NABJ, Poynter Create Leadership Program to Diversify Newsrooms

The National Association of Black Journalists and the Poynter Institute have pooled their resources and expertise to launch a tuition-free leadership program to help improve diversity in the digital journalism space.

In an effort to better diversify digital newsrooms across the country, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the Poynter Institute will partner to launch the Leadership Academy for Diversity in Digital Journalism in November.

The organizations say that the curriculum will expose minority journalists not only to newsroom culture and interpersonal dynamics, providing students with a deeper knowledge of the leadership culture in American media outlets, but also to the current technologies, platforms, and methods being used in digital publishing.

“Our partnership with The Poynter Institute is an exciting opportunity to expand the pool of minority leaders in the digital journalism space,” said NABJ President Sarah Glover in a press release. “It is another extension of NABJ advocacy efforts in that members will receive valuable leadership training to better position them for management positions in media operations. We look forward to this collaborative effort with an organization with such a stellar reputation among journalists worldwide.”

The organizations are currently seeking seed funding from media and technology companies, foundations, and academic institutions in an effort to keep the leadership academy tuition free. Applications will be accepted starting this summer.

The most current available census data from the American Society of News Editors reports that “the percentage of minority journalists in daily newspaper newsrooms remained relatively stable in 2014 at 12.76 percent even as newsroom employment declined by 10.4 percent.” Currently, the minority population is not represented equitably in the newsroom workforce, especially in the management ranks. Out of all respondents to the ASNE census, only 12 percent reported having minorities in executive positions. NABJ and Poynter are hopeful that programs such as this one will accelerate the pace at which minorities obtain leadership roles in journalism.

“Poynter and NABJ both are committed to providing journalists of color the training and mentoring that they need to succeed in news leadership positions,” Poynter President Tim Franklin said in a press release. “As digital news operations continue to grow in size and importance, it’s vital that we provide minority journalists with the leadership tools that they need. This academy will help do that. More diverse leadership ultimately means more diverse staffs, content and audiences.”

Poynter has been involved in similar initiatives to achieve greater demographic parity in the workforce. In late 2014, it partnered with the Online News Association to build a leadership academy for women.


Newton Holt

By Newton Holt

Newton Holt, a former senior editor of Associations Now, is a freelance writer, editor, and communication strategist in Washington, DC. MORE

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