NABJ commission decides not to rejoin Unity

A National Association of Black Journalists commission has decided that the organization will not reunite with Unity. President Greg Lee said NABJ — which is having its annual convention in New Orleans this week — will officially announce the news to its members during a business meeting on Saturday.

“We just felt that Unity lost its way as an advocacy organization,” Lee said by phone. “It’s not the same as it was when we first joined.”

There’s a lack of governance structure within Unity, he said, and it’s no longer financially prudent for NABJ to be part of the alliance. NABJ’s decision to withdraw from Unity in April 2011 stirred mixed reactions from members, some of whom voted to seek reunification.

Lee talked with Unity President Joanna Hernandez about reunifying, but ultimately wanted it to be an internal decision. He created a commission to assess the relationship between the two organizations, and appointed members who were in favor of NABJ’s withdrawal as well as some who were opposed to it.

“They were part of this whole process, and while they understand that it’s a painful thing to do, after examining all the issue and aspects, they now too agree that we should remain out,” Lee said. “They realize things have changed, and I think the membership will agree.”

Related: NLGJA accepts invitation to join Unity | NABJ co-founder says Unity’s mission has changed since NLGJA joined | Unity president ‘immensely sad’ when alliance voted to drop ‘journalists of color’ from name

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  • Tracie Powell

    All great questions Mike. 

    I can’t wait to hear/read some of the answers. 

  • Mike Green

    How does Unity fell about the decision by NABJ? 
    What is the status of Unity that compels NABJ to distance itself? 
    How do the members of Unity feel about the direction of the organization? 
    Is Unity still as viable and relevant today for the remaining members of the alliance? 
    What problems did NABJ encounter that caused it to leave and what problems persist that keep NABJ from reuniting? 
    Are the perceived problems by NABJ shared perceptions among other members organizations of the Unity Alliance? 
    How does NLGJA respond to the NABJ-Unity debate? What do the members of the individual organizations think about their continued alliance within the Unity construct? 
    Will Unity survive? 
    Will there be a Unity Conference in 2016?
    Minus a collaborative alliance, will individual minority journalists associations, like NABJ, develop an increased capacity to achieve mission impact as separate entities?It appears to me that amid a drastic contraction of the media industry over the past four years and a significant setback in diversity progress across the media landscape, the disconnection and fragmenting of the journalist associations of color potentially signals the end of an era in diversity progress in corporate media.Am I wrong? Are the journalists associations of color working collaboratively outside of the Unity umbrella?