The National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) has announced that for the first time in the history of its special honors, a professor and student from the same institution will be honored with Journalism Educator of the Year and Student Journalist of the Year, respectively.
Journalism professor Lawrence Kaggwa and student Jamisha Purdy will be honored and commended at the organization’s Hall of Fame Induction and Banquet on August 7, in Tampa.
“Howard University’s role in journalism education has always been outstanding, and we praise these individuals for their dedication to the profession,” said NABJ President Barbara Ciara in a statement. “As the media landscape evolves, it takes innovative people like Dr. Kaggwa and Jamisha who have an eye toward the horizon to embrace such change.”
For the greater part of 30 years at Howard University and before that at Norfolk State University in Virginia, Kaggwa has shared a degree of kinship with his students while demanding high quality, deadline-driven reporting and editing assignments. His students have carried with them the memory of long hours of coaching as they rose to leadership positions in newspaper, radio, television and online newsrooms.
“Kwagga has put the J in Journalism at Howard University,” said NABJ Region II Director Charles Robinson, also in a release. “He has legions of young journalists and seasoned veterans alike, who he has guided and it is a distinct honor that is well deserved.”
Added Ciara, “Compassion for others and a selfless attitude have been guiding principles for Dr. Kaggwa, and the results are born in his long history of student success.”
To keep his skills current, Kaggwa has worked as a reporter at newspapers and a news service for the past six summers. In the 1960s, he was a reporter at the Los Angeles Times, the Hartford Courant and the Ridgewood (N.J.) Herald News.
Jamisha Purdy has stood out among the most successful and mature student journalists in years at Howard University where her professors have embraced the opportunity to challenge her with writing assignments that have allowed her to flourish.
“Jamisha demonstrates a level of sophistication and maturity as a reporter that is far beyond her age,” said NABJ President Barbara Ciara. The NABJ Board of Directors commended Purdy’s stories as the “best overall examples of work” submitted for the top student prize.
Purdy has written for the Metro Section of Washingtonpost.com since 2007. She also writes regularly for Howard University’s /District Chronicles /and BlackCollegeView.Com. She earned her Associate of Arts degree from Miami-Dade College’s Honors College, where she was a news editor for /The Falcon Times/. She has also worked as a special correspondent for the National Newspaper Publishers Association News Service, where her coverage included the inauguration of President Barack Obama.
“When we needed extra help covering the elections, there was no question which student could get the job done with timeliness, a fresh approach and professionalism,” said Hazel Trice Edney, editor-in-chief of the NNPA News Service. “Jamisha had written for us before. She was so enthused to come back and assist in covering the inaugural activities. She did an excellent job.”
The NABJ Convention is the largest gathering of minority journalists in the country. The NABJ Hall of Fame Inductions and Banquet will take place at the 2009 NABJ Annual Convention and Career Fair, August 5-9 in Tampa.