Laws & Constitution
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 media organizations in finding potential journalistic talent.
Article I - Name
The name of the organization shall be New York Association of Black Journalists Inc. (hereafter called the “NYABJ” or the “organization”). The organization shall be affiliated with the National Association of Black Journalists and/or other organizations whose published objectives parallel those of the NYABJ.
The purpose of the NYABJ shall be the organizing of Black journalists into a cohesive group in order to:
- Sensitize the media to racism in coverage of news events, and seek to expand balanced coverage of the Black community in the United States of 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.
- Utilize members to lobby for the appointment of Black professors in journalism schools.
- Act as a clearinghouse and network for employment opportunities.
- Work to expand opportunities for Black journalists in managerial and supervisory positions.
The NYABJ shall, after membership approval, take positions on issues regarding the operation of a free press and rights of journalists. 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.
ARTICLE III — MEMBERSHIP ELIGIBILITY
Full membership shall be open to:
- 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.)
- Media professional (publicists, public relations professionals, media officials).
- Journalists with at least three (3) years of experience who have moved into positions that are related to journalism, but do not fit in Section 1 (a) or (b). These positions include: professors, heads of journalistic think tanks, documentary filmmakers and independent producers whose product relates to news and/or journalism (e.g. documentaries focused on newsworthy, cultural or historical topics in an objective and/or journalistic way) and columnists who produce journalistic product for news media organizations.
Student membership shall be open to:
- Any person who currently is a full-time student at a high school or an accredited college or university who is either majoring in print or broadcast journalism, or has expressed an interest in pursuing a journalism career.
a. These members have no voting powers, but may serve in appointed positions in the organization, except where prohibited by these bylaws.
All membership applications will be subject to the review of the membership committee as specified in Article V, Section 3.
ARTICLE IV. 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.
Meetings of the membership shall be held at such times and places as shall be designated by the Executive Board. Robert’s Rules of Order shall apply during all meetings of the NYABJ membership and the Executive Board. The meeting will be led by the president, acting vice president(s) or by one of the remaining Executive Board members in the absence of the president and vice president(s).
Written notice stating the place, day and time of all meetings and the purpose for which the meeting is called shall be delivered by the secretary to each member not less than five (5) working days prior to any meeting.
Every NYABJ meeting shall have an agenda prepared by the president. Any NYABJ member may submit a proposal, resolution or other item to be included on a meeting agenda. Such information should be submitted in writing to the secretary no less than five (5) working days prior to the next meeting. All proposals shall be reviewed by the Executive Board.
If an author is unable to attend the general body meeting, the president shall announce the proposal or resolution and make a recommendation from the Executive Board. If a vote is required, a quorum of a majority of the eligible members present is required to take action. Items
also may be added to the agenda for the upcoming general meeting by a motion from the floor during any membership meeting.
ARTICLE V. Fiscal Year and Dues.
The fiscal year shall be from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 of each calendar year.
The Executive Board shall set the membership dues with approval of a majority of voting members at a given membership meeting. Annual dues shall not exceed that levied by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ).
Membership dues are good for a full year. Annual dues payment covers membership for a year from the date of payment. Memberships not renewed or paid one year after the date of previous dues payment will be discontinued. During election years, dues must be paid by May 1 in order to be in good standing to vote. Members seeking to run for office must pay dues by May 1 and remain active through the date of election with no lapses.
ARTICLE VI. Officers.
The offices of the association shall be president, vice president-print, vice president-broadcast, vice president-digital/new media, secretary, deputy secretary, treasurer, deputy treasurer, parliamentarian and member-at-large, which shall constitute the Executive Board and all of whom may vote on Executive Board matters. Board members shall hold each other accountable and ensure that all duties and responsibilities mandated by the bylaws are carried out.
The president or his/her designate shall preside over all meetings of the NYABJ membership and the Executive Board and shall have the responsibility to ensure that all decisions of the Executive Board and membership are carried out.
The president or the designated vice president in the president’s absence shall prepare an agenda for every NYABJ meeting. The president, or designated vice president in the president’s absence, shall act as the organization’s official spokesperson.
The president shall have a vote.
A designated vice president shall act in the president’s stead when the president is unable to perform their duties.
The vice president(s) shall oversee committee operations, membership and other assignments based on the vice presidents’ respective interest and expertise.
The secretary shall have the responsibility of keeping accurate minutes of all NYABJ membership and Executive Board meetings and sending them to the Executive Board.
The secretary must send draft of board meeting minutes and general body meeting minutes to the Executive Board within ten (10) calendar days after each meeting has taken place.
The secretary must correct inaccuracies noted in minutes and resend to the Executive Board for review five (5) working days prior to the scheduled meeting to be voted upon.
