James McJunkins Sr. Named 2020 Educator of the Year by NABJ


ATLANTA, (Dec. 14, 2020) — In a year where the work of journalists has been attacked like never before, there are still educators dedicated to developing the next generation of reporters. One of those educators is James McJunkins Sr.  McJunkins is a professor of journalism and media studies at Clark Atlanta University and this year’s recipient of the Educator of the Year award from the National Association of Black Journalists.

As a black journalist himself, McJunkins has stressed the need for more Black voices in the profession to his students throughout his 45-year career. He does this by highlighting the low number of Black journalists and the differences in the way news stories about different races are covered.

“We have to tell our own story,” McJunkins said. “We need people in position to make important decisions about news coverage. 

Professor McJunkins’ impact has spread far beyond the classroom. He has served as the director for Clark Atlanta University’s study-abroad program for Jamaica for more than 25 years. Through this program he encourages students to expand their horizons and distinguish themselves from their peers.

“Just having a degree does not mean you will have a job; you have to do something that is different and dare to be different,” McJunkins said. 

McJunkins credits his own desire to pursue a career in journalism to the influence of one of his high school teachers, Mr. Freeman Jones.  Jones convinced McJunkins to begin writing for the school newspaper, the same newspaper in which he would later become editor. 

Being recognized by the NABJ as this year’s Educator of the Year is an honor that McJunkins cherishes dearly. Although he is not in this line of work for the recognition, he appreciates the honor.

“It means so much to me,” he said. “It feels good to be recognized for your hard work, and this is one of the biggest rewards I have ever received.” 

Professor McJunkins will be recognized for his outstanding achievements in journalism during the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) virtual awards ceremony on the night of December 19, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.   

The National Association of Black Journalists is a nonprofit organization that advocates on behalf of black journalists and media professionals in the United States and around the world. Founded on December 12, 1975, the NABJ holds an annual national convention and career fair each summer. The organization recognizes individuals with outstanding achievements in various areas related to journalism each year during its annual awards show.

About Clark Atlanta University        

Clark Atlanta University was formed with the consolidation of Atlanta University and Clark College, both of which hold unique places in the annals of African-American history. Atlanta University, established in 1865 by the American Missionary Association, was the nation’s first institution to award graduate degrees to African-Americans. Clark College, established four years later in 1869, was the nation’s first four-year liberal arts college to serve a primarily African-American student population. Today, with nearly 4,000 students, CAU is the largest of the four institutions (CAU, Morehouse College, Spelman College and Morehouse School of Medicine) that comprise the Atlanta University Center Consortium. It is also the largest of the 37-member UNCF institutions. For more information, please contact Jolene Butts Freeman at (404) 880-8000 or jbutts-freeman@cau.edu.