Plenary Session at UNITY ’08 on Globalization at 9:00 A.M. in Skyline...

Plenary Session at UNITY ’08 on Globalization at 9:00 A.M. in Skyline Ballroom


CHICAGO, July 24 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Environmental activist Winona LaDuke and James Makawa, CEO of The Africa Channel will be featured at the UNITY plenary session “What the World Needs Now: Globalization, the New Economies and the Role of the Media.” This session, sponsored by Eli Lilly and Company, will look at significant challenges and changes across the globe – from economic growth to health issues to war and peace-and the role of media and communication in telling these stories. The session will be moderated by Ray Suarez, senior correspondent, The NewsHour (PBS).

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Friday’s highlights at UNITY ’08 include:

— The National Association of Black Journalists presents a plenary session with Senegalese President Wade: Confronting Climate Change, an African Perspective. Moderated by John Yearwood, World Editor, The Miami Herald. 1:30 to 3 p. m., McCormick Place West, W196.

— The International Women’s Media Foundation presents a panel breakfast meeting where successful women in the media industry will talk about how they rose through the ranks. The panel includes Maureen Bunyan of WJLA-TV in Washington, DC; Liza Gross of The Miami Herald; Marcy McGinnis of Stony Brook University; Soledad O’Brien of CNN; and Carole Simpson of “World News Tonight Sunday,” ABC News. 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. McCormick Place West, W185A.

— The Making News Panel “Incarceration Nation: Covering America’s Prison-Industrial Complex” discusses three decades of draconian sentencing policies that have expanded the number of Americans locked up each year – a population that is overwhelmingly comprised of African Americans, Latinos, and increasingly, women. 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. McCormick Place West, W195.

— Eli Lilly and Company help present “Media Spotlight: Confronting the Nation’s Most Pressing Health Issues.” The discussion is a challenge for journalists who cover health issues to find ways of delivering stories that are of particular relevance at a time of massive demographic changes in America. Join a panel of medical and health care journalists to discuss how to improve coverage and ask questions such as: How do clinical trials affect blacks, Latinos, Asians and Native Americans? Are the mental health care needs of ethnic minorities inherently different from those of whites? 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. McCormick Place West, W190.

— NABJ reveals its “Thumbs Down Award,” a dubious distinction for a media company that has not shown much interest in diversifying its ranks or coverage. The organization’s Media Diversity Census and Percy Qoboza Award will also be announced. 11 to 11:30 a.m. McCormick Place West, W182.

— Six press conferences are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. inside the McCormick Place Expo Hall on Friday.

11 a.m. – The Schott Foundation for Public Education will release “Given Half a Chance: The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education for African American Males.” More than 50 years ago, Brown vs. Board of Education dismantled the legal basis for racial segregation in public schools, yet the national average graduation rate of African American males from high school does not exceed 50 percent in most urban districts and is well below that in others.

11:30 a.m. – The American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) presents “Disproportionate Energy Cost Burdens Minority Households.” Energy prices are rising to unprecedented levels, squeezing family budgets across the country. The largest impacts are occurring among minority families, who are disproportionately represented among lower-income households.

12:30 p.m. – American Red Cross will have Gail McGovern, the new President and CEO speak about her plans for diversity, disaster and preparedness, fundraising and the company moving forward.

1:30 p.m. – The Donald W. Reynolds National Center for Business Journalism presents “Is media coverage of private and minority-owned business fair or biased?” The conversation includes results of a national survey that finds one-third of the responding minority business owners saw media bias in coverage of their companies.

2:30 p.m. – Radio One’s groundbreaking study “Black America Today” will be presented. The study provides a detailed snapshot of African American life, finding strong group identity across age and income brackets. It also discloses a comprehensive and nuanced look at how African Americans feel about many aspects of life in America, and cautions against a simplistic reading of Black America as a monolithic group.

3:30 p.m. – Friends of the Congo will announce the Break the Silence Congo Week, October 19 – 25, 2008 where students and community organizers throughout the globe will organize events and activities in solidarity with the people of the Congo in an effort to focus more attention on the Congo with expectations of bringing an end to the conflict in that country where 1,000 people continue to die each day.

— NAJA presents “Who is an Indian? Your Guide to Covering Native Americans.” From the ongoing controversy about excluding non-Indians in some tribes, to President George Bush’s infamous UNITY ’04 convention stumble when asked to describe the meaning of tribal sovereignty, this panel discussion will answer important cultural, legal and historic questions. 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. McCormick Place West, W471.

— Black/brown relations are explored in the panel “Cooperation, Competition or Coopetition? Black-Latino Politics in the Post-Southern Strategy Era.” The tensions and economic competition between blacks and Latinos reportedly taking place in the streets of Los Angeles, New Orleans and other U.S. cities have now become the media’s dominant narrative of black-Latino relations in the political realm. How true is the narrative? 3 to 4:30 p.m. McCormick Place West, W175.

— AAJA holds its Silent Auction and Reception starting at 5:30 p.m. in Columbus Hall at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. The auction includes airline tickets, designer accessories, Xbox games, lunches with top editors, signed game tickets and taping of shows such as Ellen, Leno or Jimmy Kimmel. The AAJA celebration continues with a Gala Scholarship and Awards Banquet from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Chicago, Grand Ballroom.

— NAHJ holds its Hall of Fame Gala when inductees UNITY co-founder Juan Gonzalez of the New York Daily News, Maggie Rivas-Rodriguez of the University of Texas at Austin and Francisco P. Ramirez, editor of El Clamor Publico in California, will be honored. The State Farm sponsored gala will be followed by El Gran Baile, an after party open to all. 7 to 10 p.m., Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, Chicago Ballroom. The dance party starts at 10:30 p.m.

— NAJA holds its Awards Banquet with Native American comedian and actor Charlie Hill providing the evening’s entertainment. The NAJA silent auction and election begin at 6 p.m. and the banquet begins at 7 p.m. Chicago Indian Center, 1630 W. Wilson Ave.

— NABJ Chicago Chapter holds its fundraising party, “Mo’ Chocolate Jam!” with Tom Joyner and Steve “Silk” Hurley, plus special guests Ramonski Luv and Joe Soto. Tickets can be purchased on site, $10 in advance. 10 p.m. to 2 a.m., Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers, River Hall, Level 1.

— The Media Expo and Career Center remains open all day. The expo features a career center with workshops, a photojournalism gallery, demos of the latest digital technology, a press conference area, a bookstore, author appearances, a cyber cafe and networking lounges. 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. McCormick Place Expo Hall.

NOTE: Members of the working press who wish to cover this forum will need to obtain press credentials. The process for acquiring credentials can be accessed through the convention website at For additional information on obtaining credentials, contact Rahnesha White, UNITY Communications Manager at

About UNITY ’08 Convention

Nearly 6,000 attendees are registered for the UNITY: Journalists of Color quadrennial convention from July 23-27 at McCormick Place West in Chicago. Titled “A New Journalism for a Changing World,” the five-day convention includes working journalists discussing diversity in the middle of a rapidly evolving news industry, plus dozens of student journalism projects including a newspaper and online newscast, a student training campus at Columbia College Chicago, a Career Expo, author appearances, awards galas recognizing journalism leaders and special evening events.

UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc. is a strategic alliance of four national associations: Asian American Journalists Association, National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the Native American Journalists Association. In addition to planning the largest regular gathering of journalists in the nation, UNITY develops programs and institutional relationships that promote its mission. For more information on UNITY, visit , email or call (703) 854-3585.

Plenary Session at UNITY ’08 on Globalization at 9:00 A.M. in Skyline Ballroom