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Bob Butler (Twitter)

Bob Butler, a multimedia reporter at KCBS radio in San Francisco and two-term vice president/broadcast of the National Association of Black Journalists, was elected president of the organization Friday as members learned that NABJ ran a deficit in 2012 and that its finance committee projected one for 2013 as well.

Butler, 60, defeated Sarah J. Glover, social media editor at WCAU-TV, the NBC-owned and operated station in Philadelphia, 251 to 229.

In other races, incumbent Errin Haines Whack, a reporter for the Washington Post and vice president/print, defeated Denise Clay, writer/proofreader and copy editor at the Philadelphia Sunday Sun. She won 286 votes to Clay's 165.

For vice president/broadcast, Dedrick Russell, a reporter at WBTV-TV, Charlotte, N.C., and a current regional representative, defeated Lisa D. Cox, producer at KTLA-TV in Los Angeles and current NABJ secretary, 255 to 208.

For secretary, Corey Dade, contributing editor at the Root and a current regional representative, defeated Michael Feeney, a reporter for the Daily News in New York and president of the New York Association of Black Journalists, 233 to 222.

For parliamentarian, incumbent Cindy George, reporter and Houston Advocate blogger at the Houston Chronicle, defeated Caleb Wilkerson, supervising producer and director at Discovery Communications and former board member, 272 to 171.

Treasurer Keith Reed, senior editor at ESPN The Magazine, was unopposed and garnered 393 votes.

Overall, about 493 of NABJ's 1,316 full members voted, Elections Committee Co-Chair Mike Woolfolk said, about 37.5 percent of those eligible. When those in other categories are counted, NABJ membership stood at 2,986 in July, down from a high of 4,119 in June 2008 but greater than a recent low of 2,578 in September 2010, Executive Director Maurice Foster said.

As vice president/broadcast, Butler conducted diversity surveys of station management for NABJ and advocated among station managers around the country for hiring black journalists. He also represents broadcasters in San Francisco on the national board of the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and is a member of its diversity committee.

He attributed his victory to support from young journalists. "People called and said, 'you helped my career,' " Butler told Journal-isms after the votes were announced Friday at the NABJ convention in Kissimmee, Fla. "They need someone who can provide them with the direction they may not be getting" in their communities. "I've got a big Rolodex of NABJ members. I started reaching out to these people, and 85 percent said, 'Bob, it's a no-brainer.' "

Glover, two-term president of the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists and three-time board member of NABJ, was present for the announcement of the election results, already known to the candidates. She wrote to her Facebook followers, "I want to thank my #sarah4nabj supporters. I lost the #NABJ13 election by 22 votes. I will continue to be a proud NABJ member and serve to infinity."

Butler spoke with Journal-isms after the news conference, livestreamed from the Gaylord Palms Resort & Convention Center.

He noted that he had persuaded the JVC electronics company to lend NABJ the two cameras that student journalists used to record the news conference. That was an example, he said, of the work he had done for the association. The cameras came with an engineer to teach the students how to use the equipment, he said.

The election pitted Butler and other incumbents who supported Foster against outgoing President Gregory H. Lee Jr. and challengers who said the association is headed in the wrong direction with Foster as executive director.

Among those detractors was NABJ's Finance Committee, chaired by former NABJ President Condace Pressley, which reported at NABJ's four-hour business meeting on Friday.

"The NABJ Finance Committee is concerned that membership is not receiving an accurate assessment of the financial status of the organization. NABJ ended 2012 in the red, and is headed for possibly a $300,000 deficit in 2013 unless major steps are taken to eliminate the threat," it said.

In continuing, the committee referred to a cleavage on the board previously unknown to most NABJ members. "It is the opinion of the finance committee that President Lee is the most knowledgeable and experienced NABJ board member regarding the organization's finances. However, critical recommendations from the president regarding finances have not been adopted by the majority of the board or the Executive Director," it said.

NABJ incurred a net loss of $30,828 for the year ending Dec. 31, Reed reported.

Asked Thursday at a candidates' forum about the Finance Committee report, Butler said, "We've ended up in the red six of the last 10 years," and "We might not have the profit, but we are a nonprofit organization."

Glover, a former photographer for the Philadelphia dailies, said, "We should be receptive to the recommendations [the Finance Committee] put forward. I don't think that any year that is a deficit year is a great year and that that should be excused. We need to look at our fund-raising structure and our revenue."

