The National Arab American Journalists Association is partnering with Radio Baladi radio to host a journalism conference to explore the state of American Arab and Muslim news media and journalism 10 years after Sept. 11, 2001.
Titled “The Future of American Arab and Muslim Journalism 10 Years After September 11,” the conference will feature more than 14 panels and workshops exploring all aspects of American Arab/Muslim life and the state of journalism in the community.
Guest speakers will represent the ethnic Arab and Muslim media as well as Arabs and Muslims working in the mainstream American news media, and also mainstream American journalists whose beats cover Arab and Muslim issues. We will also showcase journalists working for Arab and Islamic World publications and media outlets at the three-day conference that will be held March 4 through 6, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency, Dearborn, Michigan.
The journalism conference is the 6th hosted and organized by NAAJA, which has more than 300 networked members across the United States. Radio Baladi is a partner and broadcasts a simulcast live radio show in Chicago (WJJG AM 1530) and Detroit (WNZK AM 690) every Friday morning at 7 am (Chicago) 8 am (Detroit).
“How have the post-Sept. 11 events impacted the practices and effectiveness of the American Arab and Muslim American news media and what are the successes and the challenges they face is the purpose of the conference,” explained Ray Hanania, a veteran Chicago-based Palestinian American journalist and radio talk show host and national coordinator for NAAJA.
“This is NAAJA’s 6th Conference and each event grows bigger and more effective. We anticipate that this will be our most successful and largest conference of all.”
Laila alhusinni, who hosts the Detroit-based radio show “Good Morning Michigan on WNZK radio, and co-hosts the weekly Radio Baladi program, said that Dearborn was chosen as the location for the conference for very specific reasons.
“Dearborn is recognized as the capitol of the American Arab community and also the Arab Muslim community in America,” alHusinni said.
“We wanted the conference to also be centrally located in the country so that we can facilitate participation from Arab, Muslim and non-Arab and non-Muslim journalists from across the country. The conference will also integrate the participation of major community organizations and businesses. They will have a major presence.”
Hanania and alhusinni said the conference has several goals they hope will be achieved when completed.
Strengthen communications among Arab and Muslim journalists in the ethnic, mainstream American and Middle East communities. “We have to communication with each other and establish professional networking in order to strengthen our mission to be professional journalists operating in the United States,” Hanania said.
Establish a scholarship fund to encourage young American Arabs and Muslims to pursue journalism as a professional career choice.
Assist the community to more effectively engage the media through workshops that will showcase strategies to be heard in the Arab and Muslim ethnic media, the Arab World media and also in the mainstream American media.
“This will include sessions addressing how to write an effective press release and then distribute it effectively,” Hanania said.
Hanania, alhusinni and 34 American Arab and Muslim organizations based on Dearborn agreed during a planning conference that the Arab and Muslims in American are denied equal access to journalism jobs and opportunities not only by the major mainstream media but also by the major professional mainstream American journalism organizations such as the Society of Professional Journalists, UNITY and others.
“We expect the hypocrisy from the uneducated public but we don’t expect it from organizations that claim to represent professional journalism.