Updated: Jun 25, 2020
PHOENIX, ARIZ. - On Wednesday, June 10 PRSA Phoenix and the Arizona Association of Black Journalists led a candid conversation surrounding race in the media and the role communications professionals -- including journalists -- play in the racial narrative from news coverage, client communications, and community/stakeholder relations.
The panel of seasoned journalists and communicators shared their life experiences as people of color and their expertise with more than 100 participants and was moderated by PRSA Phoenix Professional Development Committee Chair, Cynthia Weaver. The lineup included :
Warren Trent, 3TV Reporter & Producer
LaTricia Woods, APR, Mahogany Xan Communications
Jamar Younger, President Arizona Association of Black Journalists
Karl Gentles, APR, Managing Partner Gentles Agency
Crystal Houston, MBA, MA, Co-founder & CSO, Citefull
Kiarra Spottsville, Student President, Arizona Association of Black Journalists at ASU
Topics ranged from personal stories of discrimination shared by panelists and the current state of racial unrest in the U.S. to diversifying newsrooms from the top and coaching clients on communicating their message genuinely, inclusively, and accurately.
Panelists focused on actions that communicators can take right now to be a part of the solution, and many agreed sympathy is no longer enough.
Jamar Younger, President Arizona Association of Black Journalists, told PRSA Phoenix after the event: "It was important to discuss how we could be more inclusive in our news coverage and communications so we could improve the ways we interact with our sources, colleagues and the community. I look forward to working with PRSA as we look to put these talking points into action."
The PRSA Phoenix Board of Directors agrees and has slated in collaboration with AZABJ several opportunities to be agents of change right here in the Valley. PRSA Phoenix Board President, Diane Smith, said:
“This event was just the beginning and as we discussed during our conversation last night, words are not enough. We are ready to support AZABJ to turn ideas into action, including a high school mentorship program that introduces students to careers based in writing from journalism, PR, and strategic communications to content and creative roles."
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