— The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) stands strongly with the Washington Post’s Robin Givhan for her March 21 report on former First Lady Michelle Obama’s session at the BETHer conference in Miami.
Givhan, a Pulitzer-Prize winning reporter, has come under scathing criticism for her reporting on the session, though BET officials have admitted publicly that at no time was the conference ever off-the-record.
“As the world’s largest journalism organization of people of color, it is vital that NABJ stands up for the rights of journalists to do their job without being attacked. Robin Givhan did not break any journalistic code of ethics in her decision to write about Michelle Obama at the BET conference,” said the NABJ Board of Directors.
“The rules of journalism are clear: any decision to make an event off-the-record must be stated clearly upfront, and not after-the-fact. If an individual or entity desires to have a conversation that is off-the-record, that has to be made public. It can’t be assumed or hinted. BET’s statement of the event being ‘an intimate conversation in a sacred space of sisterhood and fellowship’ does not hold water in any newsroom. If the off-the-record declaration is not made, that means everything is on-the-record and available to be reported.
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide. For additional information, please visit www.nabj.org