New York Association of Black Journalists

By Laws & Constitution

Ratified March, 2013 After Revision by Ad Hoc Committee

Mission Statement/Preamble:

The New York Association of Black Journalists (NYABJ), an affiliate of the National Association of Black Journalists, shall serve as a professional resource for black journalists in Greater New York; shall advocate for the First Amendment and journalistic freedoms; shall advocate for education and outreach and support news organizations in finding potential journalistic talent.


Section I

  • Sensitize the media to racism in coverage of news events, and seek to expand balanced coverage of the black community in America and abroad;
  • Advocate for journalistic freedom in the United States and, when possible, Africa, the Caribbean and other parts of the black diaspora.
  • Award scholarships to, mentor and groom student journalists at high schools, colleges and universities.
  • Honor excellence and achievement among black journalists.
  • Use members to lobby for the appointment of black professors in journalism schools.
  • Act as a clearinghouse/network for employment opportunities.
  • Work to expand opportunities for black journalists in managerial and supervisory positions.

Section II

The NYABJ shall, after membership approval, take positions on issues regarding the operation of a free press and rights of journalists. In the event of an emergency, if the general body is unable to meet for the purpose of drafting a position, the executive board shall do so, with the president serving as the official spokesperson for the organization.

The NYABJ shall remain at all times a non-partisan organization that does not endorse political candidates, or candidates for organizational office of any entity.

NYABJ’s activism shall be limited to taking positions on issues related to journalism. The organization shall not engage in any activity that jeopardizes its tax-exempt status.


Section I

Mirroring the membership guidelines of the National Association of Black Journalists, of which NYABJ is an affiliate, the NYABJ will grant full membership to any journalist (reporters, editors, photographers, graphic artists, newsroom managers, independent journalists, journalism educators, and the like who are directly involved with the gathering and dissemination of news in a print, broadcast or online environment.) or media professional (publicists, public relations professionals, media officials).

Subsection I: Only journalists may be elected or appointed to the president or vice president position.

Subsection II: Students matriculated in an institution of higher learning or high school may be granted Student Membership

All membership applications will be reviewed by the membership committee.

Section II

Membership dues will be made payable to the NYABJ through the treasurer or by any means approved by the treasurer. Members are entitled to notice of and free admittance to monthly meetings and, unless otherwise posted, free admittance to chapter meetings and other NYABJ functions, unless otherwise designated.


Section I

Officers of the NYABJ shall be full members and shall consist of the president, vice-president print, vice-president broadcast, secretary, deputy secretary, treasurer, deputy treasurer, parliamentarian and member-at-large. All officers shall serve a two-year term. The president and vice-presidents cannot serve more than two successive terms in their respective offices. The deputy secretary and the deputy treasurer shall be appointed by the president, subject to approval by the general body. The body of NYABJ officers shall be known as the Executive Board. The Executive Board shall appoint officers to vacant board positions where needed.

Section II: The President

The president shall preside over all meetings of the NYABJ membership and the executive board. The president shall see that all decisions of the membership are carried out. The president shall act as the official spokesperson for the organization. The president shall designate a vice president to act in his or her stead when necessary.

Section III: Vice Presidents

A designated vice-president shall act in the president’s stead when the president is unable to perform his or her duties. The vice presidents also will oversee committee operations, with those assignments based on the vice presidents’ respective interests and/or expertise.

Section IV: Presidential Succession

Upon the resignation of the president or if the president is unable to perform his or her duties, one of the vice presidents shall be chosen by the executive board to assume the presidency. A vote of the full membership must confirm the executive board’s selection.

Section V: The Secretary

The secretary will keep a record of all meetings of the executive board and the membership and maintain the organization’s archival files, including an annual roster of scholarship winners and award recipients. The secretary will also send out meeting notices at least 10 days prior to any NYABJ meeting. The secretary will also maintain summaries of the monthly Executive Board meeting. The deputy secretary shall assist the secretary, retrieving mail regularly from the NYABJ office and post office box, sorting it and delivering it to the appropriate NYABJ officer or committee leader and taking minutes in the secretary’s absence.

Section VI: The Treasurer

The treasurer shall maintain a thorough financial record of all monies received and spent by the NYABJ, submit financial information in a timely manner to NYABJ’s accountant for tax purposes and quarterly financial reports of expenditures, receipts, investments, etc. to the executive board and full membership. Financial records shall be made available to full members upon request. No funds will be disbursed without the signatures of the treasurer and the president. Along with the membership committee, the treasurer shall maintain a current list of all dues-paid members. The deputy treasurer shall assist the treasurer. Expenditures in excess of $500 must be approved by the Executive Board. A final financial report for major events must be submitted to the full membership within 60 days after said event. The treasurer and deputy treasurer, as need be, will handle payments and other monetary transactions at such NYABJ functions as the annual awards dinner. The treasurer shall also submit a proposed budget for each year’s spending and a financial report on the previous year’s spending.

