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Journalist legends share experiences about mainstream and black media

by Paula Anderson

On Saturday, Feb. 15, local journalists and media professionals gathered at the National Civil Rights Museum for a panel discussion on the black press and its role in the black community.

The Memphis Association of Black Journalists organized the panel in recognition of Black History Month at its monthly meeting - Salute to the Black Press.

“As an organization made up of black professional journalists, MABJ wanted to take a moment to learn from the original voices of African-Americans who worked for the black press,” said MABJ President Kelli Cook.

Pictured: Faith Morris, Mark Stansbury, Lynn Norment, Bev Johnson, Dr. Karanja Ajanaku and Kelli Cook

The panelists were Lynn Norment, former editor and journalist for Ebony magazine, Dr. Karanja Ajanaku, associate editor for The New Tri-State Defender, Mark Stansbury, radio personality on WDIA/1070 radio station and Faith Morris, chief marketing officer for NCRM.

The queen of daytime talk radio, Bev Johnson, moderated the discussion.

Each panelist shared experiences working for mainstream and black media outlets. All of them were journalists with The Commercial Appeal during their professional careers.  They talked about how they could work for the newspaper and continue to focus on their authenticity as African-Americans while focusing on stories that impacted blacks.

Local media professionals were given an opportunity to ask questions on topics that ranged from storytelling, black media, relationships, truth and transparency.

“I felt like the panelists were so open and honest! I hope this generation of working journalists learned something from the important work these journalists did and are continuing to do today,” added Cook.

To learn more about MABJ, send email to or visit the website at

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