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IABJ announces new board officers

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Indianapolis, IN – Aug. 18, 2010 – The Indianapolis Association of Black Journalists (IABJ) has elected the following members to its board of directors for two-year terms:

DeShong Perry, WTHR, president; Leisa Richardson, The Indianapolis Star, vice president, print; Hyacinth Williams, WISH-TV, vice president, broadcast; Tisha Lewis, secretary, Fox 59; Kim L. Hooper, Indianapolis Public Schools, treasurer; Kyna Willis, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, marketing/PR manager; Michael Dabney, author, parliamentarian; Kimberly Wells, Radio One-Indianapolis, historian; Steve Jefferson, WTHR, immediate past president.

As the local chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, IABJ is among the oldest and largest minority professional journalism organizations in the nation. IABJ membership includes print and broadcast journalists, communications industry professionals, educators and students.

IABJ Board of Directors


DeShong Perry, President

WTHR Newscast Producer

DeShong is an Emmy award-winning television newscast producer with nearly 15 years in the business. Her experience as a multimedia journalist has taken her to work in Chicago, St. Louis, Phoenix, Indianapolis and Nairobi, Kenya. She began her career as a researcher for “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and then continued to climb up the journalism ladder at NBC affiliates and the Arizona Republic newspaper. DeShong has also spent time as a communications instructor at Phoenix College and a radio news anchor for “Network Indiana.” DeShong currently produces central Indiana’s number one-rated 5:30 p.m. newscast at WTHR-TV. DeShong holds a bachelor’s degree from Roosevelt University (Chicago) and a master’s degree from the University of Illinois (Champaign/Urbana) – both in journalism. She resides in Indianapolis with her husband, Keith, and two daughters.

Leisa Richardson, Vice President – Print

The Indianapolis Star Senior Assistant Editor/Metro

Leisa is a news industry veteran with more than 30 years of newsroom experience. She has worked as a reporter and editor at newspapers in Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Virginia – including USA Today. Leisa serves on the board of directors for UNITY Journalists of Color which is made up of the four journalism groups representing Native American, Hispanic, Asian and African-American journalists and is a former board member of the National Association of Black Journalists. Her work has been recognized by the Associated Press, Gannett and she was named Journalist of the Year for the former NABJ Region VI. The Anderson native studied journalism at Ball State University and Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, Northwestern University (Evanston).

Hyacinth Williams, Vice President – Broadcast

WISH-TV Internet Content Producer

Hyacinth has nine years in the TV industry, which has landed her segment producer positions in Austin, San Antonio, Baltimore and Omaha.

While in Omaha, she made the transition from on-air to online. Not only was she promoted to Executive Producer, but she was also promoted to Executive Producer of KPTM.com. She later worked exclusively as the Executive Producer of KPTM.com where she anchored her own newscast that was posted to the Web site twice daily. In 2007, Hyacinth joined WISHTV.com as the Internet Content Producer.

Hyacinth was born and raised near St. Louis and graduated with a broadcast journalism degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2001.

Hyacinth is married to Michael Rucker and has two sons, Jayden and Chase. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, shopping, watching movies and exercising.

Tisha Lewis, Secretary

Evening/Weekend Anchor, Fox 59

At a very young age, Tisha cultivated television screens across America on Black Entertainment Television’s “Teen Summit” as a “Posse” Member and later Co-Host. After graduating from Virginia Tech, the Brooklyn-native returned to New York to produce segments on Fox News Channel’s “At Large with Geraldo Rivera” and “The Big Story Weekend Edition with Rita Cosby.” Tisha has reported and anchored for NBC affiliate stations in Bakersfield, CA and Miami-Fort Lauderdale. She also anchored the news on the CW’s “The Morning Show” before joining FOX in Indianapolis, where she anchors the weekend evening editions of Fox 59 News. Tisha is passionate about mentorship, community service and believes social media is a unique opportunity to serve and connect with viewers who allow her the opportunity to do what she loves.

Kim L. Hooper, Treasurer

Indianapolis Public Schools Assistant Director of School and Community Relations

Kim L. Hooper is a professional communicator having 20 years experience working in media as an award-winning reporter and editor for the Indianapolis Recorder and Indianapolis Star newspapers. She currently is the assistant director of School and Community Relations for the Indianapolis Public Schools, Indiana’s largest school district. Kim is an Indianapolis native and a proud product of IPS (Broad Ripple High School ’82). She holds degrees from Tennessee State University in Nashville and strives to meet the mandates of her two alma maters: “Broader Richer Human Service” and to “Think, Work and Serve.”

Kyna Willis, Marketing/PR Manager

Retail Marketing Specialist, Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana, Inc.

Kyna has 10 years of experience in public relations and marketing communications. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in public relations from Ball State University. Prior to joining Goodwill, Kyna’s experiences included providing media relations, branding and event marketing for the Indianapolis Colts, Indiana Department of Tourism, the American Society of Newspaper Editors, the Annie E. Casey Foundation and Indiana Black Expo. She is a member of the Public Relations Society of America and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Michael Dabney, Parliamentarian

Michael is an award-winning journalist whose writing has appeared in numerous local and national publications, such as The Indianapolis Star, NUVO, Indianapolis Monthly, Indianapolis Business Journal, EBONY magazine, BlackEnterprise.com, AP and UPI. A former president of the IABJ, Michael is a member of several writer groups including the National Association of Black Journalists, Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America. His short story, “The Missing CD,” is one of 15 stories in the anthology BEDLAM AT THE BRICKYARD, published this summer. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, two daughters and their dog, Pluto.

Kimberly Wells, Historian

News Anchor /Air Personality, Radio One-Indianapolis; Producer /Correspondent, “Operation Breadbasket presents Harambee”, ECF Media

Kimberly is an award-winning broadcaster who has worked in various aspects of media for over 20 years including print, radio and television on the local, statewide and national network levels. A former radio news director, she has covered news, sports and dee-jayed in her professional career. This Chicago native got her start in professional journalism in a program at The Chicago Tribune. Her reports have been heard on NPR station, WAJC; WTBU, WTPI; WNJY; CBS Radio Network; WIBC; Network Indiana; and The Associated Press Radio Network. Her work has also appeared in The Indianapolis Recorder, The Indiana Herald and The Word. A journalism alumnus of Butler University, she is also an HIV/AIDS advocate and has worked diligently to spread messages of HIV prevention, education, stigma reduction and health through her writings and on the front line of counseling, testing and philanthropic efforts focusing on communities of color, faith communities, women and girls.

Steve Jefferson, Immediate Past President

WTHR Crime Beat Reporter

Steve joined the Eyewitness News team in June 2002. Steve’s news experience includes reporting and anchoring at TV and radio stations in Dayton, Ohio; Macon, Georgia; Greenville, South Carolina; Jackson, Mississippi and Portland, Oregon. Steve has received numerous awards, including “Best Newscast” from the Associated Press, a regional Edward R. Murrow award for reporting, and various community service awards. He’s reported on major events including the Atlanta bombings, the Georgia floods and Hurricanes George and Katrina. Steve is from Dayton, Ohio, where he graduated from Wright State University in journalism. He is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists and Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity. Steve and his wife reside in Indianapolis.

For more information about IABJ, go to www.iabj.org.

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