Here is the latest news from NABJ President Dorothy Tucker:
We can now announce that the NABJ-NAHJ 2020 Convention & Career Fair will not be held in-person. We will have a virtual convention, an option that we have been exploring for weeks. Keep reading for more exciting information! First, it’s important that you understand our strategy has always been to help keep our members safe and to avoid $1.3 million in hotel contract cancellation penalties. (That’s how much we would have lost if we had prematurely canceled our contract with the Marriott and Omni hotels.) Timing, legal counsel and other requirements, along with tough negotiations on the part of NABJ and Marriott, were all essential parts of getting to a final successful resolution for our members and attendees. I understand you may have been frustrated by updates that appeared to be vague, but the language was deliberate so as not to trigger an unnecessary catastrophic negative impact on our organization. To do so would have damaged our negotiations and put us in legal peril. You elected me to do what was in the best interest of NABJ. I am happy to say we have negotiated a deal that prevents NABJ from financial ruin. Thank you for trusting me.
- We began preliminary discussions of a possible virtual conference the last week in February. In the first week of March, we began reviewing virtual models including one from a respected member in the academic arena.
- For weeks, we have been talking with a few partners/sponsors about the possibility of a virtual conference and those talks have been helpful in shaping the virtual options.
- While the virtual option exploration was underway, we were also looking for alternate dates for an in-person convention but none were available because of the size of our conference. Also, it was likely that even a much later convention date this year would also have to be rescheduled. It was apparent that the feasibility of an in-person convention had dramatically diminished
- Legal counsel validated what we already knew. The only ways out of our contract
- A forced cancellation brought on by government or other restrictions triggering force majeure circumstances
- Negotiations with Marriott to release NABJ from this year’s contract