In a year that has seen layoffs, cutbacks and an inevitable decline in revenue in the business world, the San Diego Association of Black Journalists (SDABJ) was well aware nonprofits such as ours would likely be among the casualties as donors had difficult decisions to make financially.
As SDABJ celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2020, we want to acknowledge two sponsors, in particular, who have figured out a way to continue to support us financially and in-kind as we try to grow the next generation of journalists.
NBC San Diego has been our most stalwart and unfaltering sponsor over the years. In addition to financial support, the station has offered its office space for events such as the 2016 scholarship reception. The station was also home to the group’s monthly meetings until the pandemic struck.
Members of the NBC and Telemundo staff have participated in our annual Pro for a Day workshop held in late Fall each year at Southwestern College in Chula Vista.
The programming department has wrangled gift baskets with such coveted items as tickets to “The Ellen Show” as raffle items. Todd Mokhtari, general manager of NBC 7/Telemundo 20, said “Supporting diversity in journalism is critical. Without voices from different backgrounds, experiences and beliefs, we will fail to serve our community properly. It is even more important to support efforts and organizations like SDABJ during these tough times.” This is not the first time Mokhtari has shown SDABJ a little love. In 2014, while he was news director of KNBC in Los Angeles, he signed off on giving its lead nightside reporter, Beverly White, the day off so she could be the keynote speaker for the SDABJ scholarship reception.
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, SDABJ was unable to hold a public acknowledgement of the 2020 scholarship recipients this year. That didn’t stop the San Diego Union-Tribune from reaching out to us to make a contribution. Jeff Light, the publisher and editor-in-chief of the U-T actively participated in SDABJ events since 2019.
Light provided valuable insights into his career journey during a panel discussion at “Pro for a Day” in November. He explained the need for diversity in newsrooms drives him to support the efforts of journalism groups like ours. “We are proud to support the San Diego Association of Black Journalists and its mission to mentor and provide support to the next generation of journalists. The San Diego Union-Tribune shares the same goals of supporting journalistic excellence, education, and celebrating and fostering diversity and inclusiveness in our community. We believe it’s important to have reporters that represent the diverse communities we cover.”
SDABJ is known as “The little chapter that could.” But without the support and recognition from journalism entities such as NBC and the U-T, we could not.
We thank NBC 7/Telemundo 20 and The San Diego Union-Tribune for reinforcing the importance of the work SDABJ does every day.