Archive for the ‘training’ Category


New Reginald Stuart Diversity Management Fellowship to offer access to training

The Society of Professional Journalists, with funding support from the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, is announcing the creation of a fellowship to cover management training for SPJ members who are journalists of color, those who identify as LGBTQ or have disabilities.

The 2015 Reginald Stuart Diversity Management Fellowship will cover the expenses for two SPJ members to attend the Poynter Institute’s Leadership Academy, a weeklong training for managers held each October in St. Petersburg, Fla. Applications are due July 15.

“Being a good journalist and being a good manager are two different things,” said Robert Leger, president of the the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation. “The Foundation is excited to underwrite this training to prepare diverse journalists to make that jump, to their benefit and for the benefit of communities that should receive more inclusive coverage as a result.”

Reginald Stuart

Reginald Stuart

The fellowship, created by the SPJ Diversity Committee, aims to help identify potential newsroom managers from diverse backgrounds and offer them access to training that helps them to develop or strengthen skills that could help them be more successful in their jobs. It is named in honor of Reginald Stuart, a longtime diversity champion and the first African-American president of SPJ.

“Having newsroom staffs, especially managers, that reflect the communities they serve is an important way to help ensure that coverage accurately and fairly reflects what is happening in a community,” said April Bethea, chair of the SPJ Diversity Committee and an online producer at The Charlotte Observer. “These fellowships are but one way to expand the pool of future news leaders.”

Stuart has been a reporter, correspondent, bureau chief and assistant news editor for several media companies as well as a corporate recruiter for Knight Ridder and The McClatchy Company. In addition to serving as SPJ president, he has been a recipient of the Society’s Wells Memorial Key for outstanding service.

“Too many people with high potential were lured into management with unclear guidance and kept on the job with insufficient mentoring. That’s why so few people succeed in management,”Stuart said. “Here’s hoping this fellowship provides the guidance and mentoring that will help more aspiring managers master their career challenges so they and those who work with them reach their goals.”

In addition to attending the Poynter training, selected fellows will be expected to “pay it forward” by serving as speakers on leadership, diversity or other topics for SPJ.

More information about the fellowship and application procedures can be found here. The deadline to apply is July 15.

The fellowship joins other initiatives from SPJ to increase diversity in its membership and to address issues related to news coverage in diverse communities. Other efforts have included:

  • The newly-renamed Dori Maynard Diversity Leadership Program, which sends up to six journalists to SPJ’s annual conference. At the convention, program participants will learn more about the organization and how its programs affects journalists from a variety of backgrounds. Fifty fellows have participated in the program since 2005.
  • The Rainbow Diversity Sourcebook, a guide to help journalists expand the voices quoted in news articles. It is available online or as a mobile app.

For more information about the fellowship, contact Chris Vachon at cvachon@spj.org or 317-920-4781.

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Lynching story fails to identify race of all involved

If we don’t know our history, it is said, we are doomed to repeat it.

The New York Times published a story Feb. 10 that revealed some of the ugly history of the United States of America. A new report documents the lynchings of 4,000 human beings, black people tortured and killed by mobs of white people in 12 Southern U.S. states.

These African-American citizens were attacked and murdered for minor offenses or for doing nothing at all. Some of the killings took place less than a century ago. The Times’ story noted that the organization that compiled the report, the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, plans to erect markers and memorials at the sites of these horrific injustices.

What the Times story did not note was the race of the perpetrators. Vox, and later, Jezebel, called out the nation’s leading newspaper for failing to use the word “white” in its story, as if white, Caucasian people are not a race.

“This sort of oversight is in no way something that only happens in The New York Times or that only happens in the media,” wrote Jenée Desmond-Harris for Vox. “But this is the most recent example of the clunky awkwardness that accompanies discussions about the ways white supremacy shaped our nation’s history.”

Desmond-Harris’ point draws out a common blind spot in our reporting on race. Because media workers overwhelmingly are white, we tend to consider white, Anglo people as the norm, and not as a race, which surely we are.

When we point out that innocent black people were killed by mobs who watched and taunted and don’t identify the race of the people who did the killing, we diminish our own role in the oppression. (Full disclosure: I am white).

A theory called incognizant racism asserts that whites often overlook the concerns and interests of non-white people in favor of their own values and advantages in society. In newsrooms, this incognizant racism can help to uphold the status quo, which continues to favor whites.

If journalists are to be the watchdogs of society, who uphold the truth, it is important that we tell the whole truth. That includes pointing out the role of white people in the sometimes horrific racial history of our nation.

Everbach_head shotTracy Everbach is associate professor of journalism in the Mayborn School of Journalism at the University of North Texas.

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Tension in America

As race relations continue to be strained from the recent attention on Ferguson, Missouri where a police officer shot a young African American man, Michael Brown; or the journey of Central American children rushing to cross the United States border, we as journalists are covering these stories.

