TAMPA, FLA. - August 11, 2009 - The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) announced the winners of its annual Salute to Excellence Awards including special honors for Michele Norris, Michael Wilbon and Cynthia Gordy Saturday at a gala at the Tampa Convention Center, host to the organization's 2009 Annual Convention and Career Fair.
The awards recognize journalists in more than 70 categories including special categories for new media. They are also the country's only honors to commend the exemplary journalists covering the African and African-American experience.
Receiving special honors at the ceremony were NABJ Journalist of the Year Michele Norris of National Public Radio; Lifetime Achievement Award winner Michael Wilbon ofThe Washington Post and ESPN; and Emerging Journalist of the Year Cynthia Gordy ofESSENCE Magazine.
"Your excellent work means so much in light of the fact that we are all doing so much more with less," said NABJ President-elect Kathy Times, who assumed the presidency of the organization on Sunday. "We're going to make it together. We must embrace 21st century technology."
CNN's T.J. Holmes emceed the event and 700 were on hand to recognize publications like The Washington Post, which received six awards including honors to Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Eugene Robinson. The Plain Dealer of Cleveland also received three awards. In magazine, ESSENCE won four awards; EBONY won three; and Bloomberg Markets Magazine took home two awards.
In radio, National Public Radio won three awards. In television, both Tampa's WTVT-TV and Bay News 9 were recognized, while Silver Spring, Md.-based TV One won for a Johnathan Rodgers/ Roland Martin interview with Michelle Obama in 2008. In new media, Newsweek.com won two awards and the Oakland-based The Chauncey Bailey Project won for best New Media Online Project: News.
"NABJ launched my career. It nurtured my career and it continues to stand as a beacon in my life," said NPR Morning Edition co-host Michele Norris upon receiving her award. "When they say the best days of journalism are behind us, prove them wrong."
Co-host of ESPN's Pardon The Interruption (PTI) Michael Wilbon also spoke to a strong contingent of sports fans in attendance.
"What I've been for the last 30 years, no matter what the medium, is a sportswriter. And I'm damn proud to be one," Wilbon said. "We're the ones who remind the world that eight years before we'd heard of Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson sacrificed the final third of his life to integrate baseball and change the world."
The Salute to Excellence National Media Awards competition is open to all media organizations and individuals involved in print, broadcast and/or online journalism media. Entries were judged on content, creativity, innovation, use of the medium and relevance to the black community.
The NABJ Convention is the largest gathering of minority journalists in the country with 2,000 in attendance at this year's event. For more information about the NABJ Convention or the 2009 Salute to Excellence Awards and for a complete list of winners, please go to: www.nabj.org.
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization of journalists of color in the nation, with more than 3,200 members, and provides educational, career development and support to black journalists worldwide.