Note: This is all in good fun, so if you are REALLY serious about your job and don’t like good-natured ribbing you should probably stop reading or at least accept my apologies in advance.
National Association of Black Journalists convention is about fun and equality for all but I have to admit that I have noticed an unofficial hierarchy. It’s very similar to what you would find at a historically black college or university. Here’s a look at some of the people you will meet and what groups they have the most in common with.
- Sports Personalities – They are the frats, the conference rock stars. People just want to be around them. To a young journalist trying to come up they have “made it”. It’s appropriate that the conference was in New Orleans this year because people were treating Jemele Hill, Bomani Jones, Michael Smith and Stan Verrett like they were Cash Money Records artists in the 90’s.
- TV Reporters and Anchors – Sorority girls. Always dressed nicely, always smiling and always ready to be in front in people. Another group that young convention goers love. Usually an easy target for haters but they don’t let if phase them.
- PR Folks – SGA members. They make sure that you know them and that you will NEVER forget them. Always willing to let you know that they are there to help you. Looked down upon by some of the “real” journalists but not as bad as people make them out to be. Always nice because it’s in their job description.
- Print Reporters – The O.G’s (a.k.a the Old Heads). Fifth year seniors with lot of knowledge about the business and non-traditional studies proving that it is not just a young man’s game. They are always willing to share some knowledge or tell you about the good old days, even if you don’t want to hear it. Think Ice Cube’s character in Higher Learning.
- Arts/Entertainment/Feature Reporters – The artsy, neo-soul folks. They know about underground artists you’ve never heard of. They only listen to REAL rap. They wear outfits that range from unique to questionable. They usually avoid the big parties and go to the smaller local places.
- Digital and Multimedia Journalists – Nerds!!!! Even though you may not like or understand them, you know that you need a few of them. They will help you with an online package or blog post for little more than a smile or a chance to hang out with the cool people.
- Photographers/Videographers – Band members. Don’t confuse them with band geeks because at HBCUs they are high on the totem pole. If you are not a member you don’t really understand so it’s best to just sit back and enjoy their work. They’ve been working on their craft for years so don’t think you can just pick up an instrument and do what they do no matter how easy it looks.
- Radio – The party people that major is general studies. For some reason, no one really takes them seriously but they are cool folks to be around.
- Professional Bloggers – The cats who aren’t even enrolled at the school but still hang out on campus and know about all the good parties before you do.
And before anyone says anything, I know that I am 100% nerd.