Chicago’s journalism community will lose a treasure at year’s end, when renowned former EBONY writer/editor Lynn Norment, longtime supporter of the National Association of Black Journalists’ mission to increase the ranks of African Americans in newsrooms nationwide, leaves the Windy City for Sweet Home Memphis.
The longtime Chicagoan, who spent three decades with the iconic Johnson Publishing Co. publication before launching one of the city’s top public relations firms, Lynn Norment Media, will be honored Dec. 13 by NABJ, to which she has devoted decades of service on the national and local levels.
NABJ Chicago Chapter has launched the Lynn Norment Scholarship Fund in honor of its three-term former president, three-term national NABJ Board officer, and accomplished inductee of NABJ’s Hall of Fame.
This addition to NABJ Chicago’s tuition assistance offerings for talented students studying journalism at Chicago-area colleges and universities will be inaugurated at its annual scholarships fundraiser/toy drive, taking place from 5:30-10 p.m. Dec. 13 at Bar Louie’s Dearborn Station, 47 W. Polk St.
“NABJ Chicago will miss Lynn dearly,” NABJ Chicago President Kathy Chaney says. “We are most appreciative of her many decades’ contribution of time, effort, and leadership, and her personal financial support, in furtherance of the NABJ mission. There is no better way to honor Lynn than with this fund that will assist future generations striving to enter an ever-changing, yet ever-rewarding field where the need for diverse voices is greater than ever.”
Norment’s life and career has been documented in the archives of The HistoryMakers.
CEO of LNMedia, a media marketing firm offering a fresh approach to brand building and awareness, Norment is a native of Tennessee, graduating magna cum laude from Memphis State University (now University of Memphis) with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism. She was honored with the university’s 2009 Distinguished Alumna Award.
She began her career at The Commercial Appeal newspaper in Memphis, where she won awards for her investigative journalism. While in Memphis, she wrote an exclusive article for EBONY bringing to national attention that legendary entertainer Al Green was “born again,” and had founded a church in Memphis. Snagged by EBONY, Norment would begin a career with the magazine that would take her to the position of managing editor, helping the now 67-year-old magazine maintain a fresh voice and embrace new media, while establishing her as a leader in the industry.
Norment’s lauded cover stories on celebrities, politicians, corporate executives and community leaders included profiles on some of the nation’s hottest newsmakers. Among them: President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Beyoncé Knowles, Queen Latifah, Denzel Washington, Jennifer Hudson, Whitney Houston, Alicia Keys, Tom Joyner, Steve Harvey, Will Smith, Janet Jackson, Vanessa L. Williams, Tina Turner, B.B. King, Al Green, Mariah Carey, Michael Jordan, etc.
Prior to launching LNMedia, she was with Carol H. Williams Advertising, the nation’s largest African-American, and female-owned, full-service advertising agency. A longtime educator and philanthropist, she taught journalism courses at Columbia College Chicago for many years. Recently appointed to the Advisory Board of the college’s Columbia Link’s journalism program for high school students, she continues to mentor young journalists.
A board member of Habilitative Systems Inc. — a social service agency serving the needy in impoverished West Side communities — Norment was responsible for launching its annual “Jazz With Pizzazz” fundraiser that has raised hundreds of thousands of unrestricted dollars for the agency.
In 2009, Norment, who served on NABJ’S National Board of Directors for six years, was inducted into its Hall of Fame, in “recognition of her accomplishments and contributions to journalism.” She currently chairs the NABJ Development Committee; co-chairs the NABJ Hall of Fame Committee; and is a member of the NABJ Founders Task Force. She also co-chaired the NABJ Hall of Fame Reception and Induction Ceremony at Washington D.C.’s prestigious Newseum in 2011 and NABJ’s 25th Anniversary Celebration in 2000; chaired the successful NABJ Chicago Convention in 1997; and served as vice-chair of the NABJ Arts & Entertainment Task Force, which presented her its Legacy Award in 2000.
“Lynn has led a distinguished career, and many young journalists owe their opportunities to her work in sustaining the mission of NABJ, and to her strong mentoring of students on both local and national levels,” NABJ Vice President/Broadcast Dorothy Tucker, an NABJ Chicago board member, said. “We invite Chicago to come out on Dec. 13 for a party with a purpose, to help us honor this devoted servant with a scholarship fund supporting young minority journalists who strive to follow in her footsteps.”
The public is invited to bring a toy for Envision, Unlimited, a Chicago nonprofit providing foster care, autism and community integration programs for disabled children and adults, 92 percent of whom are low-income. Scholarship contributions should be sent to the NABJ Chicago Scholarship Fund at NABJ Chicago, P.O. Box 81228, Chicago, IL 60681.