Efforts To Recruit More Journalists Of Color (To Cover Education)

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There are a number of new efforts to bring more diverse backgrounds into journalism going on these days, including a new Fusion Fellowship program that’s just launched in California and includes a bunch of journalists and activists some of whom — it looks like — might be interested in school-related issues. 

You can read all about the new effort here (and apologies for originally misidentifying the outlet that’s sponsoring the effort). The funding behind this comes from the California Endowment.

Other efforts to bring more diversity into journalism (not necessarily education reporting) includes the ProPublica “Emerging Reporters” program, started last year, which is specifically focused on candidates of color.

Several major papers have minority recruitment programs, such as the LA Times’ long-running Minority Editorial Training Program (aka METPRO), though they’re not specifically focused on education reporters. 

Folks from the Bay Area News group have run a two-week journalism summer boot camp for students of color, all expenses paid, called Mosaic.

With funding from the Emerson Collective, the Columbia Journalism School runs the Teacher Project, which picks recent J-School grads to work for a year on education stories that are published by Slate and others. It’s not explicitly targeted towards journalists of color, but it’s focused on education coverage and at least some of its fellows have been #edJOC. 

I’m told that EWA has student members and schedules events on campuses so that they can participate easily (with scholarships, where appropriate). Previously, EWA was involved in an IRE-led program called The Campus Coverage Project, which also helped bring student journalists into the beat.  But EWA doesn’t currently run any targeted mentoring programs or outreach initiatives for student journalists, including students of color.  

Alexander Russo

Alexander Russo is a freelance education writer who has created several long-running blogs such as the national news site This Week In Education, District 299 (about Chicago schools), and LA School Report. He can be reached on Twitter at @alexanderrusso, on Facebook, or directly at alexanderrusso@gmail.com.