Charles Robinson III Monday became the second candidate in the race for president of the National Association of Black Journalists to tout an endorsement from his employer, but DeWayne Wickham, a founder and past president of the association, said such endorsements are “a cancer on our organization that eats away at a core value.”
Gregory Lee Jr., the association’s treasurer, last week posted an endorsement from New York Times Co. CEO Arthur O. Sulzberger Jr. Lee is senior assistant sports editor at the Boston Globe, a Times Co. property.
In response, Robinson, a reporter at Maryland Public Television and a regional representative on the NABJ board, told Journal-isms on Friday, “I will also have an endorsement from my employer. I think [journalists] are pretty smart and look beyond endorsements. It’s ideas that will chart the future of this organization and I am prepared to debate them at any forum at any venue.”
On Monday, Robinson followed up with an endorsement from Larry D. Unger, president and CEO of Maryland Public Television.
The five-paragraph letter praised Robinson’s dedication to helping young journalists and extolled his leadership abilities. It concluded:
“NABJ needs a leader like you to chart its future. You are a person who has [a] keen eye on what is possible and tangible. Although I cannot cast a vote in the upcoming NABJ elections, I would certainly urge the association’s members to select you as their next leader. Best wishes!”
The third candidate, Deirdre M. Childress, entertainment/film/weekend editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the NABJ vice preident/print, posted an endorsement Monday from Irving Randolph of the black newspaper the Philadelphia Tribune, saying, “Now more than ever it is important that we retain our independence to support our communities of color. The African American press has always been at the vanguard in this area.”
On Friday, she said, “I am extremely happy to have four years of support of my employer, Philadelphia Media Network, which has donated more than $20,000 in cash and services to the Philadelphia convention this year, including the printing of the NABJ student Monitor with online support.”
She said of Robinson’s endorsement Monday, “I’m ready to talk about the issues and the vision for the future of NABJ.