‘I walked out of the room’: Journalists react to Omarosa Manigault’s appearance at NABJ

Journalists at this week’s National Association of Black Journalists conference turned their backs on White House aide Omarosa Manigault during a panel on police brutality Friday.

The panel discussion, which saw Manigault spar with Bounce TV’s Ed Gordon, at times ran afield of the topic at hand, drawing exclamations and applause from the audience. Some journalists walked out before it concluded.

The hours leading up to Manigault’s appearance at this week’s NABJ conference were fraught.

Manigault, the director of communications for the White House office of public liaison, was added to a panel on police brutality amid confusion about her role in the discussion, according to a New York Post article published Thursday.

New York Times Magazine reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones, who was originally scheduled to moderate the panel, backed out, along with New Yorker writer Jelani Cobb, who cited general disorganization and a lack of clarity about whether the panel “would be able to discuss substantive issues regarding the administration and its policing policies” with Manigault.

Then the panel began, and it quickly went off the rails:

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Benjamin Mullin is the managing editor of Poynter.org. He previously reported for Poynter as a staff writer, Google Journalism Fellow and Naughton Fellow, covering journalism innovation, business practices and ethics. He’s also reported for USA TODAY College and The Sacramento Bee, and he was editor in chief of The Orion, Chico State’s student-run newspaper. An Air Force brat who grew up around Northern California, he’s still adjusting to the Florida sunshine.