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FunTimes Magazine

The Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists Black Vigilance

By Layla Jones

The National Association of Black Journalists, now located in Washington, D.C., got its start in Philadelphia in 1973 by the founding chapter,the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ). Established by journalists concerned with the lack of Black representation in the media, PABJ now boasts more than 100 members.

Chapter President Melony Roy is a New Jersey native who worked up the ranks at KYW Newsradio to become Director of Digital News. She recognizes that right now, the press is under attack. With a person in the White House who dismisses all unfavorable coverage as fake news,uses social media to lay out the law of the land, and touts factual inaccuracies as fact — this era for journalism can seem a little dark. To address this phenomenon, Roy’s theme for her term in office is Black Vigilance.

“How to stop digitally-spread fake news, and the use of Twitter as a personal attack medium are of great concern,” Roy says on, the chapter’s website. “How do journalists deal with Social Media posts that might, or might not, be official government policy?”

PABJ has a history of instituting change. When a local publication printed a racially insensitive article, published a homogenously Caucasian cover, and in general saw little diversity in its newsroom, PABJ called the magazine out and worked with editors to institute substantial diversity measures.

Guests like Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney, District Attorney Larry Krasner and School District Superintendent Dr. William Hite are just a few of the guest speakers who come to be interviewed by PABJ membership during the organization’s monthly meetings. It’s one thing to talk about ways to cover an ever-unpredictable national government landscape accurately. It’s another thing to bring in high-ranking local government officials for a crash course on addressing the most pressing issues in Philadelphia.

With PABJ training institutes, networking mixers and an annual awards gala, PABJ has been named Chapter of the Year by the national organization several times in the last decade alone.

For present and aspiring journalists, the organization offers “a great place to network,” says Roy. “There are plenty of opportunities to grow your talent within the organization.”


PABJ Fast Facts:

  • PABJ Immediate Past PresidentCherri Gregg is a KYW Newsradio and CB3-TV reporter. Gregg is a graduate of Howard University School of Law.
  • NABJ hosts an annual convention for journalism education, career development and networking opportunities. “I like to describe NABJ conventions as a family reunion,” Roy said.
  • PABJ meets the second Tuesday of each month and closes their year with a summer pool party bash.