Dorothy Tucker cruises to victory over Lee, Walker

Dorothy Tucker knocks on her hotel room door after voting closed. "Must be alone," she'd told supporters earlier, when asked if she'd have an entourage for the election results. At the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019 in Aventura, FL. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE/NABJ

By Jessica Taylor & Jerell Rushin
NABJ Monitor

Dorothy Tucker cruised to victory with 55 percent of the votes to become the next president of the National Association of Black Journalists.

Turner defeated former President Gregory Lee and current Vice President Marlon Walker.

A controversial amendment to reduce the number of board members— including the elimination of the academic representative and the merging of the three vice president positions into one—failed after it could not gain two-thirds of the vote necessary to pass, said Michelle Fitzhugh-Craig, the NABJ elections committee chair.

Dorothy Tucker, candidate for NABJ president (right), walks Tonisha Johnson (center) and Kristian Rhim through the voting process, at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019 in Aventura, FL. MARTHA ASENCIO-RHINE/NABJ Monitor

In other contested races, longtime member Cheryl Smith defeated challenger Ernest Owens in a landslide for NABJ secretary. Tory Parrish also defeated challenger Christopher Nelson for the  director position in Region 1.

Tucker, an investigative reporter for WBBM-TV in Chicago will succeed Sarah Glover, who has served for two terms.

“I’m proud to be leaving NABJ stronger and more fortified than it’s ever been before and I look forward to working with the next administration and supporting their future work,” Glover said.

Tucker teared up upon hearing the news of her win.

‘I’m thrilled,” she gushed. “It’s unbelievable. I’m emotional because in 1979, when I was 23 years old and I was making very little money living in Denver, all I wanted was to connect with black people and I came to NABJ.

“I could not afford the room so I didn’t get one,” Tucker continued. “I just flew across the country. I registered. I paid for the ticket but I could not afford a hotel room. And I didn’t care that I couldn’t afford the hotel. I just wanted to be at NABJ. I got there and it was only because some kind woman let me share a room with her that I was able to attend the conference. I’ve come to every conference since then.”

Upon announcement of the results, Lee, who was unable to speak, dropped his head down in disappointment while being consoled by his father, Greg Lee Sr. Visibly saddened, he packed up his bags and laptop and grabbed his two white cardboard ticket boxes, heading to NABJ’s South Beach Sports Task Force Scholarship Party

When Walker heard the news of his defeat, he stood in silence for a few moments and later shared an emotional Champagne toast with a number of his supporters.

Throughout her campaign, Tucker said that she didn’t support the amendment to consolidate the three vice president positions to one. However, she said she was not opposed to eliminating the VP digital role. The merging process still remains unclear. 

Tucker has been active in both the national and local chapter organizations with leadership positions in Denver, Pittsburgh and her local Chicago chapter. She notably created NABJ’s producer database as weak as a job satisfaction survey that members received via email. 

Dorothy Tucker, Investigative Reporter at WBBM-TV, hugs her son Cody Wilkins after winning the NABJ presidential candidate election on Friday at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort in Aventura, Florida. MARTHA ASENCIO RHINE/NABJ MONITOR

She arguably had the most visible campaign as the only candidate with literature provided in the registration bag along with a significant social media campaign. 

“I have not missed one convention since 1979,” Tucker said. “Every one of them. For me it’s my therapy. It’s my extended family. So it fills me journalistically so I have to be here and to finally think that I’m going to be able to lead an organization that I love so much is amazing.”

Elaijah Gibbs-Jones, Alexis Grace and Cierra Ivey also contributed to this report.

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