Emotions run high when people hear or read the news on these matters of racial strife or immigration. It reminds me of the daunting responsibility we have as journalists to tell these stories, and to always remember the power of our words and images.

It is with great pride to see journalism organizations like SPJ get involved when it becomes a challenge with law enforcement to cover stories such as the Ferguson protests. When events like the unrest in Ferguson erupt, we are out there on the front lines, with our notepads, mics and cameras. It is tough to be in the middle of chaotic incidents, but we are there, trying to get the story for our communities.

Let us stick with these stories, report the aftermath, the healing, and the efforts to solve the chaotic situations. May we learn something and pass these lessons on to others.

As the Excellence in Journalism Conference in Nashville gets underway this week, there are so many opportunities to grow and reflect on the issues before us.

A panel titled “Lessons from Ferguson” will explore the conflicts and challenges journalists faced in Missouri.
We can also learn about the dangers our fellow journalists are facing covering stories in Mexico.
And, the panel ‘Race Coverage: 50 years of change’, will explore how far journalism has come in reporting on race, and how far it still has to go.

Finally, there is also a panel looking at issues of states requiring IDs to vote, and states issuing drivers licenses to undocumented residents.

There is so much happening across our country, and so much to learn as we share these stories with the masses. I’m looking forward to the EIJ conference, because the knowledge we will be able to gain, will only make our news coverage better.

Sandra Gonzalez

Sandra Gonzalez

Sandra Gonzalez is SPJ Diversity Chair, and a general assignment reporter at KSNV-TV Las Vegas, NV

 

 

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Language matters: Think before you write

DictionaryWhat does “elderly” mean to you? Is 60 “elderly?” Cyndi Lauper and Tony Blair, both 60, probably would not agree. Is 80 “elderly?” Perhaps, but why use the word at all? Simply state a person’s age.

What does “inner city” or “urban” signify to you? Probably not a Manhattan high rise along Central Park, although that location is urban and in the inner city.

Words can convey subtle and not-so-subtle meanings, depending on their context. “Inner city” often is a code word for a neighborhood of poor people of color. But using it to mean only that is inaccurate and unfair.

In news reports, we read and hear these types of descriptors all the time. I would argue that their use constitutes lazy journalism.

What about people who are in the U.S. without official documents? In 2011, SPJ approved a resolution that urged journalists to stop using the terms “illegal alien” and “illegal immigrant.”

After the resolution passed, some accused the organization of having a political agenda. But, as SPJ has pointed out, this is a matter of accuracy. People without the proper paperwork have not been convicted of any crime. Because our constitution guarantees innocence until guilt is proven in court, these people may not be ruled “illegal” by journalists or anyone else except a judge or jury. In addition, a person cannot be “illegal.”

As journalists, we should use the words we actually mean rather than writing in code. On the word “elderly,” the Associated Press Stylebook has this to say: “Use this word carefully and sparingly. Do not refer to a person as elderly unless it is clearly relevant to the story.” List people’s ages, not judgmental descriptors.

Avoid using code words such as “inner city” or even “upscale.” When describing a neighborhood, research facts about that neighborhood rather than giving generalizations. Stereotypes are hard to break, but we can start working to fight them today.

Our own SPJ Code of Ethics states: “Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance or social status.”

It’s an easy rule to follow if we think before we write.

Photo by Greeblie, courtesy Creative Commons License. Image by Denelson83, courtesy Creative Commons GFDL.

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Four ways to build a diverse panel, and why it matters

If you’ve ever walked into a room and been “the only one,” whether it involved race, gender or another factor, you know the feeling of exclusion that lack of representation creates.

The recent Online News Association conference in Atlanta featured a panel on “Disrupt Diversity,” which focused on journalism strategies to find sources outside comfort zones.

The panelists included one white male, Steve Buttry of Digital First Media, one black woman, Dori Maynard, president of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, and one white woman, Jessica Valenti, columnist for The Nation. This is an example of a diverse panel whose speakers can offer a variety of perspectives. In fact, ONA made a particular effort this year to recruit a mix of panelists, with half of them women and 30 percent people of color.

Too many times panels and presentations feature people who come from similar backgrounds and have similar points of view. In fact, Rebecca Rosen wrote about this earlier this year in The Atlantic, calling on men who find themselves on all-male panels to refuse to serve. She was writing about technology and science, but journalism also is applicable.

Newsrooms continue to lack diversity, as shown by the American Society of News Editors’ annual census. Only 12.37 percent of newsroom staffs are non-white and only one-third of employees are female.

Finding people who represent a range of viewpoints is a helpful rule not only for journalism practice, but also for presentations. Whether we consider race, gender, disability, or any other difference, we must think about who is representing our organizations. Excluding part of the audience not only defies ethical principles, but it also is not good for business.

The excuses “we can’t find qualified minorities” and “we can’t find qualified women” often mean that people are not searching outside their own social and work circles.

