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Campuses offer innovative approaches to diversity, training

01.07.02

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The Freedom Forum's Traveling Diversity Fellows visited college and university campuses across the country in search of aspiring journalists of color and programs that help prepare these students for successful newspaper careers.

The Diversity Directory is the result of the fellows' work. The directory includes information on more than 210 campuses in 32 states — hidden gems identified and visited by the fellows — and their programs, students and publications.

At many colleges and universities, journalism training comes in the form of an emphasis on instruction in reporting and writing and hands-on experience through work at a student newspaper and internships.

Some schools stand out because they have innovative approaches to diversity, training and education and minority outreach. Among them:

  • California State University, Fresno — In the middle of California's San Joaquin Valley sits a campus bursting with Latino and Asian-American students, about 40% of the student population. Graduates of the mass communication and journalism program have gone on to careers at The Washington Post, The Bakersfield Californian and The Record in Stockton, Calif.

  • Lehman College — At this City University of New York campus in the Bronx, students of color comprise more than 80% of the student population. Lehman emphasizes multilingual media, a reflection of the diversity on campus and in the community. The Bronx Journal, the campus newspaper, is written in 11 languages.

  • Norfolk State University — About half of the students in the mass communications program at this historically black university in Virginia are men, a surprise given that women outnumber men in many communications programs. The Spartan Echo, the student newspaper, was named best bi-weekly in 2001 by the Black College Communications Association.

  • University of California, Santa Cruz — Three Pulitzer Prize-winners got their start at this liberal arts school nestled among the redwoods. There is a writing program and journalism minor on campus. Graduates have gone on to work for the Associated Press, Newsday, The Press-Democrat in Santa Rosa, Calif., Mother Jones and other publications.

  • University of Memphis — The university, the city's high schools and the Commercial Appeal of Memphis have teamed up to help develop journalists before students get to college. The Teen Appeal program offers scholarships to participants, many of whom have gone on to college and to major in journalism.

  • University of the Pacific — This private university in Stockton, Calif., has a student body that is 40% minority, with one-quarter of all students Asian-American. Students of color are encouraged to join the staff of the campus newspaper, The Pacifican, or to contribute articles. The weekly newspaper stresses tight, conversational writing.

  • University of Texas, Pan American Campus — More than 90% of the student population is Hispanic. Students at this lower Rio Grande Valley campus get newspaper experience at the Pan American, a well-written and well-laid out twice-weekly.

  • Wayne State University — The Journalism Institute for Minorities program at this university in Michigan provides full scholarships for up to 40 students of color each year. Students must maintain a 3.0 grade-point average and do an internship each semester. Participants come from Detroit area high schools and community colleges. Of the 150 graduates of the program, 100 still work in newspapers.

  • Wilberforce University — This private, four-year historically black university in Ohio requires internships and practicums for graduates, who can study journalism as a communications major in the Humanities Division. Students can get experience at the biweekly campus paper, The Mirror. Wilberforce students have interned at the local The Xenia (Ohio) Daily Gazette and the nearby Dayton (Ohio) Daily News, and five Wilberforce students have had internships at The Philadelphia Inquirer.
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