ABOVE PHOTO: From the left: Sofiya Ballin, Sandra Clark, Sarah Lomax Reese, Aundrea Cline -Thomas, Errin Haines-Whack, PABJ president Melony Roy, Haniyyah Sharpe-Brown and Bumi Fernandez.
By Kendall Alexander
Women representing all aspects of the media were honored at the 12th Annual Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ) Awards Ceremony and Scholarship Gala at the WHYY Studios last Saturday.
Seven women, one man and two additional women were honored posthumously as they received awards for excellence this year in reporting, media management, community service, impact, and more.
PABJ members, journalism enthusiasts, honorees and their families came from all over the area to celebrate this fantastic event and relish in the accomplishments of the awardees.
“The sold-out evening really was special, filled with lots of Black Girl Magic,” said Melony Roy, PABJ President. “And hearing from legends like Tyree Johnson, who was honored along with his late wife Barbara, for groundbreaking journalism makes PABJ proud and excited to celebrate all of our nominee’s contributions to Black communities throughout the region.”
The Honorees were: Haniyyah Sharpe-Brown of the City of Philadelphia and On Point Communications as Media Professional of the Year; Lois and Bumi Fernandez of Odunde for Community Service; Barbara & Tyree Johnson of Westside Weekly for Lifetime Achievement; Sandra Clark of WHYY for Impact; Sara Lomax-Reese of WURD Radio for Trailblazer; Errin Haines-Whack of Associated Press for Journalist of the Year-Print, Sofiya Ballin of the Philadelphia Inquirer for Journalist of the Year-Online, and Aundrea Cline-Thomas of NBC 10 for Journalist of the Year-Broadcast.
Everyone was dressed immaculately, and smiles were abundant as journalists filled the room, inspired by their colleagues to continue to press on and tell the stories of those who may not otherwise have the opportunity.
The evening included a cocktail hour with a silent auction, followed by the awards ceremony which included a live auction. The night’s emcees were Quincy ‘Q Deezy’ Harris, host of “The Q” on Fox 29, along with co-host Christie Ileto, Action News reporter. NBC White House correspondent and former NBC10 reporter Kristen Welker shared her experiences and compared and contrasted covering the administratons of Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump as the keynote speaker.
Proceeds from the Gala support PABJ’s scholarships, journalism workshops and community programming. Three students were awarded scholarships this year, with $500 awarded to Aminata Sy, a junior International Relations major at the University of Pennsylvania, and two $1,000 were given to Skyler Glover a junior journalism student at Rutgers University-Camden and Hadiya Weaver, a sophomore journalism student at Temple University.
Weaver is a full-time sophomore journalism student at Temple University and a student to watch out for–she has a 3.8 GPA and an anchor for TUTV’s “Update Now” and believes she has an unspoken responsibility to try to close the gaps that exist for those whose voices are not heard. On top of all of that and her coursework, she is the senior editor of the Templar Annual Yearbook and is treasurer for the Temple Association of Black Journalists.
Glover is an aspiring journalist and filmmaker, as well as a multi-sport athlete. He wishes to create films around urban issues and provide a voice for those who reside in inner cities. “Anytime you have the opportunity to make a difference in this world, and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on this earth.” The young man uses this quote as motivation for his work.
Sy has reported and written for many local publications including the ‘University City Review,’ the ‘Philadelphia Tribune’, and the ‘Daily Pennsylvanian’ with a focus on African and African American issues such as poverty, immigration rights, racism and educational disparities.
Major congratulations to PABJ and all the honorees at this year’s gala or an exceptional job done to propel our people and our stories forward!