About IABJ



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Indianapolis is Indiana’s capital and the largest city in the Hoosier state with a population of nearly 810,000 people. It is the 14th largest city in the U.S. and the third largest in the Midwest – behind Chicago and Detroit. It’s a racially diverse city, one where African-Americans make up 26 percent of the overall population.

Yet news outlets in this culturally and racially rich community continue to struggle in the hiring, promotion and retention of African-American journalists and other media professionals. This disquieting fact is as real today as it was 19 years ago when a tiny group of African-American reporters, editors, broadcast producers, photojournalists, media support personnel and students began to meet informally. They met in support of each other’s work and out of sheer necessity: No formal organized network of black journalists existed and the few who worked in Indy were scattered at different media outlets.

While the majority of black news gathers worked at The Indianapolis Recorder – the city’s African-American weekly newspaper – and WTLC AM/FM radio as reporters and radio personalities, black media at the city’s other daily newspapers, TV and radio stations were largely unknown

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to each other.

So, those early group get-togethers served as social gatherings. They were initially held at the Sunset Pub, which was owned by the former owner/operator of WCEI-TV Channel 32, Indy’s

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black-owned television station–a BET cable outlet.

From those social gatherings, a professional network, one that would assist and advocate for the hiring of more minority journalists, was quickly created. That small group incorporated legally as the Indianapolis Association of Black Journalists (IABJ) in 1991, with its first elected/founding officers as follows:

  • President James L. Patterson, The Indianapolis Star
  • Vice President/Broadcast Jane Harrington, WTHR-13
  • Vice President/Print Lynn D. Ford, The Indianapolis Star
  • Treasurer Audrey Gadzekpo, The Indianapolis Recorder
  • Corresponding Secretary Kim L. Hooper, The Indianapolis Recorder
  • Recording Secretary Iris Thomas, The Indianapolis Star
  • Parliamentarian Jim Nelson, The Indianapolis Recorder


While the organizational leadership has evolved over time, IABJ’s core mission has not changed. Members continue today to be advocates for a balanced and inclusive news report,

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the hiring of more African-American journalists to reflect the Indianapolis media market, and to encourage budding journalists by serving as mentors and offering financial scholarships to college and high school students.

IABJ has hosted a regional conference of The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and many student and community workshops, including journalism and “how to” access media seminars. IABJ collaborates with other media groups, including the Society of Professional Journalists and co-sponsors an annual “Holiday Soul” Christmas party fundraiser in conjunction with other black professional associations.

The organization recently was awarded a Dow Jones News Fund grant to sponsor a high school journalism workshop in 2011. Since then, the organization has hosted an annual multimedia journalism workshop to immerse high school students in the journalism and public relations field.


• To strengthen ties among professional journalism media organizations

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To honor the achievements of journalism/media-related professionals
• To champion employment of Black professionals, retaining them, and giving opportunities for promotion
• To serve as a media watchdog, rallying members to keep abreast of developments in the media that impact the Black community
• To act as a leader in the community through service
• To encourage our members to have high ethical standards in their chosen professions,

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• To create fundraising strategies that allows the organization to award an annual scholarship

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