The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania will serve as the backdrop for the National Association of Black Journalists regional conference, a gathering of communication professionals and students from throughout the Northeast this weekend.

The NABJ, the largest organization for journalists of color, provides educational support and career development to its members worldwide. 

The summit will begin with a reception at WHYY Friday evening;  workshops and lectures at the Annenberg School set for Saturday will focus on diversity, innovation, and technology.

It's more important than ever to have more minority reporters in newsrooms — and more newsrooms covering a range of stories that reflect opinions, issues, and events within diverse communities, said Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists President Melony Roy.

"I want us to be ready, so we don't have to get ready," she said. "I want us to get ready to stay ready. We have to know our history to know our future."

Johann Calhoun, the NABJ Region 1 director, said the conference underscores the organization's steadfast commitment to help diversify newsrooms nationwide. It will also position the city of Philadelphia as a burgeoning hub of innovation and technology that offers young journalists a rich spectrum of stories to cover.

"Innovation is moving the (journalism) industry along, and it's important to have diversity as a part of innovation," he said. "Diversity pushes innovation along because you have diverse voices and ideas and differences and thoughts."

The conference will highlight several projects taking root in Philadelphia. They include Comcast's Innovation and Technology Tower; University of Pennsylvania's Pennovation; Drexel University's Schuylkill Yards; and the Science Center's uCity Square Project.

Community members and leaders will talk about how these projects are impacting their neighborhoods. 


In the audio link above, Morning Edition host Jennifer Lynn speaks with Johann Calhoun and Melony Roy about newsroom diversity. Their conversation took place earlier this month, just after news broke of the death of NABJ and PABJ founder Claude Lewis. Lewis taught at Villanova University and wrote a column for The Bulletin until it folded in 1982. Later, he wrote a syndicated column for the Philadelphia Inquirer. He was 82.