NEW YORK—June 1, 2017—To support journalists of color and increase diversity in journalism, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation today announced $150,000 in support to the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting.
The 2016 diversity survey by the American Society of News Editors highlighted that people of color comprised about 17 percent of employees at daily news organizations and 23 percent at online-only publications. Among investigative reporters, the percentage of journalists of color is even lower. The Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, which is housed at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism, was formed in 2016 to address this challenge. It provides data journalism workshops, training and networking opportunities for journalists of color.
“As on-going racial inequality roils the country, too few of the journalists tasked with investigative reporting come from the communities suffering the most. This is bad for journalism and bad for democracy,” said Nikole Hannah-Jones, co-founder of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting. “For too long we have been hearing the excuses about why the ranks of investigative reporters remains so non-diverse. We founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting to help change the landscape. With the support of Knight Foundation, we intend to increase the number of investigative journalists of color and provide the mentorship, networking and training that they need to stay in newsrooms and produce the type of work that holds power accountable.”
The organization will use Knight Foundation funding for training workshops, including three data journalism and coding boot camps geared toward programmers and journalists of color. It will produce courses to help these journalists with building skills in deep beat reporting on topics of civic concern and develop an immersive mentorship program, specifically designed to support the next generation of journalists of color and to keep them in the field. The society will hire a full-time manager to attract new investment, develop partnerships and help advance the organization’s long-term sustainability.
“Journalism’s future depends on accurate reporting around topics of great civic concern. This means we need more journalists of color, bringing diverse voices and perspectives, working in data journalism and on investigative reporting projects,” said Jennifer Preston, Knight Foundation vice president for journalism. “The Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting is working to advance these goals by building a learning and leadership network of diverse journalists committed to using investigative reporting to inform and engage communities.”
Support for the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting is part of Knight Foundation’s efforts to advance diversity and excellence in journalism. Knight has made many investments in this area, including support for City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism diversity initiative and journalism programs at historically black colleges and universities including, Morgan State University, Hampton University, and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University. The foundation also supports journalists of color through organizations such as the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the Asian American Journalists Association and the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education.
About the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting
The Ida B. Wells Society is a news/trade organization dedicated to increasing the ranks of investigative reporters of color. The Society is housed at the City University of New York’s Graduate School of Journalism, which also serves as the organization’s fiscal sponsor. For more, visit idabwellssociety.org.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit knightfoundation.org.
Anusha Alikhan, Communications Director, Knight Foundation, [email protected], 305-908-2677.