Section VII: The Parliamentarian

The parliamentarian shall preserve order, regulate the course of debate and monitor procedures during meetings of the general body and the executive board. The parliamentarian shall also chair the bi-annual review of the bylaws, revising them as need be and presenting them for the full membership’s review and approval. The parliamentarian shall chair NYABJ’s election every two years.

Section VIII: Member-at-Large

The member-at-large shall serve as a liaison between the general body and the executive board. This officer shall retain a tie-breaking vote on the executive board and shall assist in supervision of ad-hoc committees.

Section IX: The Executive Board

The president, vice president print, vice president broadcast, secretary, deputy secretary, treasurer, deputy treasurer, parliamentarian and member-at-large will comprise the executive board. The executive board may meet at any time. The executive board is responsible for the administration of NYABJ. Only full members are allowed to sit on the executive board.

Subsection I: Requirement of NABJ membership for executive board.

To serve on the NYABJ executive board, members shall have membership in the National Association of Black Journalists. (Passed Sept. 2013)

Section X: Standing Committees

The board shall support the standing committees of NYABJ which are: Awards Competition, Fundraising, Media Watch, Membership, Programming and Scholarship/Student Outreach.

Committee co-chairs shall be appointed by the president. Committee co-chairs shall be responsible for presenting regular reports of committee activities to the executive board and to the general body during monthly meetings, and delivering copies of those reports for the secretary’s archival files. Co-chairs cannot vote as executive board members on NYABJ business matters.

The Awards Competition Committee shall oversee the annual journalism awards contest.

The Fundraising Committee shall pursue grants and explore other revenue sources for NYABJ.

The Media Watch Committee shall coordinate and facilitate the fulfillment of the goals of the organization, monitoring news coverage; maintaining a forum in which members can submit news clips, broadcasts, Web pages of coverage deemed racially insensitive; monitoring Equal Employment Opportunity and Federal Communications Commission laws and, where necessary, seek compliance with and lobby for changes in those laws.

The Membership Committee shall conduct membership drives and related activities; send notices to members about membership renewal; ensure that each member has notice designating their status as full or student members; inform other NYABJ committee leaders about members who note on membership applications their desire to work on a specific committee.

The Program Committee shall coordinate professional skills and other development sessions for members or social mixers for members or community forums on topical issues or activities done in conjunction with other journalism associations, et cetera.

The Scholarship/Student Outreach Committee shall administer the annual scholarship and essay competition; oversee the annual high school journalism workshop; solicit members from among journalism students.


Section I: Meetings

The NYABJ general body shall meet no less than 5 months out of the year. Special meetings may be called at the discretion of the executive board.

Section II: Voting stipulations

A majority vote is necessary to activate any NYABJ resolution. However, before such action can be taken, a minimum of two-thirds of voting members must be present.

Section III: Voting eligibility

To vote in a general election or at a general meeting, a member must be paid-in-full. Only full members have voting privileges.

Section IV: Notification of elections

Notification of elections and election procedures, and requirements for office must be given to the membership in three months, preceding the election. Members must formally declare their run for office, submitting their names via e-mail or postal mail to the parliamentarian and secretary no less than 30 days prior to the election. Members must receive ballots via the postal service or e-mail three weeks before the election. Ballots will also be made available electronically, via the NYABJ website. Signed absentee ballots must be received by the day of the election to be counted as valid. Members may vote via absentee ballot or cast a vote at the NYABJ election meeting.

Section IV: Replacement of officers

Motions calling for the resignation or removal of an officer shall be reviewed by the general body. A two-thirds majority vote of members in good standing is necessary for such a motion to carry. Interim replacement of officers in the midst of their elected term shall be decided by the executive board if no candidates emerge to fill such vacancies. Such decisions are subject to approval of the general body.

Section V: Eligibility requirements for candidates

Candidacy for all elected offices is limited to full NYABJ members who have been members in good standing for at least six (6) months prior to elections. This rule may be relaxed at the executive board’s discretion.

Section VI: Dues

NYABJ membership dues shall be determined by the general body.

Section VII: Payment of dues

Dues shall be paid on an ongoing basis and are good for one calendar year from the time of payment.


Section I

The bylaws of the New York Association of Black Journalists shall be subject to review and amendment.

Section II

The bylaws of NYABJ shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order (current edition).