CNN vs. NABJ
Yes, I’m late to this. Blogging has had to take a back seat recently to other things. The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple writes about the recent back and forth between the NABJ and CNN…
Bob Butler, the president of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is unhappy with CNN. Just last Friday, Butler and NABJ issued a press release indicating that CNN had “withdrawn support of NABJ for the 2015 Convention & Career Fair.” Founded in 1975, NABJ is the largest group of journalists of color in the U.S., and their annual convention serves to help black media professionals with professional development and networking opportunities.
CNN responded with a statement of its own: “Following NABJ’s recent comments about CNN, we informed them we were reconsidering our relationship, but we were clear that we had not made a final decision. It’s surprising to us that they would choose to make such a statement.”
So: Butler says that the network had definitively withdrawn support; CNN says not quite. “They’re basically calling me a liar,” said Butler in a chat with the Erik Wemple Blog. “That’s very disturbing.”
Here’s where the spat gets juicy. That critical press release and NABJ’s proposal to CNN for the 2015 annual convention hit CNN at about the same time, according to Butler. Therein lies a core conflict in what NABJ — and other journalism-diversity groups, for that matter — does from day to day. On the one hand, it monitors how well newsrooms embrace diversity; on the other, it pitches those same newsrooms to ante up for convention space and other stuff. Have a look at the 2014 convention program book with a nice full-page ad from CNN proclaiming, “CNN proudly supports the National Association of Black Journalists.” Says Butler: “They’re a corporate partner like many other companies are. We have relationships with CNN, with Fox News, CBS, NBC, ABC — those are all partners within NABJ.”