Butler replied, "The election has become a referendum on the national office. It's always the national office but not the leaders of the organization. Is that always the case?"

Asked at the forum about the possibility of NABJ returning to the Unity coalition, which the association left over financial and governance issues in 2011, Butler said NABJ "won't have the conversation" until Unity resolves those issues. (Unity: Journalists of Color, Inc. has since become Unity: Journalists for Diversity with the addition of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association in NABJ's stead.)  

Challengers successfully proposed motions Friday aimed at greater transparency and accountability, including one to eliminate a bonus for future executive directors if financial reports are not made available to members on time.

Foster told the group that the organization's biggest challenge will be reining in spending. "We're going to hae to get a handle on this," he said.

Also at the convention, the parents of slain black Florida teenager Trayvon Martin said they "took the negative and tried to turn it into a positive" after volunteer night watchman George Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges last month after shooting their unarmed 17-year-old son.

"With a guilty verdict everything would be stopped," said Sabrina Fulton, Trayvon's mother. "But now the story goes on. There are a number of things we can do. Just the fact that so many people united during the rallies. Just the fact that people are talking about the case leads to something positive."

Trayvon's father, Tracy Martin, said he wants "to make sure Trayvon's legacy lives on" so that 30 or 40 years from now, people will say that laws were changed in his name.

"Jeremy Gaines, a spokesman for the McLean, Va.-based company declined to say where the cuts are taking place. He said the newspapers are making the cuts to bring their business plans in line with local market conditions.

"McLean, Va.-based Gannett is the country's largest publisher of newspapers by circulation. It publishes USA Today, the No. 3 newspaper in the U.S. by circulation, and operates television stations.

"Jim Hopkins, who publishes Gannett Blog, an independent blog about the company, estimates that over 200 jobs across at least 37 worksites have been eliminated so far. Hopkins, a former editor and reporter at USA Today, said the figures are based on information contributed by Gannett workers.

"According to the blog, the newspapers making the most cuts include the Asbury Park Press in New Jersey, The Burlington Free Press in Vermont, The Arizona Republic in Phoenix and The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky. . . ."

" 'This is the first year we are honoring a mix of news media and media companies,' said Mekahlo Medina, NAHJ Vice President and Media Awards Chair. 'We are excited to highlight the great work these companies are doing and honor those that make the decisions to get this work done.' "

" 'Among the honorees are the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times for finally addressing the use of 'illegal immigrant.' After years of urging by NAHJ, the AP changed its stylebook to no longer sanction the term or use of 'illegal' to describe a person. The move by the world's largest newsgathering outlet has opened the conversation in dozens of newsrooms and caused many of them to follow suit or re-examine its use of the term. . . ."

Also honored are ABC News, ESPN, Universal Pictures, Hulu, Huffington Post and NUVOtv. The presentations are scheduled Aug. 26 at the NAHJ Media Awards and Hall of Fame Gala in Anaheim, Calif.

"Deggans, a longtime TV and media critic at the Tampa Bay Times, begins reporting fulltime for NPR in October. Deggans' work is widely recognized, and tomorrow, he will be honored at the National Association of Black Journalists annual convention as the recipient of its 2013 Arts & Entertainment Task Force Legacy Award, given to a veteran A&E journalist that has set an example for others in the field.

Deggans, who will become NPR's first television critic, told Journal-isms he intends to stay in Tampa for two years and then relocate to NPR's Los Angeles studios. He has contributed commentary to the network and now will become one of its few black male voices. Deggans also heads the Media Monitoring Committee of the National Association of Black Journalists.

"He brought his deft understanding of media to NPR's coverage of the Trayvon Martin case and the relationship between TV and real-world violence, and has also contributed to NPR’s race, ethnicity and culture blog Code Switch," the release continued. 

"In this newly created role of TV critic and correspondent, Deggans will continue to bring audiences his distinct perspective on television, media and cultural criticism, and offer context on entertainment trends and their intersection with society and culture in America today. . . ."

Deggans received the 2013 NABJ Arts & Entertainment Task Force Legacy Award Friday night at the NABJ convention in Kissimmee, Fla.

