AABJ is governed by a Board of Directors that consists of the elected officers of the association, the chairpersons of the standing committees (appointed by the president and approved by the elected officers) and one student member (appointed by the president). The current members of board of directors are listed below.

Amir Vera – President
Vera claims Virginia, but is an Army brat who traveled all over the world during his childhood. He was mostly raised in Germany. He is an alumnus of Virginia Commonwealth University and worked at two Virginia newspapers before landing a job as a writer for CNN Digital.

Shelitha Hurd – Treasurer
Shelitha Hurd is a native of Atlanta and graduated from the University of West Georgia. Shelitha currently produces the 4pm newscast at WSB-TV and has worked for the company for nine years. Shelitha has also worked in Nashville, Houston, Baltimore and Winston-Salem. While in Winston-Salem, Shelitha helped charter the Triad Association of Black Journalists.

Eric Nickens, Jr. – Secretary
Eric Nickens serves as the communication director and public information officer for the DeKalb County Board of Health. Nickens hails from Gatesville, N.C., part of the Hampton Roads, Va. area, and is a two-time alumnus of East Carolina University. Before coming to metro Atlanta in late 2016, he served in public health communications and education roles in Durham, Greensboro and the northeast region of North Carolina. While in Greensboro, he was a charter member of the Triad Association of Black Journalists and served as parliamentarian.

Craig Allen Brown – Parliamentarian
After serving 22 years in the U.S. Army, he decided to pursue his longtime love of sports journalism. He attended Clark Atlanta University, where he served as the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper and reconstituted the CAU student chapter of NABJ. Upon graduation, he assumed various leadership positions at The Atlanta Voice, including a stint as managing editor. When he is not contributing content to various media outlets, he teaches math at Bear Creek Middle School in Fairburn, Georgia.

Gary Cotton – VP Digital
Cotton was introduced to NABJ when he was selected in high school to be a member of the KCABJ Urban Student Journalism Academy in his home state of Kansas. He graduated from the Missouri School of Journalism before moving to New York where he worked for various newsrooms including, Men’s Fitness, The Odyssey Online, FLEX Magazine and Muscle and Fitness. Cotton now works as a digital producer in CNN’s headquarters in Atlanta.

Karvis Jones – VP Broadcast
Jones is currently a Production Assistant at FOX Sports Southeast where he covers the Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Braves. Jones is a native of Holly Springs, MS and a graduate of Rust College. He began his professional career in Memphis, TN where he worked for two TV stations, WATN-TV and WMC-TV prior to his arrival to Atlanta in November 2006. During his time in Memphis, served as Recording Secretary for the Memphis Association of Black Journalists.

Raisa Habersham – VP Print
She is the Atlanta Hyperlocal reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Raised in Atlanta since she was 2-years-old, Habersham is a proud Benjamin E. Mays High School and University of Georgia alumna. She has been a reporter since she was 17 and has freelanced for online publications, including the USA Today College Blog. Prior to joining the AJC, she served as news and features editor for Atlanta-based media and youth nonprofit VOX Teen Communications.


2020-2022 AABJ Board of Directors Nomination Form