Special to the Recorder
The Indianapolis Association of Black Journalists (IABJ) and the PRSA Hoosier Chapter hosted their first ‘Meet the Media Night’ since the pandemic began, inviting the public to come together and raise money for a good cause while mingling with members of the media in front of and behind the camera, as well as top executives, CEOs, management, public relations, and marketing professionals.
The event was held at the Skyline Club in downtown Indianapolis and focused on the theme of “Living Your Best Life.” Cameron Riddle, a reporter at FOX 59/CBS 4 and talk show host on 106.7 WTLC and HOT 100.9, served as this year’s emcee.
“We felt it was very important to address the unprecedented stress attributed to COVID-19 related issues in the industry, as well as throughout communities in Indiana and all over the world,” said Vernon Williams, President of IABJ.
One highlight of the evening was the Barbara Boyd Trailblazer award presentation to DuJuan McCoy, the owner of Circle City Broadcasting and WISH-TV. McCoy’s dedication to promoting diversity in newsrooms and breaking down barriers in the industry was acknowledged with the prestigious award.
“DuJuan McCoy is a true trailblazer in the field of journalism,” said Vernon Williams, president of IABJ. “He has inspired many, and we are honored to recognize his contributions with this award.”
The panel discussion, moderated by WISH-TV anchor Lena Pringle, covered various mental health and wellness topics, including the difficulty of balancing work and personal life and how to talk to children about challenging issues.
During the panel discussion, Jennifer Pace Robinson, President and CEO of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, spoke about the importance of telling difficult stories and being a voice in the community. “I needed to tell the story, “she said. “If you don’t do it, who’s going to do it?”
Pringle also discussed the challenge of discussing tough issues with children and how to approach these conversations. “Children understand about fair. They understand how we can try to differentiate,” she said. “We need to really start having more conversations about when they see negative things. The more we talk about it and make it so that it’s not mystical or a bad thing to say, the better.”
Dr. Russell Ledet, a triple board resident at Indiana University, emphasized the importance of managing exposure to traumatic events in the media. “You must manage what you’re viewing while it’s happening,” he said. “Because I can assure you, we’ll see another video of a guy unreasonably killed.”
Barbara Thompson, Executive Director of NAMI Indiana, suggested that journalists take a page from police officers and firefighters and form support groups to manage the trauma they may experience on the job.
“I think that journalists need to think about being a first responder and understanding that you’re taking on that kind of trauma, that secondary trauma,” she said. “To probably look into doing things like police officers do or firefighters, where they have peer groups and are trying to support each other in their mental health.”
Kateria Winfrey, a WISH-TV Multi-Cultural Reporter, spoke about her own experiences with stress and learning to ask for help when needed. “I’m learning how to cope with stress, or at least learning how to speak up and say, ‘Hey, I’m having a problem right now. I’m struggling,’” she said.
Other discussion panel members included: Brian Richardson Jr., Colts Diversity and Inclusion, and Dawn Davis, In Our Own Voice Trainer and Speaker, NAMI Indiana.
IABJ also announced that college students could apply for scholarships on Friday, March 10, with the application period closing on Friday, April 21. Scholarship recipients will be selected on Friday, April 29, and recognized at IABJ’s Mental Health Program in May 2023.
Thanks to this year’s sponsors. Black Onyx Management, Inc., Empowered Families, Pacers Sports & Entertainment, Recorders Women Auxiliary, Indianapolis Colts, Yes Consulting, LLC, Hirons, She Event Indy, Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper.