By Elijah Pittman and Cassandra Dumay
NABJ membership has elected Ken Lemon to be its 23rd president with 66 percent of the votes against transgender presidential candidate Tre’vell Anderson (467-236) in a competitive race.
Nerves were high of both candidates leading up to the announcement of election results. Lemon spent his time before and after the press conference networking with NABJ members. After the results were announced, he said “we are ready to do business.”
Anderson said they were disappointed, but knew the race would be an uphill battle.
“I ain’t going nowhere,” Anderson said to the room. “You know that, so get ready.”
Lemon, who works at WSOC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina, most recently served his second term as NABJ Vice President of Broadcast. He is a reporter at Cox Media Group-WSOC in Charlotte, NC and has received three Emmys, two AP Awards, and an NAACP Image Award.
Before taking his position as vice president of broadcast, Lemon, who is also chairman of the Black Male Media Project, was a two-term president of the North Carolina Association of Black Journalists, NABJ Region III Director.
Anderson is a two-term NABJ Region IV Director, former president of the Los Angeles chapter of NABJ, and has co-chaired the NABJ LGBTQ+ Task Force since 2017. Anderson (who uses they/them pronouns) is an independent journalist, writer and host of two podcasts: Crooked Media’s “What A Day” and Maximum Fun’s “FANTI.”
Anderson emphasized they were ready to make changes in NABJ with their campaign platform based on “meeting this moment, and the next.”
Lemon reflected on the importance of NABJ’s role in the current political moment before the election results were announced.
“They’re trying to erase our history,” Lemon said to the NABJ Monitor. “We’re the tellers of history – the keepers of history. We need to do everything we can to make sure we stay around.”
Of the additional contested board races, Amir Vera was voted into a second term as vice president of digital over Vance Lang. Grant Hines was voted student representative over two opponents, Alex Perry and Anthony Council.
All proposed amendments pass
The four proposed amendments selected for the ballot were passed, including two controversial ones that stirred debate between members.
Eighty-three percent of voters (561 votes) voted “yes” on Proposal No. 3, which “formalizes an appeal process” for members of NABJ who violate the organization’s code of conduct and code of ethics.
Eighty-four percent of voters (563 votes) voted “yes” on Proposal No. 4, which establishes an official quorum for the annual NABJ Business Meeting. The language for the quorum amendment states that 51 percent of a majority of the voting membership must be registered at the convention, and no less than 5 percent of that number must be present at the business meeting for any resolution to take effect.
Eighty-eight percent of voters (509 votes), voted “yes” on proposal No. 1, which states that NABJ board members are prohibited from accepting any salary from the NABJ. Board members are only allowed to receive compensation for pre-approved expenses that relate directly to their board service.
Eighty-five percent of voters (573 votes), voted “yes” on proposal No. 2, which allows emerging professionals to be eligible to serve on the NABJ Board of Directors, but not the NABJ Executive Board. Emerging professionals are classified as having less than five years of experience in the journalism industry and will be unable to hold positions of president, VP Broadcast, VP Print, VP Digital, secretary, treasurer, and parliamentarian.
Kathryn Styer Martinez contributed to this report
This story was updated to correct the student representative candidates and the misgendering of Tre’vell Anderson. Eva Coleman was the sole candidate for Region 3 director. Anderson uses they/them as pronouns.