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SPJ's Diversity Blog » Blog Archive » Diversity Committee: Looking ahead to the coming year | A Society of Professional Journalists Blog

Diversity Committee: Looking ahead to the coming year

It was nice to meet many of you in Nashville and I look forward to working with everyone in the upcoming year. I wanted to follow-up on a few items that came up during and after the EIJ conference.

First off, I’d like to again extend big thank you to Sandra Gonzalez for her work in leading the committee the past two years, especially for mentoring the Diversity Leadership Fellows during the conference. And thank you also to Georgiana Vines for agreeing to be vice-chair of the committee this year.

Diversity Chair April Bethea and past Chair Sandra Gonzalez and the President's Installation Banquet. Photo by Walter Middlebrook

Diversity Chair April Bethea and past Chair Sandra Gonzalez. Photo by Walter Middlebrook

In case you haven’t seen it, President Dana Neuts recently wrote a blog post on SPJ’s need to improve diversity within the organization. Region 3 Director Michael Koretzky also wrote on the issue, and I understand the membership committee also is looking at diversity in its efforts for the coming year. I hope to share more with you in the future.

Below is a recap of some of the things discussed at the committee meeting in Nashville. I hope you’ll find a project (or two) that you’ll want to help with this year.

1) MANAGEMENT TRAINING: One of our major goals for the year is to launch a project to help train journalists from diverse backgrounds who want to be managers. One idea is to sponsor someone to attend the Executive Leadership Program held by the AAJA. Walter Middlebrook has been taking the lead on this. This would require funding from SDX, and we’d need to first submit a proposal to the SPJ executive committee by January.

2) RAINBOW SOURCEBOOK: We’d like to make another run at updating the sourcebook, including reaching out to journalism schools or other educators to help with the work. If you are interested in helping with or leading this effort, please email me at adbethea@gmail.com

3) CATCHING UP WITH DIVERSITY LEADERSHIP FELLOWS: There have been eight classes of fellows since 2005, and we’re looking for 1-2 people to reach out to alumni to learn what they are doing now and if they are still involved with SPJ. This year’s fellows also suggested creating a Facebook group to help alumni stay in touch. If you’re interested in helping with this project, please contact me.

4) PROGRAMMING AT FUTURE CONFERENCES: There was a lot of concern about the lack of diversity in much of the programming at EIJ and a desire to push for change. I’ve shared those concerns with Dana Neuts, and Sandra and I both shared it with Chris Vachon during a debriefing on the fellows program. Athima Chansanchai, one of this year’s fellows, has expressed interest in helping with programming for EIJ15 and I also shared that with Dana. In the meantime, the request for EIJ15 proposals should be going out within the next month. I encourage you all to submit proposals and let me know if you have other thoughts on this issue.

5) WRITERS NEEDED: Finally, we’re looking for volunteers to help update our blog and social media accounts, as well as write for Quill on diversity-related topics. I’d like to see the blog updated at least twice a month, including a roundup of articles or other posts on diversity in journalism. Please contact Sandra Gonzalez (E-mail) if you’re interested.

Thank you all for your ideas and discussion at the committee meeting. Again, I look forward to working with you all.

 

April Bethea,
SPJ Diversity Committee Chair
Online Producer, The Charlotte Observer
adbethea@gmail.com | Twitter: @AprilBethea


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