The Secretary must ensure a proper file is maintained of all NYABJ membership lists, accurate correspondences and actions taken by the membership and the Executive Board. The secretary shall also be responsible for making sure that all meeting notices are sent out five (5) working days prior to every NYABJ meeting and Executive Board meeting. A deputy secretary who is a member in good standing may be appointed by the president upon approval from general body. The deputy secretary shall assist the secretary in retrieving mail regularly from the NYABJ post office box and delivering it to the appropriate NYABJ officer or committee leader and taking minutes in the secretary’s absence.
The treasurer shall have the responsibility of maintaining a complete financial record, including all monies received and/or expended by the NYABJ, and presenting that information to the membership at each chapter meeting.
The treasurer must be bonded upon taking office by a certified bonding firm. No checks will be issued without the signature of the treasurer and president.
The treasurer shall also have the responsibility of making sure members’ dues are up to date.
The treasurer shall notify members whose dues or other outstanding obligations to the organization have not been paid that they cannot participate in any NYABJ deliberations or vote on membership issues, pending full payment of the dues. The deputy treasurer shall assist the treasurer.
- The treasurer shall serve as chairperson of the Finance/Fundraising Committee.
The parliamentarian, using Robert's Rules of Order and these NYABJ bylaws, shall preserve order, regulate the course of debate and monitor procedures at executive board and membership meetings.
- The parliamentarian shall serve as chairperson overseeing the Elections Committee. If the parliamentarian is seeking elected office, the parliamentarian shall appoint an Elections Committee chairperson.
- The parliamentarian shall serve as chairperson overseeing the Bylaws Committee, revise the bylaws as needed and present them for the full membership’s review and approval in accordance with Article XIV, Section 1.
- The parliamentarian shall also conduct a biennial review of bylaws.
The member-at-large shall serve as a liaison between the general body and shall assist in supervision of ad-hoc committees.
ARTICLE VII. — Duties of the Executive Board.
The Executive Board shall be composed of the president, vice president-print, vice president-broadcast, vice president digital/new media, secretary, deputy secretary, treasurer, deputy treasurer, parliamentarian and member-at-large
The Executive Board will meet prior to each membership meeting to map out plans and ideas for the full body to follow or act upon.
Notice for Executive Board meetings shall come from the president at least five (5) working days prior to the meeting. Every NYABJ meeting shall have an agenda prepared by the president or designated vice president in the president’s absence.
The meeting will be led by the president, vice president(s) or one of the remaining Executive Board members in the absence of the president and vice president(s). A special meeting may be called by the president or a majority of the Executive Board. A majority of the Executive Board constitutes a quorum.
The majority of members current on their financial obligations of membership who are present at a general body meeting shall constitute a quorum.
ARTICLE VIII. — Succession, Resignation, Removal of Office.
If the president cannot or does not complete their term of office, the Executive Board shall appoint a vice president to assume office for the remainder of the term. The Executive Board shall then appoint a member of the Executive Board to serve as an interim vice president. If a vacancy occurs in any other elected or appointed office, the president shall appoint any member in good standing who qualifies for the office subject to approval of the general body.
Any officer may resign at any time by delivering a written resignation to the Executive Board, the NYABJ president or the secretary of the NYABJ. Such resignations shall be effective upon receipt, unless otherwise specified in the letter of resignation.
An officer may be removed from office for instances of violation of the organization’s rules as stated herein, engaging in activities counter to the values and practices of NYABJ, malfeasance in their NYABJ office or misuse of NYABJ funds. In cases of misuse of funds by an officer, the Executive Board will re-assign that officer’s fiduciary duties to another board member. The procedure for removal of any officer requires a written petition to the Executive Board, signed or electronically confirmed by one-third of the voting NYABJ members, stating the allegations against the individual. The subject of the removal effort shall have the opportunity to make a written statement to the Executive Board. The Board’s recommendations will be submitted to the membership at a special meeting for a final vote. A two-thirds vote of the membership present at the special meeting shall be required for removal. If a vote of more than two-thirds of the membership present is reached, the officer is removed from their position, and will be ineligible for the following Executive Board election.
An officer may be removed from office for instances of excessive absentia to the detriment of the Executive Board and NYABJ, which can be defined as (1) lack of attendance to Executive Board and General Meetings and; (2) increased difficulty in establishing contact with the officer. If an officer is absent from three (3) Board Meetings and/or General Meetings without reason,
the officer is automatically removed from their position, and will be ineligible for the following Executive Board election.
ARTICLE IX. — Eligibility for Office and Term of Office.
Candidacy for all elected offices is limited to full NYABJ members who have been members in good standing by May 1 with no lapse in membership through election period. Elections take place every two years in November.
Those members seeking the offices of president and vice president(s) must be full NYABJ and NABJ members in good standing.
Those members seeking the offices of secretary, treasurer and parliamentarian must be full members in good standing with NYABJ.
Student members are not eligible to hold any NYABJ office.
All officers of the organization shall serve a two-year term. The president and vice presidents are prohibited from seeking a third consecutive term. All Executive Board members must maintain good membership standing within NYABJ for the duration of their term. The president and vice- presidents must maintain good membership standing with NABJ for the duration of their term.
