From Texas to Minnesota, SAG-AFTRA members and staff brought their expertise to journalism conferences this year. They evangelized the importance of union protections, discussed issues important to broadcasters and helped answer contract questions.
Asian American Journalists Association Convention
This year, SAG-AFTRA sponsored the annual Asian American Journalists Association National Convention July 31–Aug. 3 in Atlanta. Though the convention features Asian and Asian American journalists from across the United States and Asia, it also welcomes all journalists and creators of color to rally for greater representation at all levels in the industry. The theme for the convention was “Unite & Represent.”
In addition to providing sponsorship, SAG-AFTRA hosted a panel featuring Chief Broadcast Officer Mary Cavallaro titled Negotiating Competitive Broadcast Contracts That Get You Ahead. The panel was a hands-on workshop that detailed how news organizations create contracts and ways journalists can negotiate them with or without an agent. Staff was also available for office hours to engage with convention attendees and answer questions regarding their contracts. In addition, SAG-AFTRA hosted its marquee event, the Sixth Annual Story Slam, at the CNN Center World Headquarters on Aug. 2. Participants in the Story Slam were coached on how to deliver their stories by Sheila Ivy Traister, SAG-AFTRA’s Asian Pacific American Media Committee vice chair. Broadcast members, including Eric Horng and Juju Chang, served as judges.
National Association of Hispanic Journalists/Excellence in Journalism Conference
The National Association of Hispanic Journalists Excellence in Journalism co-hosted their 2019 and conference in San Antonio, Texas, from Sept. 5–7.
Broadcasters from across the nation joined SAG-AFTRA deep in the heart of Texas to discuss topics such as safety in the workplace and the benefits of joining a union station. SAG-AFTRA staff members from the News & Broadcast, EEO & Diversity and Organizing departments supported attendees via sponsored office hours and a booth on the main conference floor. Attendees were able to get answers to union-specific questions and ask about details of their contracts or personal service agreements.
National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association
SAG-AFTRA continued National Lesbian and Gay its ongoing relationship with the Journalists Association with a sponsorship of its 2019 national convention, which was held in New Orleans from Aug. 29–Sept 1. The union sponsored a panel titled Keeping Journalists Safe with Maria Salazar Ferro and San-Francisco-Northern California Local Executive Director Sean Taylor discussing the issues journalists are facing in 2019 and how to put safety first when covering stories in potentially unsafe environs.
SAG-AFTRA staff was available to participants at the Career & Community Expo, which presented an opportunity for all attendees to learn more about how SAG-AFTRA can help them navigate their careers. Attendees were also able to sit one-on-one with staff representatives for guidance through often-complicated contracts. SAG-AFTRA was honored to join in acknowledging the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots with this unique and active constituency.
National Association of Black Journalists
NABJ’s 44th and career fair took place in annual convention Miami Aug. 7–11, bringing together both well-established journalists and those in the early stages of their careers. Attendees enjoyed a range of targeted panels and networking sessions, covering topics from how to effectively raise diversity issues to telling stories about women in the “MeToo” era. Staff from
SAG-AFTRA’s News & Broadcast and EEO & Diversity departments reached out to members and nonmembers alike at the convention’s career fair. The union also hosted a panel titled Who’s Got Your Back? Safety in the Workplace, moderated by Vice President, Broadcasters Bob Butler and including panelists Emani Payne of KCEN-TV, Tracey Watkowski Silva of KGO-TV, Beverly White of NBC4 and SAG-AFTRA San Francisco-Northern California Local Assistant Executive Director Carolyn Dunbar. Late SAG-AFTRA New York Local President Mike Hodge was one of seven journalists inducted into the NABJ Hall of Fame on Aug. 9.
This item was originally featured in the fall 2019 issue of SAG-AFTRA magazine.