herald.
According to the NABJ Monitor, Lee is the first sports journalist and the third-youngest member ever elected NABJ president. As NABJ’s 19th president, the 37-year-old takes over the helm of a 3,500-member association representing journalists from all over the U.S.
“I feel very overwhelmed, very privileged and I value everything because NABJ members recognize me,” Lee said after hearing he was elected president, according to the NABJ Monitor.
“I’m so very honored and humbled by this awesome responsibility that I have and with my team for the next two years,” he added.
The NABJ Monitor reported that Lee acknowledged that he will face a myriad of challenges ahead during his two-year term as president. In addition to planning next year’s convention in New Orleans, Lee will have to work closely with the executive director and the board to find ways to boost membership and steer NABJ on a progressive path as the industry continues to evolve. He will also have to fill three empty board seats.
“We have a lot of work to be done and everyone knows based on my past that I work hard for you,” Lee said during a news conference. “I’ll continue to do so, so that you can get the best services possible and make sure that I fight on your behalf with jobs in the industry — but not only jobs but opportunities to become managers and to run newsrooms.”
Late last month, NABJ announced that it had selected New Orleans to serve as host city for its 2012 national convention. Next year’s NABJ Convention & Career Fair will take place June 20-24, 2012 in New Orleans.
NABJ had already selected New Orleans to host its 2014 convention, but after conducting a survey of NABJ’s membership last month on important factors to be considered in choosing a convention city, NABJ’s Board of Directors decided that it made sense to move up the New Orleans convention to 2012.
“NABJ is excited about going to New Orleans next year. It is a fabulous city with the right mixture of a prime location, hotel price, convention space, and leisure activity to make a great convention for our members,” outgoing NABJ President Kathy Y. Times said on July 28. “NABJ has not been to New Orleans since 1983. We look forward to our return, and partnering with a city rich in culture and tradition.”
“It is very exciting. It has been a struggle to get the chapter together; this is a great vote of confidence for our city. I think there are still a lot of misconceptions about what goes on in New Orleans, and this is a chance to clear that up. It is one of our goals, as NABJ, to get out the true story, and this is a chance to do that,” said Nicondra Norwood, president of NOABJ and meteorologist at WVUE-TV, New Orleans’ Fox-network affiliate. “And of course New Orleans knows how to put on a good time!”
Longtime New Orleans journalist and former NABJ board member Warren Bell was equally excited about the convention being held in the Big Easy next summer.
“I am looking forward to my organization coming to my hometown,” Bell said. “I have very fond memories of NABJ conventions, and am excited that NABJ will return to the Crescent City for the first time in a generation so we can show them how to ‘Laissez les bons temps roule!’”
“I miss the people of the city,” Lee told The Louisiana Weekly when asked what he misses most about his hometown and what he likes to do when he returns for a visit. “I just love the southern way of life, the simplicity. I miss my family and friends there. I come home annually for Mardi Gras, where I ride in Morpheus.”
Lee could not contain his enthusiasm about NABJ’s 2012 convention being held in the Crescent City. “It has been a generation since we last came to the great city of New Orleans,” Lee told The Louisiana Weekly. “I am so excited to bring an energetic membership to my hometown. I expect the same professional development programming for our membership, but I would also expect to have a major impact within the community. For many of our members, it will be the first time they have visited since Hurricane Katrina struck.”
The Louisiana Weekly couldn’t resist asking the Boston Globe sports journalist what distinguishes Red Sox and Celtics fans from those of the Who Dat Nation.
“Boston fans take games way too seriously,” Lee told The Louisiana Weekly. “But I love the passion. If the Who Dat Nation loses a game, we will just go to the bar and party anyway. But Boston fans are very passionate but not much celebrating after a loss, ha! But the Boston fans were supporting the Saints in the Super Bowl because they can’t stand Peyton Manning.”
Lee told The Louisiana Weekly that during his tenure as NABJ president he plans to work hard to “ensure that NABJ has a successful 2012 convention in my hometown, that NABJ establishes itself as the top professional organization for Blacks and that our members have opportunities in all areas of media through intense advocacy efforts.”
Lee said he expects the association to return to the critical role it played in the historic presidential elections three years ago.
“In 2008, NABJ played a pivotal role during presidential season by securing a presence at both the Republican and Democratic National Conventions,” Lee told The Louisiana Weekly. “We hope to ensure that during this time our journalists have the opportunity to appear on networks by providing commentary and analysis on the race’s developments.”
This article was originally published in the August 15, 2011 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper