If you’ve never heard of NABJ, it’s the national association of Black Journalists. Every year we have a HUGE conference, giving us opportunities to network, hone and grow our skills, and even secure jobs.
Before we get into the knitty gritty, tune in to the video below to see highlights of this trip:
This year’s conference was held in Aventura/Miami, Florida at the JW MARIOTT TURNBERRY RESORT, and let me tell you, it was SO MUCH fun! I will say, Florida heat is something different, but of course nothing that I can’t handle since I love being warm. The humidity is real and the rain can be like a light switch…on and off, on and off.
If you are a journalist or aspiring journalist, this is definitely something you need to experience, it is the total definition of work and having a good time.
My main goal this year was attending the career fair to network and receive feedback on my progress thus far as an anchor and reporter.
In addition to the career fair, there were tons of workshops (sorry I didn’t capture much of them in the vlog) and they catered to all journalists whether you’re in television, print, radio, etc.
Some of my favorite moments included learning how to operate as a millennial journalist and negotiating salary (cha-ching)! I also enjoyed meeting some of my favorite journalists and so many celebrities who graced us with their presence this year. Michael B Jordan, Ice Cube, Tichina Arnold, Angie Martinez, Jermaine Dupri and so many more people came through. We’re so lucky to get the exclusives on new movies coming out for the year (including Just Mercy starring Michael B Jordan, Dolemite starring Eddie Murphy, Don’t Let Go starring Storm Reid and Davis Oyelowo, Jermaine Dupri’s new documentary, etc). There were also exclusives on upcoming TV shows (including Growing Up Hip Hop New York with Irv Gotti, Jermaine Dupri and Ja Rules children just to name a few, and Angie Martinez’s new show called Untold Stories of Hip Hop, which I am so excited for!)
The days went like this: Workshops from 8 or 9am until 5 or 6pm. A slight break to grab some food or chill before the nights turn up, and then turn up! There was literally a party every night, the biggest being the Sports Task Force Party (if you don’t go to any party at all, you absolutely MUST go to this one). This year, the party was hosted in the same arena that the Miami Heat Play — the American Airlines Arena. There were two floors to the party, and you could either party inside or outside on the rooftop (or both like I did lol).
On the day when it seemed like almost everyone was heading to South Beach, I opted for a book and relaxation at the resort’s amazing pool area. There was also a waterpark, but I didn’t indulge.
Places We Ate (That I Loved!)
Disclaimer, not all the places we tried satisfied my picky tastebuds. But the ones that did I will list below! Also it’s important to know that there are mixers held throughout the day and during the week with open bars and free food at the conference.
La Boulangerie Bakery and Cafe – seriously the cutest bakery with some of the BEST breakfast. Bonus, each meal comes with coffee AND orange juice. Oh, and yes, they do serve mimosas.
Shooters Waterfront – THE AMBIANCE (as my auntie would say) IS INCREDIBLE. You can dine inside or off the water (you guys already know what I chose, off the water please!). Don’t be surprised if you see a boat pull up for lunch or dinner, literally so cool! They have a wonderful drink menu and the food is great! We all know I love me some steak, but I’d definitely recommend one of their pastas.
Submarine Crab – this was actually mentioned in part one of my Florida Vacation Blog, but it was so good that I’m going to mention it again. This is a great lunch spot, doesn’t share the same ambiance as Shooters Waterfront, but the food is amazing. Especially if you love seafood.
Shake Shack – this may sound basic, but it was my first time trying Shake Shack at Aventura Mall (which is another place you should definitely check out, their mall is amazing!). The fries, burger and strawberry mint lemonade was sooo good…I almost ordered another round! Has anyone else never had Shake Shack before, or was it just me?
There was a very convenient shuttle at the resort that picked us up and dropped us off to the mall (for NABJ screenings, food, etc) and nearby areas. We only used an Uber maybe twice – once to get to the Sports Task Force Party and another time to get to dinner in Fort Lauderdale.
- Schedule out your day – There is an app for you to decide which workshops and panels you will attend throughout the day and week, use it! It saves you time from wandering around aimlessly and it helps you find workshops that are beneficial to you and your career.
- Make sure you eat! – this is something I struggled with this year. A lot of the workshops were back to back, leaving you rushing to get to the next so that you wouldn’t miss a thing! One day I’d been up since 8am and didn’t eat anything until around 2 or 3 – not smart when you consider all of the running around you have to do. I’d highly recommend packing snacks, or (back to the previous bullet) finding gaps in your schedule to eat. The conference is exciting, but you won’t be experiencing anything if you’re passed out somewhere because you didn’t eat.
- Bring copies of your resumè – This is great for networking, whether it’s for a potential employer or connecting with someone who works in the same field (or heck different fields too!) than you. Do not come to this conference empty handed, and don’t leave empty handed either!
- Remember why you’re here! – I always see people get so caught up in the parties, the people and the city that we’re in. That’s all cool and everything, but remember the reason you paid all that money for this conference. To learn, grow, receive feedback, network, etc. At the end of the day, you’re here for your career, so make it your priority and have fun later (literally, because all of the parties start once the workshops end lol). Speaking of parties, don’t be out alllll night when a super important workshop that you want to attend is early in the morning. Just saying.
I hope this was all informative and helpful, and I hope you enjoyed the vlog!!
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