Largest convention in Birmingham since the pandemic generated an estimated economic impact of $7.5 million for Jefferson County
BIRMINGHAM, AL (Aug. 8, 2023) — From August 2 through August 6, the Greater Birmingham area welcomed close to 4000 Black journalists from all four corners of the country for the 2023 National Association of Black Journalists Convention & Career Fair. Media members from New York to Los Angeles, representing outlets like ABC, CBS, NCB, Wall Street Journal, and Black Enterprise Newsday made #NABJ23 the second-most attended NABJ conference in its 48-year history.
With all downtown hotel rooms, nearly 7,000, at full capacity for the weekend, it was not only a huge event for the Association, but it was also the largest convention in Birmingham since the pandemic. Attendees enjoyed all day meetings, panels, and networking opportunities, and generated a projected $7.5 million in economic impact for Jefferson County while experiencing the area’s present attractions and monuments to the past.
“We were thrilled to welcome NABJ and its members to Birmingham,” said John Oros, President and CEO of the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau. “We host nearly 800 meetings and conventions a year in Birmingham, so for an event with the significance and impact of NABJ to be here is an honor. We are excited that we had this opportunity to show off our city and share the Birmingham story with these special guests from all over the world.”
On Saturday, August 5, the Greater Birmingham Convention & Visitors Bureau had the honor of leading more than 50 highly esteemed national journalists on a comprehensive media tour of the Birmingham Civil Rights District, including stops at Kelly Ingram Park, Birmingham Civil Rights Institute, Historic Bethel Baptist Church, A.G. Gaston Motel, and 16th Street Baptist Church.
As a part of the tour, and the continued commemoration of 60 years since the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement, the journalists also had the opportunity to spend time with foot soldiers and converse with people who witnessed the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, such as Sarah Collins Rudolph, who is known as the ‘fifth little girl’ and Dr. Carolyn McKinstry, a friend of the four little girls who had just left them when the bomb exploded in 1963.
Other highlights of the weekend included NABJ Hall of Fame induction ceremonies for, among others, AL.com’s Roy S. Johnson, as well as Dr. Jesse Lewis, founder of The Birmingham Times. The NABJ conference also served as an opportunity for several local high schools students interested in journalism to cover the event and other news in the area last week, with help from NABJ mentors, for the publication the NABJ Monitor. Each day of the conference, the Monitor was written and produced by local Birmingham City Schools students, and published by Hoover Print Company, to then be distributed to visiting journalists.
To honor the past and learn more about the 60th commemoration of the Civil Rights Movement, please visit 60.birminghamal.org. To experience everything the Greater Birmingham area has to offer in the present, like upcoming events, the best restaurants, or your new favorite outdoor adventure, please visit inbirmingham.com.
More GBCVB photos from the media tour: