A new fellowship program aims to propel the careers of young African-American journalists, giving them the chance to gain real-world skills and insights while working closely with the editorial team of a prominent news organization.
The National Association of Black Journalists is partnering with Apple News on an editorial fellowship to give young journalists the opportunity to work at the forefront of news and technology. The program will introduce early-career Black journalists to several key editorial areas, followed by a more focused mentorship with Apple News staff members, culminating in an end-of-year presentation to the entire Apple News editorial team.
“It is a really exciting time to be a journalist,” said Dorothy Tucker, NABJ’s president. “This partnership is just one of the many opportunities that are available, and we are happy to embrace it.”
Apple News reached out to NABJ with the offer for association members. In addition to providing an opportunity for young journalists, the alliance will broaden the journalistic perspectives at Apple News and enrich its news coverage, Tucker said.
“It is important for any newsroom to have diverse voices,” she said. A Black journalist “may very well have been the victim of racism, sexism, or police brutality. It’s good that Apple News is recognizing that they should have those voices at the table, so they can do stories that reflect America.”
The lack of diversity in newsrooms has been on ongoing issue. Seventy-seven percent of newsroom employees are white, and 61 percent are male, according to a 2018 analysis from the Pew Research Center. However, Pew found a trend toward change, noting that younger newsroom employees tend to be more diverse than their older colleagues.
While Apple News approached NABJ with the offer, Tucker said associations can take the lead and approach large organizations to forge relationships and generate ideas for partnerships. “It is definitely worth the gamble to reach out and offer them something new,” she said.
In another example from the media world, last year the Online News Association teamed with two other journalism organizations to press for more racial equity in newsrooms. “This movement will require people, action, and resources at scale, and we’re looking to build an alliance of supporters,” ONA Executive Director Irving Washington, FASAE, CAE, said at the time.
For her part, Tucker is encouraged by the explosion of opportunities for younger journalists. The expansion of digital media has increased the platforms for reporting the news, giving journalists the opening to “tell stories, uncover wrongdoings, fight the wrongs, and find solutions,” she said.
“There is just no better time to be a journalist,” she said. “It’s now.”