[Rochester, N.Y.] – The Rochester Association of Black Journalists (RABJ), which covers the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, will observe a momentous occasion as a professional organization at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 31 at Monroe’s, 3001 Monroe Ave.
“We are so excited about celebrating our 15th anniversary as a chapter and look forward to continuing our advocacy for fellow journalists and educating the public about media issues of the day,” said RABJ President Richard McCollough, who is also a local meteorologist.
Johann Calhoun, a news and special projects editor for The Philadelphia Tribute in Pennsylvania and Region 1 director for the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) is the special guest for the event and has been invited to deliver remarks at the luncheon.
Founded on April 17, 2004 by reporters, photographers, copy editors, along with those in allied professions such as in public relations, RABJ’ has had as one of its core goals to bring diversity into the newsrooms of local print, broadcast and online media outlets.
Today’s RABJ members stand on the shoulders of many notable African Americans who have contributed much to Rochester such as publisher Frederick Douglass (The North Star); Howard W. Coles, Rochester’s first Black radio announcer (WSAY); Earl Caldwell, whose assignments as a reporter included the civil rights beat (Democrat and Chronicle); Andrew Langston, founder city’s first Black radio station (WDKX); and Janet Lomax, the first Black woman to anchor a main, weeknight newscast in Rochester (WHEC).
A few of the highlights, since RABJ’s inception in 2004, are as follows:
*The Wyoma Best Scholarship Fund for Future Journalists: providing financial assistance to graduating high school seniors interested in communications and media studies.
*Black Cinema Series: presented in partnership with The Little Theatre, the series — now in its third year — celebrates both documentary and narrative expressions in black cinema with a curated film choice each month.
*Celebrating 200th Anniversary of Frederick Douglass
*RABJ Legends: An on-going documentary project about Rochester’s rich African-American heritage featuring video interviews with Rochester’s most influential figures who blasted through barriers in such fields as politics, education, and science.
*Mentoring: Organizes workshops for high school students considering being journalists.
*Media Watchdog: Advocates for African Americans to be depicted in a fair and balanced way, points out bias and insensitivity while helping to advance solutions.
*We welcome all to help us reflect on these accomplishments as we look to our future.
Admission is $60 for RABJ’s anniversary luncheon; tickets will not be sold at the door.