WABJ 2021 Emerging Journalists Mentorship Program Mentees

The Washington Association of Black Journalists (WABJ) is thrilled to announce this year’s participants of its newly established Emerging Journalists Mentorship Program, an initiative designed to nurture the next generation of journalists by providing them with resources and mentorship.

The program, spearheaded by WABJ’s Student Engagement & Early Career Development Committee, pairs college students and recent grads with professional journalists. Mentors will offer one-on-one monthly check-in sessions with their mentees to provide guidance and answer general inquires about the media industry.

Through the year, the committee will host career development and hands-on training sessions exclusively for mentees and WABJ student members. With mentorship being a central part of WABJ’s mission, this program and our newly created committee aim to help improve the chapter’s standing with D.C. area educational institutions, educators and students interested in pursuing careers in media.

“I had wonderful mentors who guided me in the right direction. In doing this program, I’m paying it forward as a special thanks to them,” said Anna-Lysa Gayle, WABJ vice president who serves as the committee’s board liaison. Gayle, a reporter/anchor at ABC7/WJLA-TV, added, “The right mentorship is a privilege that we hope will contribute to each participant’s success.”

“We plan to offer emerging journalists professional development that will help them navigate a career in news media beyond what they learned in the classroom,” said Dr. Sherri Williams, an assistant professor in race, media and communication at American University’s School of Communication, who chairs the committee. “Journalism is an ever-changing, demanding profession that requires skills to tell impactful stories and strategies to operate in sometimes difficult newsrooms. We hope to help young journalists learn both.”

WABJ thanks everyone for their participation, including our mentors.

If you’re interested in joining the committee, please email wabjdc@gmail.com. We also welcome partnership opportunities with organizations that will help advance our mission.


Armaní Washington — freshman, Howard University

Kayla Allen — junior, Howard University

Natasha Williams — junior, University of Maryland Global Campus

Kaylon Amya Henry — freshman, Howard University

Kyhree Gray — 2019 graduate of Claflin University; production assistant at ABC7/WJLA-TV

Tadi Abedje — 2017 graduate of George Mason University; freelance journalist

Makailah Alexis Gause — sophomore, Howard University

Annalesia Law — junior, Howard University


Vann R. Newkirk II — senior editor at The Atlantic and the host of the podcast Floodlines.

Sierra Fox — reporter at FOX 5 DC.

Robert Burton — anchor at ABC7/WJLA-TV.

Ryan Williams — WABJ board member-at-large, media consultant & special events producer and former director of multicultural initiatives at NBC News, MSNBC and NBC News Digital.

Derek McGinty — veteran broadcast journalist and former anchor and co-host at WUSA9.

Joe Davidson — co-founder of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and Washington Post columnist.

Brie Jackson — national correspondent for Hearst TV stations.

Anna-Lysa Gayle — WABJ vice president, three-time Emmy award-winning journalist and reporter/anchor at ABC7/WJLA-TV.

Khorri Atkinson — WABJ president, two-time NABJ board member and D.C. courts reporter at Law360.


Founded in 1975, the Washington Association of Black Journalists is an organization of Black journalists, journalism professors, public relations professionals and student journalists in the D.C., metro area. WABJ provides members with ongoing professional education opportunities and advocates for greater diversification of the profession.