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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dearborn Arab Journalism Conference features local leaders and journalists from across country

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                 Ray Hanania
APRIL 28, 2011                                                                       
                                                                                                                                    Laila alhusinni

Dearborn Arab Journalism Conference features
local leaders and journalists from across country

Chicago/Detroit – Journalists from across the country will join more than 300 attendees and 120 students at a weekend-long conference to address challenges facing the nation’s American Arab and Muslim community in the decade since the terrorists attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Welcoming the attendees at the 6th Annual Conference of the National American Arab Journalists Association at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, Michigan beginning Friday April 29 are Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly, Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano, and Congressmen John Conyers Jr., and John Dingell.

Keynote speakers at the Saturday Gala dinner include Mohamed Abdel Dayem of the Committee to Protect Journalists and author Lawrence Pintak (“The New Arab Journalist”). The luncheon speaker Saturday is veteran journalist and columnist George Hishmeh. Warren David president of the highly popular online media site,, is the evening’s emcee. Middle East entertainment will be provided by the Usama Balbaki Orchestra and award winning journalist Ray Hanania, columnist for Creators Syndicate, will provide laughter offering his special brand of Palestinian American Comedy.

The evening will feature the presentation of the first annual NAAJA Journalism Scholarships to three high school students pursuing careers in journalism or communications. More than 120 students are being sponsored courtesy of several sponsors including Ziyad Brothers Importing.

Twelve panels beginning Saturday morning at 9 am in two rooms will address a wide range of issues including the pro-Democracy protests sweeping the Arab World, the struggle for freedom by Palestinians, the challenges facing American Arab newspaper publishers, techniques for using social and online media, immigration reform, healthcare issues, civil rights in the 10 years since Sept. 11, and how to tell the American Arab and Muslim story to mainstream Americans.

A panel will also discuss the growing challenges facing American Arabs in journalism reviewing the assaults on Octavia Nasr and Helen Thomas, while another will explore U.S. Policy in the Middle Eat with the State Department’s Near Affairs Director of Public Diplomacy Phil Frayne and journalists George Hishmeh and Ali Younes.

The complete program is available online at

“We are very excited to have everyone that counts in American Arab and Muslim journalism attending this conference,” said Conference Coordinator and NAAJA Detroit organizer Laila alhusinni. “Everyone and anyone who fashions themselves as a journalist and who cares about the future of American Arabs and Muslims will be at this three-day conference.”

Ms. Alhusinni, co-host of the weekly morning radio show Radio Baladi simulcast live on radio in Chicago on WJJG AM 1530 and in Detroit on WNZK AM 690, said the conference will also present four NAAJA Excellence in Journalism Awards.

“We are honored to have so many high quality professional journalists speaking at this event,” said Hanania, who is a political columnist with the Southwest News-Herald and Lawndale News in Chicago, and with the Jerusalem Post Newspaper and Hanania is the national coordinator for NAAJA.

Panel speakers at the conference on Saturday include:

- Suzanne Manneh, New America Media
- Hunaid M. Baliwala, President, Bridges TV
- Stephen Franklin, former Chicago Tribune Middle East correspondent, reporter Detroit Free Press now director of Ethnic Media for the Chicago Community Media Workshop
- Ginnnah Muhammad, radio talkshow host
- Stephen Coats, Sabeel Media
- Weam Namu, journalist
- Brian Bowe, visiting assistant professor of journalism in Grand Valley State University's School of Communications
- Geri Alumit Zeldes, assistant professor in the School of Journalism at Michigan State University
- Ali Beydoun, Arab American Student Union, Wayne State University
- Laura Fawaz, photographer, journalism graduate, Oakland University
- Delia Habhab, Wayne State University Communications graduate
- Faiz Ahmed, Editor-in-Chief of the East West Link newspaper, and studies at Oakland University
- Peter J. Hammer, Prof. of Civil Rights, Wayne State Uni.
- Ron Scott, radio talk show host
- Imad Hamad, ADC Michigan
- Dawud Walid, Executive Director of CAIR Michigan
- Hasan Nawash, Palestine Center Dearborn
- Janice Milhem, president of Milhem Images, Inc.
- Barbara Harvey, Jewish Voice for Peace, Detroit Chapter board member
- Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire
- Gregg Krupa, editor and reporter at newspapers and magazines in New York City, Boston, Detroit and Providence, Rhode Island
- Niraj Warikoo, reporter, Detroit Free Press
- Joe Grimm is a professor of media at Michigan State University, former editor, recruiter at the Detroit Free Press
- Roop Raj, reporter Fox 2 News Mornings in Detroit
- Oralandar Brand-Williams, Detroit News reporter
- Steven N. Garmo, Esq. Attorney & Counselor at Law, Law Offices of Garmo & Associates, P.C.
- Marshal E. Hyman, Esq. Attorney specializing in Immigration and Nationality Law
- Lena Masri, Esq. immigration attorney
- Charlie Langdon, news analyst for Fox News
- Renée Ahee, APR, Facilitator and presenter, Executive Director, National Arab American Medical Association
- Ahmad Adam, President/CEO and Founder of Crescent Foods
- Dr. Raymond Hilu, internal medicine specialist at St. John Health System and a teaching physician, has confirmed his participation.
- Cindy Goodaker, executive editor of Crain’s Detroit Business, has confirmed her participation.
- Kim Koslowski, Journalist, the Detroit News
- Christine Tatum, former President of the Society of Professional Journalists
- Lloyd Weston, journalist and Wayne State University alumni
- Peter Wirth, President GW Associates, Washington DC
- Mansour Tadros, al-Mustaqbal Chicago
- Warren David,
- Khalil Ramal, Veteran journalist and reporter covering Detroit and the Middle East
- Delinda C. Hanley, news editor, Washington Report on Middle East Affairs
- Phil Frayne, Director, Office of Press and Public Diplomacy, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, US State Department
- Ali Younes, Washington DC based columnist
- George Hishmeh, award winning journalist

More than 35 organizations, businesses and journalism associations are co-sponsoring the conference.

NAAJA also hosts the new Arab American News Wire ( which will pay freelance writers to write news and feature stories about American Arab and Muslim communities that will be distributed free-of-charge to American Arab and Muslim publications and media.

A limited number of registrations will be accepted at the conference.

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