The alliance of minority journalists known as UNITY suffered a huge blow yesterday, as the board of the National Association of Black Journalists voted to pull out of the organization.
NABJ wanted a bigger piece of the convention revenues, given that more of their members attend the event, which is held every 4 years. NABJ’s argument is that they can generate more income in a stand-alone year than during the UNITY convention and that the alliance’s business model is no longer viable for their financial needs.
NABJ’s withdrawal puts UNITY in an extremely difficult position. The minority journalist coalition, which is scheduled to meet in Las Vegas in 2012, would face its own financial crisis, given that all of its contracts – hotel, food and beverage – for the event are based on the combined attendance of members from the 4 groups. If they don’t meet the stipulated numbers in the hotel contract, for example, UNITY would have to pick up the expense.
UNITY was formed in 1994 as a non-profit strategic alliance of ethnic journalists working collaboratively to improve coverage of communities of color and advance professional opportunities for the members of the 4 groups – NAHJ, NABJ, AAJA, and NAJA, in the news industry.