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Sidmel K. Estes

Sidmel Estes passed away on October 6. 2015. In 2016, she was posthumously honored with the Ida B. Wells award. Each year, NABJ and Medill jointly give the award to an individual who has provided distinguished leadership in increasing access and opportunities to people of color in journalism, and in improving the coverage of communities of color in American media. The Estes family was presented with her award during NABJ’s Annual Convention and Career Fair in Washington, D.C., Aug. 3-7, 2016.

Estes (BSJ76, MSJ77) took more than three decades of journalism experience, primarily in television news and transformed it into a dynamic media consulting and production company. She served as media and project manager for non-profits such as the Frederick Douglass Family Foundation, The McCormick Tribune Fellows Foundation, The Tupac Amaru Shakur Foundation and the Atlanta Center for Creative Inquiry. Her company assisted dozens of journalists and helped them get back to work through the nationally acclaimed “Journalists to Go” project. Sidmel provided top-level media training and strategy to news organizations, corporations, small businesses and entrepreneurs. She co-produced a hugely successful production and exhibit based on the life and contributions of Rock and Roll icon Wilson Pickett.

She was a nationally recognized television insider who helped create and build the successful morning program, Good Day Atlanta at WAGA/Fox 5 where she worked for 27 years. Who’s Who in Black Atlanta selected her as one of their “most interesting personalities.” She made history in 1991 when she was elected as the first woman president of the National Association of Black Journalists. In 1993, she was listed in Ebony magazine’s 100 Most Influential Black Americans and Organizations.

She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at Medill where she was inducted as a charter member of the school’s Hall of Achievement. She has won several local Emmy awards and in 2003 received the highest honor from the Television Academy as the recipient of the Silver Circle award that celebrates 25 years of service to the television industry. When the National Association of Media Women selected her as the Media Woman of the Year in 1988, Mayor Andrew Young proclaimed November 18th, 1988 as “Sidmel Estes-Sumpter Day” in the city of Atlanta. She was formerly an adjunct professor of journalism at Clark Atlanta University and previously served in a similar position at Emory University. She also was a fellow with the McCormick Tribune Foundation sponsored by the National Association of Broadcasters.