"Calvin Sims, a Ford Foundation executive and former New York Times correspondent, has been appointed President and CEO of International House, the New York non-profit program and residence center with a mission to promote cross-cultural understanding and peace and prepare leaders for the global community," International House announced on Thursday.

A news release added, "Sims has served as Program Officer for the Ford Foundation since 2007, focusing on the development of a free and responsible press worldwide," He has been the contact for journalist organizations at the foundation and is attending the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Kissimmee, Fla. "His work helped foster new and innovative models of reporting, disseminating and financing news, with a concentration on social justice issues, diversity of voices, standards and ethics, and press freedoms," the release continued.

"Prior to joining the Ford Foundation, Sims spent 20 years at The New York Times, where he was a director, producer and foreign correspondent and played a central role in the newspaper's expansion into television, documentaries and the Web. He anchored the Times's nightly television news program, hosted a weekly podcast on foreign affairs and produced an acclaimed documentary for PBS on the rise of radical Islam in Indonesia. As a foreign correspondent, Sims was based in Buenos Aires, Tokyo, Seoul and Jakarta."

Sims said in the release, "I am honored to join this esteemed institution which for nearly 90 years has stood as a beacon of international harmony and understanding, proving that humanity can surpass the barriers of race, nationality, color, culture, and traditions that have so long divided the world. I look forward to working with the Board and staff to ensure that I-House continues to fulfill its mission which has never been more relevant."

Sims, ending his six-year, term-limited job at Ford, succeeded Jon Funabiki. The Foundation advertised for a successor in March. Funabiki is now a journalism professor at San Francisco State University and executive director of the Dilena Takeyama Center for the Study of Japan and Japanese Culture.

Separately, the foundation announced last month, "Darren Walker, who emerged from small-town Texas to an international career in law and finance before becoming a leader in the nonprofit and philanthropic worlds, will become the 10th president of the Ford Foundation this September. . . ."

"The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) was awarded a $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to launch 'Diverse and Inclusive: News of the Heartland,' a project to address the lack of news coverage of minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in Nebraska," AAJA announced on Friday.

"The idea to implement the one-year program stemmed from a study of existing news coverage.

"AAJA and National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) conducted an analysis of November 2012 news coverage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) and LGBT communities — and the issues of domestic violence and immigration reform — in four states including Nebraska. In addition, AAJA and NLGJA leaders spoke with community leaders in two states, including Nebraska, about coverage of LGBTs and other minorities."

The release added, "As part of the program, AAJA and NLGJA will form collaborations with Nebraska news outlets and journalism programs for professional and student journalists to produce original local, regional and national content on key issues faced by these communities. In addition, community members will receive training and needed tools to learn how to draft opinion pieces, including a sourcebook for Nebraska journalists that will help guide production of lasting and inclusive coverage. AAJA will work in partnership with NLGJA in implementing the project. . . ."

"As a longtime music critic for USA TODAY, Steve Jones impressed people with his mental warehouse of music history, his unflappable cool and his devilish wit," Edna Gundersen and Brian Mansfield reported Friday for USA Today. "In an accessible and entertaining voice, he introduced readers to a staggering variety of artists and trends, shedding light on the cultural and artistic significance of everything from Michael Jackson's tragic odyssey to the Bay Area's youth-culture hyphy craze. He possessed charm, dignity, heart and a world-class collection of Pez dispensers.

"Jones, whose USA TODAY career spanned nearly 28 years, died at his Herndon, Va., home Friday morning after a long illness. He was 57." Colleagues said Jones was battling a congenital lung disease.

" 'Steve had it all — talent, integrity, intelligence and a huge heart,' says executive editor Susan Weiss. 'He shared his deep knowledge of hip-hop and R&B with our readers, and he shared his smile, laughter and support with his USA TODAY colleagues.'

"A native of Washington, Jones joined USA TODAY in 1985. Before settling into the music beat in 1996, he served as a copy editor, layout editor, science editor, copy desk chief and movies and music editor. From 1992 to 1995, he co-wrote a weekly video review column that was distributed by Gannett News Service, and in 2010, he began covering DVD releases for USA TODAY. He interviewed such legends as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles and James Brown, as well as contemporary superstars like Jay Z, Kanye West and Alicia Keys. . . ."

Journal-isms is published on the site of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education (mije.org). Reprinted on The Root by permission.