Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education to help increase diversity in journalism with $134,000 from Knight Foundation

Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education to help increase diversity in journalism with $134,000 from Knight Foundation

Funding will support development and pilot of a new cultural competency program
for college journalism students 

OAKLAND, Calif.―Aug. 9, 2017―The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education will create a new training program to provide the next generation of journalists with the tools they need to advance diversity in journalism with $134,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The cultural competency program will focus on helping students better report on issues of race, gender, class, generation and geography.

“At a time when trust in news is at an all time low, it is more important than ever for journalists to better understand the people they cover. Yet the staff at most news organizations does not reflect the diversity of our communities. Without the insights of diverse sources, the accuracy of the journalism suffers,” said Karen Rundlet, Knight Foundation program officer for journalism. “This new program seeks to help change that reality, targeting journalism students as changemakers in building the newsrooms of the future.”

The American Society of News Editors’ latest study of newsroom diversity found that people of color comprise 17 percent of the journalism workforce. Since 1977, the Maynard Institute has worked to address the journalism industry’s diversity challenges on numerous fronts, including diversity training and leadership development. The institute’s new strategic plan, funded by Knight, identified Maynard’s cultural competency training as a process that could advance both journalism education and the profession. Based on its highly regarded Fault Lines framework, this training helps journalists improve their community reporting by recognizing how race, class, generation, gender and geography affect their work.

With Knight funding, Maynard will use the Fault Lines framework as a basis to pilot a new training program, curriculum and multiplatform toolkit to improve cultural competency among journalism and mass communications students. The goal is to spread the program to journalism schools across the country.

The curriculum and modules will be developed in collaboration with Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Louisiana State University’s Manship School of Mass Communication, University of Arizona School of Journalism and Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication.

Maynard will partner with journalism educators and consult the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC) to develop the program. The curriculum will then be tested at no fewer than two of the collaborating universities. Using findings from the pilot, Maynard will refine the curriculum and identify opportunities to expand it to more U.S. campuses.

“This support will give us the chance to take the Fault Lines framework and develop a curriculum that will better prepare journalism and mass communication students to be able to culturally navigate our complex society,” said Martin G. Reynolds, co-executive director of the Maynard Institute. “By working closely with educators and ACEJMC, our goal is also to create something that will help journalism and mass communications schools meet the diversity standard for accreditation.”

“With learning management systems being so widely adopted by schools, we want to explore how these modules can be developed to connect different schools with faculty and students of many backgrounds and communications disciplines, who can perhaps share work, share experiences and learn from the lessons of others from all over the country. We are thrilled to have this opportunity.”

Support for the Maynard Institute 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 and the Asian American Journalists Association.

About the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education

The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education is the nation’s oldest organization dedicated to helping the news media accurately portray all segments of society, particularly those often overlooked, such as communities of color. The institute has a five-decade track record of training media managers and journalists, championing diverse hiring practices and promoting accurate news coverage. Its newest program is Voices, which trains members of a community in storytelling tools so they can tell the stories of their lives.

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.


Martin Reynolds, 510-390-1779, [email protected]

Evelyn Hsu, 510-681-7214, [email protected]

Anusha Alikhan, Director of Communications, Knight Foundation, 305-908-2646, [email protected]