THE NABJ GLOBAL JOURNALISM TASK FORCE MISSION
The Global Journalism Task Force was founded in August 1984 after a New York Times executive editor attended an NABJ conference and expressed surprise at the number of black journalists he saw. Its founders realized that it was important not only to celebrate the number of black journalists around the world, but also to increase the coverage of world affairs impacting black Americans. Initially called the NABJ Africa Outreach Committee, the group later became the NABJ World Affairs Task Force. In keeping with its mission to connect black journalists around the world and to increase and improve coverage of other countries, particularly the African Diaspora, the task force’s name was changed in January 2011 to the NABJ Global journalism task Force.
The task force’s missions of major focus are as follows:
ONE: To increase and improve black journalists’ coverage of other countries and of the African Diaspora, which represents at least 14 percent of the world’s population.
TWO: To strengthen resources and create a sourcebook for black journalists across America to foster the idea that reporters need not be foreign correspondents to cover news in the world’s 193 countries and to ensure improved coverage of stories garnering world attention.
THREE: To recognize, through the Percy Qoboza Award, the groundbreaking, and sometimes life-threatening work done by foreign journalists from the Diaspora. The award is named for Percy Peter Tshidiso Qoboza, editor of The World newspaper in Soweto, South Africa, whose powerful columns ranged from coverage of the 1976 Soweto riots to the tragic horror of apartheid and the white minority government’s treatment of millions of black Africans. During his tenure, The World became the most read newspaper by South Africa’s black population. He died at 50. The Qoboza is “awarded to a foreign journalist who has done extraordinary work – while overcoming tremendous obstacles – that contributes to the enrichment, understanding or advancement of people or issues in the African Diaspora.”
FOUR: To provide opportunities, through the Ethel Payne Fellowship, for black journalists to gain experience in reporting overseas either as correspondents or for singular reports. The fellowship is named for the first female, African-American commentator employed by a U.S. network when CBS hired her in 1972. Known as the “First Lady of the Black Press,” Payne, a Chicago native, was a lecturer and columnist whose eloquent advocacy while reporting on the civil rights movement during the 1950s and 1960s gained her national fame.
FIVE: To provide opportunities to access world leaders through the United Nations General Assembly and other avenues. Over the past several decades, Task Force members have interacted with and interviewed dozens of Heads of State during the annual United Nations General Assembly in September. The Task Force has also hosted press breakfasts with the leaders to give NABJ members exclusive access to leaders who are often difficult to reach.
SIX: To advise NABJ’s leadership on opportunities to speak out against the mistreatment of journalists worldwide.
SEVEN: To advise NABJ’s leadership in its interactions with foreign governments to avoid conflicts of interest and ensure maintenance of ethical guidelines.
The task force members strive to meet quarterly in digital or phone conferences as well as during the annual convention of the NABJ.