By Eric Nzeribe
The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) hosted its 2017 Awards and Scholarship Gala Ceremony. The event, hosted by NBC’s White House Correspondent Kristen Welker took place at the WHYY Studios in Philadelphia, PA.
Barbara and Tyree Johnson, Westside Weekly newspaper owners, were the recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award. The husband and wife team turned an idea of a West Philadelphia newspaper into a voice of the community that is rooted in journalistic integrity.
SofiyaBallin, a reporter with the Philadelphia Media Network (The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com) received the 2017 Online Journalist of the Year Award. Her Black History Untold series offered a view of what many African Americans have learned about African American history outside of the classroom. Her powerful stories, told through the voices of African Americans, explored the kinds of valuable information about African Americans that were not covered in textbooks and other traditional academic teachings.
Sara Lomax-Reese, President and CEO of WURD Radio, received the Trailblazer Award for her pioneering work creating HealthQuest Magazine which explored health issues that impact Black people, and in growing the state’s only African-American-owned talk-radio station, WURD Radio, ensuring Black people have an outlet for expressing their concerns.
Errin Haines Whack, urban affairs reporter for the Associated Press, is the 2017 PABJ Print Journalist of the Year. As an Urban Affairs reporter, she tackled stories that impact Black people from angles that are often not explored in the majority media. Her work has focused on the intersection of race, politics and culture as well as other issues of importance to African Americans.
Lois and Oshunbumi “Bumi” Fernandez were honored with a PABJ Community Service Award for their work with the ODUNDE Festival, which celebrates African culture and legacy through song, art, and food. The late Lois Fernandez began the family-oriented street fair 40-years ago,. Her daughter, Bumi, worked with her mom through the years, and as Odunde CEO, has created year-round programming called Odunde365.
Sandra Clark, Vice President for News and Civic Dialogue at WHYY, received the Impact Award. A longtime champion of diversity, she believes all of our lives are enriched when we have access to different voices. It’s a philosophy that is reflected in her hiring and mentoring of diverse ethnic journalists.
Aundrea Cline-Thomas, a reporter for NBC10 Philadelphia, received the 2017 Broadcast Journalist of the Year Award. Aundrea is a reporter whose stories focus on issues that push beyond commonly covered headlines to discover and share textured stories that reflect and impact people in Black Communities.
Haniyyah Sharpe-Brown, Communications Manager for Philadelphia City Councilwoman At-Large Blondell Reynolds Brown and founder of On Point Communications. She received the 2017 Media Professional Award for her public relations and community work that helps her clients craft campaigns to have a positive and empowering impact on Black people, while promoting their product or service.
Congratulations to these accomplished awardees on their work and contributions to the community.