The Annenberg Foundation is giving the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism $5 million to help improve newsroom diversity. The money will support journalism students and young professionals from communities that are underrepresented in the news industry, according to a press release issued Monday.
“This generous gift speaks to The Annenberg Foundation’s unshakable and admirable commitment to diversity in journalism,”USC President C. L. “Max” Nikias said. “With newsrooms being reimagined for the digital age, and the breadth and shape of the news ever-changing, it is critical that young reporters and editors of different backgrounds be a part of the process. Such diversity encourages critical thinking, and critical thinking leads to more insightful journalism.”
A portion of the Annenberg Leadership Initiative grant will fund the following scholarships and fellowships:
- Annenberg Leadership Scholarships will provide full tuition for three Journalism M.S. graduate students a year and will target those from a variety of socio-economic backgrounds currently underrepresented in journalism and communication industries.
- Annenberg Leadership Fellowships will provide three fellowships a year, giving working journalists from diverse backgrounds a one-of-a-kind head start in their industry. This unique program will train the next generation of newsroom leaders, who will manage student journalists and multimedia journalism production in a truly 21 st century news environment, the Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves and CBS Media Center of Wallis Annenberg Hall.
The gift will also fund an expanded Community Reporting Initiative, to focus on identifying and meeting the needs of underserved communities. Working closely with USC Annenberg faculty and professional journalists, students will develop digital fluency by critically assessing and using emerging technology to reach new audiences and cover stories in more effective, compelling and accessible ways.
“If we want a news industry that truly understands and covers all of America, then our news industry has to embody all of America. We have to attract the best and brightest of every race and ethnicity and economic background – we have to equip them with the most cutting-edge tools and skills so our news coverage can be just as inclusive and forward-looking,” said Wallis Annenberg, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation.