WASHINGTON, D.C.–The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) announced that Ashley Michelle Williams, a student at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, is the recipient of its Student Journalist of the Year Award. Williams will be honored this summer amongst other honorees at NABJ’s 36th Annual Convention and Career Fair, the largest gathering of minority journalists in the country.
Williams, 22, is a broadcast and digital journalism major, and double minors in international relations and Spanish. She is a senior at USC and her many internship experiences include People magazine and NBC’s Dateline, Nightly News and Today Show. She served as President of Annenberg’s Black Student Association, has participated in the Meredith-Cronkite Fellowship Program and frequently contributes to The Huffington Post.
Williams began her journalism career at age 14, when she hosted and produced her own show for her high school’s news station regarding teen issues.
“I feel truly, truly honored and blessed to be chosen for this prestigious award. From the bottom of my heart I want to thank each committee member and NABJ for this great honor,” said Williams. “This means so much to me, more than I can express. I hope and plan to continue to bring great prestige to NABJ and all African-American journalists. I am greatly dedicated to make positive changes within the world -especially within the minority community– through journalism.”
Among Williams’ mentors are her parents, USC journalism professor Erna Smith, BBC Mundo’s Marcia Facundo, and Dateline producers Jennifer Hoffman and Luz Villarreal.
Smith had this to say about Williams.
“Ashley is one of the most committed, conscientious and multi-faceted students I’ve ever had the privilege to mentor. NABJ could not have picked a more worthy student journalists for this prestigious award,” said Smith.
Though she hasn’t made any definite decisions regarding her next steps after graduation, Williams does know she’d like to go into network news. She hopes to one day have her own talk show broadcast in both English and Spanish.
“Ashley is truly an exceptional young woman. She is motivated, compassionate and community-minded, and as demonstrated by her overflowing resume, she is wholly dedicated to the field of journalism,” said JaBari Brown, Assistant Director of USC Annenberg Undergraduate Advisement and Academic Services. “I’d rank Ashley in the top 1% of all the college students I have advised.”
NABJ’s National Awards recognizes top media organizations and professionals for their print, broadcast, and online journalism work in 2010. Awards will be bestowed to top writers, columnists, producers, reporters, photojournalists, and editors.
Williams will be joined by other top honorees including the Miami Herald’s Jacqueline Charles for Journalist of the Year, and NABJ Founder Acel Moore for Lifetime Achievement, as well as ESPN’s Claire Smith for the organization’s Legacy Award.
“NABJ is extremely proud to honor Ashley with this award. She is an incredible, impressive young lady with a proven passion for journalism. Her resume speaks for itself. Ashley is destined for great things and every network news chief should take notice. She is certainly deserving of this honor,” said Lisa Cox, NABJ’s Region VI Director.
NABJ’s 36th Annual Convention and Career Fair will take place Aug 3-7 in Philadelphia. For additional information, ticket sales, registration, please visit us at www.nabj.org.