UNITY ’08 Attendees Focus on New Journalism

UNITY ’08 Attendees Focus on New Journalism

Panel discussions vary from sports reporting to health care coverage


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CHICAGO, July 23 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — New journalism this time around means delivering the news in a wide variety of ever-evolving platforms, from blogs and television on the web to traditional newspaper stories accompanied by interactive tools on the Internet. Some 6,000 journalists of color are digging deep into what it means to be a reporter in all these formats, while still delivering quality investigative, informative and entertaining news, during UNITY ’08, the convention currently underway at McCormick Place West until July 27.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080723/UNITYLOGO )

Thursday’s highlights at UNITY ’08 include:

— A special two-hour screening of CNN Presents: Black in America will be shown without commercials during UNITY ’08. The program includes the documentaries “The Black Woman and Family” and “The Black Man,” which focus on fresh analysis from new voices about the real lives behind the stereotypes, statistics and identity politics that frequently frame the national dialogue about Black America. 6 to 8 p.m. McCormick Place West, W196.

The schedule for shuttle buses from McCormick Place West back to the convention hotels will be extended until 8:30 p.m. on Thursday night.

— It’s been 20 years since the historic joint board meeting held by the four ethnic journalism associations that make up the alliance UNITY: Journalists of Color. Join a panel of past and present UNITY leadership for a discussion about the significance of the alliance during the panel breakfast: “Building UNITY.” This session focuses on UNITY’s role in the midst of unprecedented industry uncertainty and unmet expectations of racial and ethnic parity. Panelists include moderator Jon Funakibi of San Francisco State University, Juan Gonzalez of the New York Daily News, Karen Lincoln Michel of UNITY, Will Sutton of Hampton University and Traci Tong of PRI’s “The World.” 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. McCormick Place West, W185.

— The NABJ Sports Task Force, in association with UNITY ’08, presents a breakfast panel about the transition of career paths from print to

multi-platform journalism. At this panel sponsored by ESPN, attendees will learn from the insights and experiences of seasoned ESPN anchors, writers and reporters. 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. McCormick Place West, W183A.

— NABJ hosts its Hall of Fame Banquet with Lester Holt of NBC News honoring 2008 inductees. Winners of the organization’s Special Honors Awards will also be honored. Noon, McCormick Place South.

— Four press conferences are scheduled from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. inside the McCormick Place Expo Hall on Thursday.

Noon – Joint conference: “Washington Press Corp Study II/ The UNITY/McCormick Foundation Electronic Clearinghouse for News Diversity” will both be released. Funded by the McCormick Foundation, the Washington Press Corp Study II is a follow-up to the 2004 study that concluded less than 10.5 percent of the reporters, correspondents, columnists, editors and bureau chiefs in the Washington daily newspaper press corps are journalists of color – 60 out of 574.

The UNITY/McCormick Foundation Electronic Clearinghouse for News Diversity is an online database of more than 400 research studies, books, professional articles and organization reports dealing with issues of racial and ethnic diversity in journalism.

12:30 p.m. – “Kids Count” data will be released by The Annie E. Casey Foundation. The foundation will for the first time release comprehensive state and national data on child well-being broken down by race, including critical information on African-American, Hispanic, Asian and Native-American children and families.

1:30 p.m. – The USC Annenberg School for Communication will announce the appointment of Geneva Overholser to be the new director of USC Annenberg’s School of Journalism. Dean Ernest J. Wilson III, the school’s first African American dean, will make the announcement. Ms. Overholser is the first woman to lead the school. The two will discuss the future of journalism education and new initiatives to attract a diversity of students.

— “Fiesta to the Chicago Beat,” a welcome-to-Chicago party hosted by NAHJ and sponsored by FedEx, is a world-music bash inside a spot inspired by the 13th-century Alhambra palace in Spain. Party-goers can challenge their creative side with outdoor patio matches of “Guitar Hero” and mix and mingle inside. Starting at 9:30 p.m., shuttle buses will be departing from the Sheraton and Hyatt convention hotels. 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Alhambra Palace, 1240 W. Randolph, in Chicago’s West Loop.

— The Media Showcase and Career Expo 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. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. McCormick Place Expo Hall.

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.

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 www.unityjournalists.org, email info@unityjournalists.org or call

(703) 854-3585.

UNITY ’08 Attendees Focus on New Journalism