ARTICLE X. — Elections.
Election of NYABJ officers shall be held biennially in November. Only members who are current on their financial obligations of membership as of May 1 of the election year are eligible to run for office or vote in the election. Election rules shall be set by the Election Committee. The Election Committee shall consist of members not running for elected office.
The vote shall be taken by official ballot in November at a time and place designated by the Election Committee or Executive Board.
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 any other means where email is not feasible to the parliamentarian and secretary no less than 60 days prior to the election.
The parliamentarian shall send out an electronic absentee ballot option three weeks prior to the election. Members must submit electronic absentee ballots 10 days before the election to be accepted as valid.
Members may also request a physical absentee ballot by September 15. Signed absentee ballots must be returned via mail and postmarked 10 days before the election for vote to be accepted as valid.
Members who submit absentee ballots will not be permitted to vote in person at the November general body meeting.
After the election, if board positions are vacant due to no candidates seeking office for a particular Executive Board role, the newly elected president will appoint officers after the new term begins January 1 to fulfill duties. Confirmation of the president’s appointments are subject to approval by the general body by vote to take place at the following chapter meeting.
Election deadlines may be adjusted by the Election Committee with the approval of the Executive Board.
ARTICLE XI. — Committees.
The president shall appoint chairpersons of six (6) standing committees: Awards Competition, Finance/Fundraising, Media Watch, Membership, Programming, Scholarship/Student Outreach. The duties of each such committee shall be determined by the president and the Executive Board. Committee chairs are to submit monthly written reports at the time of the membership meetings.
The president shall appoint committee chairs by March 1, following an election. Standing committee chairs shall serve two-year terms. The president shall be an ex-officio officer of each standing committee. Standing committee chairs may be replaced by the president or members of the Executive Board.
- The Awards Competition Committee shall oversee the annual journalism awards contest.
- The Finance/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.
- 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.
The president and/or the Executive Board may by resolution passed by a majority of the Executive Board designate one or more temporary committees, with each committee consisting of two or more members. Each committee shall keep regular minutes of its meetings and report the same to the Executive Board, and shall terminate upon completion of its assigned purpose.
The Parliamentarian shall chair and oversee both the bylaw and election committees (Article VI, Section VI (a) and (b).
ARTICLE XII. Finances/Contracts.
All funds of the organization not otherwise employed shall be deposited in such banks and trust companies as the treasurer, with the recommendations and approval of the Executive Board and shall be handled in accordance with IRS regulations and state laws governing the activities of the NYABJ.
No officer of the NYABJ shall receive compensation for performing board duties.
No officer of the NYABJ shall be interested, directly or indirectly, in any contract relating to the operations conducted by it, nor in any contract for furnishing services or supplies. Officers shall disclose conflicts and recuse themselves from voting on or otherwise influencing the activity.
All contracts for services rendered to the NYABJ shall be paid promptly upon approval of such expenditures by the Executive Board and/or membership.
ARTICLE XIII. Non-profit Organizational Status
Said organization is organized exclusively for “charitable, religious, educational, and scientific purposes,” including, for such purposes, the making of distributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code.
No part of the net earnings of the organization shall inure to the benefit of, or be distributable to its members, trustees, officers, or other private persons, except that the organization shall be authorized and empowered to pay reasonable compensation for services rendered and to make payments and distributions in furtherance of the purposes set forth in the purpose clause hereof.
No substantial part of the activities of the organization shall be the carrying on of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation, and the organization shall not participate in, or intervene in (including the publishing or distribution of statements) any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this document, the organization shall not carry on any other activities not permitted to be carried on (a) by an organization exempt from federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or (b) by an organization, contributions to which are deductible under section 170(c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code.
Upon the dissolution of the organization, assets shall be distributed for one or more exempt purposes within the meaning of section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or corresponding section of any future federal tax code, or shall be distributed to the federal government, or to a state or local government, for a public purpose. Any such assets not disposed of shall be disposed of by any appropriate court of law in the county in which the principal office of the organization is then located, exclusively for such purposes or to such organization or organizations, as said Court shall determine, which are organized and operated exclusively for such purposes.
ARTICLE XIV. Amendments to the Bylaws.
Proposed amendments to the NYABJ bylaws by the parliamentarian shall be submitted in writing to the full Executive Board for review and for determination of appropriateness. The Executive Board shall then offer the proposed amendment(s) to the membership during the next monthly meeting.
During that meeting, after hearing proposed amendments, membership must be permitted to have full discussion and propose additions or deletions to those amendments. The parliamentarian will then send all proposed amendments and deletions, presented from both board and membership at the meeting, to chapter for review at least 15 days prior to the next
general body meeting to be voted upon.
A two-thirds vote from the membership present at the meeting, constitutes approval of the proposed amendment. The amendments become effective immediately, unless otherwise specified.
ARTICLE XV. Compliance.
These bylaws shall be in compliance with all United States federal, state or local laws regarding nonprofit organizations.