NABJ Faces Budget Shortfall, May Close

By Kevin Eck 

The National Association of Black Journalists may have to close its offices because of an almost $400,000 budget deficit.

“It is not a pretty picture for NABJ,” the group’s finance committee told the organization’s board. “If NABJ does not increase revenues in 2016, the organization’s financially [sic] viability will threaten the organization’s ability to operate and keep its doors open.”

The Huffington Post reports the NABJ has already cut operating expenses, eliminated staff and sold off $4000,000 worth of investments. But the country’s oldest and largest group for minority journalists has yet to answer questions about its plans to close the budget gap.

NABJ’s financial woes are worrisome enough. But the secretiveness of the association’s leadership around the shortfall should raise further red flags. NABJ’s board and staff have refused to answer questions about the deficit or provide financial disclosure forms, as required by law. The group is also considering dipping into grant funds earmarked for other purposes to cover the shortfall, according to a report from the organization’s treasurer — a practice that is widely considered unethical.

Despite pledging to “stabilize the association’s financial position with transparency” in a note to members, NABJ Board President Sarah Glover, social media editor for NBC-owned Television Stations, declined multiple requests to elaborate on the source of the shortfall, insisting only that the “2015 convention did not yield the projected revenue as outlined in the budget by the previous board.”