Here are some ways to find a variety of speakers and sources:

  1. SPJ’s own Rainbow Diversity Sourcebook: http://www.spj.org/divsourcebook.asp
  2. The Women’s Media Center’s She Source: http://www.shesource.org/
  3. The CIIJ at San Francisco State University features links to several diverse journalism organizations: http://www.ciij.org/resources
  4. Many universities, including journalism schools, list professors and their areas of expertise on their websites, such as this one from Columbia Journalism School: http://www.journalism.columbia.edu/page/532-faculty-experts/

Please add your own links to diverse sources of information as comments to this post.

 

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The 2012 SPJ Diversity Leadership Fellows

From left: Malik Singleton, Nigel Duara, Britney Tabor, Sandra Gonzalez, Sherri Williams, Tony Hernandez.

The idea to establish a program for fellows to learn about the inner workings of SPJ through an immersion into teaching of the Society’s missions, culture and operations came to fruition seven years ago in a Las Vegas hotel that no longer exists. The Diversity Leadership Fellows Program would be an educational process starting at the beginning of the  SPJ national convention.  Selected fellows, who would be involved in many aspects of the conference, would receive complimentary registration and paid travel for the event.

Today, unlike the Vegas hotel where the first group of fellows met, the DLFP still exists.

Why?

SPJ has made it clear that diversity is part of its core mission and values, which is why SPJ’s Sigma Delta Chi Foundation continues to fund the successful program. To that extent, the diversity committee has spent the past several weeks working with Lauren Rochester, SPJ’s awards coordinator, and Chris Vachon, SPJ’s associate executive director,  in selecting participants for the 2012 Diversity Leadership Fellows Program.

We are excited about the six newest fellows, and the awesome list of mentors who have volunteered to work with the fellows.  This year’s fellows include: 

  • Nigel Duara, The Associated Press, Oregon/S.W. Washington Chapter, SPJ
  • Malik Singleton, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, Deadline Club Chapter, SPJ
  • Sandra Gonzalez, Freelance Digital Journalist, New Orleans Chapter, SPJ
  • Sherri Williams, Adjunct Faculty, Syracuse University, Freelance Writer, Former Board Member of the Central Ohio Chapter, SPJ
  •  Tony Hernandez, Northwest Arkansas Times, Northwest Arkansas Pro Chapter, SPJ
  • Britney Tabor, Denton Record-Chronicle, Fort Worth Chapter, SPJ

Bonnie Newman Davis

SPJ Diversity Committee Chair – 2011-2012

 

 

 

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ABC News Fellowship: Journalists of Diverse Backgrounds Apply Now

abcABC News is starting a fellowship program aimed at preparing up-and-coming journalists for television news.  The news network plans to choose participants from a variety of different  racial, ethnic, socio-economic and geographic backgrounds. Each fellow will work closely with an experienced ABC News mentor.

I have high hopes for this fellowship.  Kudos to ABC News for making an effort to find fellows from diverse backgrounds.

The chosen fellows will be offered:

  • Rotation among several ABC News departments and broadcasts.
  • Development of editorial, news gathering and production skills.
  • Work closely with assigned news mentor at ABC.

ABC News President Ben Sherwood says the network is committed in recruiting, developing, empowering and promoting the industry’s future leaders.  The news network hopes to start this program on July 2, 2012.

What you need to qualify:

  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Solid writing skills
  • Shooting and video editing experience
  • Minimum two years experience
  • Proficient in Spanish is preferred

Fellows will be employees of ABC News for one year.  For more information: ABC Fellowship.

Rebecca Aguilar is an Emmy award winning freelance reporter based in Dallas, TX.  She’s a board member with the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and SPJ Fort Worth Chapter. She’s also the vice chair of the SPJ Diversity Committee.

 

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Newsroom training comes to ethnic media in Chicago

This comes via Heather Porter, SPJ’s professional development coordinator:

On Saturday, February 20, SPJ teamed up with Community Media Workshop in Chicago to host training for journalists from the area’s ethnic publications. The Audio/Images for the Web session, part of SPJ’s Newsroom Training Program, offered beginning level hands-on training on how to record, import and edit audio files for use on the Web. Nineteen journalists from publications such as Hoy, Asian Broadcasting Network, CBS News, Reflegos bilingual newspaper, La Raza Newspaper and The Arab Horizon Newspaper attended. Victoria Lim, a reporter for Bright House Sports Network, served as the trainer.

“I have done training and been to the same kind of training that (Lim) did, and I thought she was excellent on the topic and wonderful as a communicator, listener and someone who carried through with enthusiasm and support,” Steve Franklin from Community Media Workshop said. “And the folks I talked to thought it was a wonderfully helpful session and plan to follow up.” For more information on the Society of Professional Journalists’ Newsroom Training Program, click here.

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