The Knight Foundation is giving $1.2 million to fund a diversity-coach-in-residence program for newsrooms.
The money will go to the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, which will create The Equity and Inclusion Transformation Program to help newsrooms "better inform underserved communities and establish more equitable and inclusive workplaces."
That comes as news outlets are increasingly reporting on racially motivated shootings and a President whose tweets about Mexican immigrants and his criticisms of reportage on that issue, as well as on the rise of white nationalism, have prompted national debates.
“Given where we are in the discourse around our national politics, I cannot think of a more important initiative than this,” said Martin G. Reynolds, Maynard Institute co-executive director, in a statement. “If we are to survive as an industry, the stories we produce and the customers we seek to serve must see themselves accurately reflected."
Knight said that Maynard will "embed" specialists in news organizations to assess processes and dynamics as well as content and then help build core values of diversity and inclusion.
The program will start with embeds in two newsrooms, the Knight-Lenfest Table Stakes initiative, and a newsroom to be chosen later in the year via a competition among non-profits and for-profits.