Boston Globe senior assistant sports editor Greg Lee Jr. made history at the 36th annual National Association of Black Journalists convention. Lee, 37, is the first sports journalist to be elected president since the organization was founded in 1975.
Facing one of the most turbulent times in the journalism industry, Lee said promoting diverse newsrooms will be one of his key issues for NABJ in working with the Associated Press Sports Editors organization.
There are nearly 1,000 fewer African American journalists working in newsrooms since 2001 with a steady decline since 2005 according to a report from the American Society of Newspaper Editors.
In sports departments, the percentage of minority sports editors dropped from six to three percent according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.
“We’re in a critical time where a lot of our members lost jobs in this industry or are not getting opportunities in terms of promotions and being in places and positions where they have real influence and real input in their respective newsrooms,” Lee said. “So I think that with all the relationships I have in the industry, I think this would be a great time to bring everyone to the table, bring everyone together to help NABJ realize its full potential in becoming an industry leader when it comes to not only advocacy but when it comes to how we pick leaders in the newsroom.”
Lee forged a close relationship with APSE as a co-director of the Sports Journalism Institute, a boot camp designed to train minorities and women for careers in sports journalism. APSE has been a longtime supporter of the program.
In addition, APSE President Michael Anastasi announced his organization would unveil a diversity fellowship program to help groom mid-career professionals for future management opportunities next year.
“That’s a huge initiative for APSE that Greg has helped harness,” Anastasi said. “I’m very excited about that that. I think that program has the potential of making a long lasting contribution to sports journalism in the same way the SJI institute continues to.”
Lee’s plate will be full as his first order of business as NABJ president will be to plan and execute the 2012 NABJ convention in New Orleans along with selecting the organization’s three empty board seats.
As the former NABJ treasurer, Lee is also concerned with increasing the organization’s overall revenue stream and reducing its dependence on convention revenue by 10 to 15 percent.
But managing budgets, executing large-scale events and building relationships is something Lee has sharpened through his experiences in management at the Washington Post and Boston Globe.
“His enthusiasm and energy for any kind of project he’s been assigned … he seems to have an endless supply of it,” said Boston Globe sports editor Joe Sullivan.
“He’s done a good job as the secretary/treasurer of NABJ, he’s helped turn the organization around financially and it’s a logical step [to be President]. The Globe as an organization, as a company, as a newspaper and the Globe sports section supports him fully and we’re really proud of him.”