UNITY: Journalists for Diversity will hold its second regional conference in Detroit as it continues to focus on its new mission of visit communities battling incoming inequality.
The first regional conference was held May 2 on the homeland of the Oglala Sioux Tribe in South Dakota. The event attracted more than 70 people from eight different states and around 30 children from American Horse School.
The Detroit regional event entitled, “Empowering The Detroit Story,” will be held on Sept. 12, bringing in journalists from around the country to Wayne State University. The event will be centered on media literacy, multimedia training, entrepreneurial journalism and discussions on tackling poverty. Other conference partners include the Ford Foundation and the Arab-American National Museum.
UNITY President Russell Contreras said the coalition wanted to come to Detroit because the community is actively responding to the city’s many challenges and Detroit has a long history with various communities of color. “There are many stories that get overlooked in Detroit. This is not just a city struggling with poverty,” Contreras said. “This is a city working to end poverty.”
Ethriam Cash Brammer, associate director of the Center for Latino and Latin American Studies at Wayne State said the university was happy to welcome UNITY to campus and believes the area needs to have an honest discussion on media diversity. “Detroit is a unique city with a very diverse population,” Brammer said. “All of our voices need to be heard.”
The target audience for the conference are journalists and members of the community, said Contreras via email. Workshops will include building simple websites, investigative journalism, social media training and media engagement taught by Investigative Reporters and Editors, local journalists and community members, he added. A town hall meeting with local journalists of color also is planned for members of the community.
Before the summit, syndicated cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz will hold a cartooning workshop for students in Detroit and Chicago Tribune Standards Editor Margaret Holt speak on media ethics to a Wayne State journalism class. In addition, Alcaraz will be the keynote speakers for the annual gala for the Center for Latino and Latin American Studies on the evening of Sept. 12 at Wayne State.
Contreras said UNITY, a coalition of minority journalists, is moving toward an active and impactful mission, rather than an organization that is seen as just holding a conference every four years.
The board of directors for UNITY is scheduled to meet in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, on Oct. 17 to discuss a long-term strategic plan for the organization, along with its regional conference schedule for 2016.