Since our founding in 2006 as the first, and still only, public graduate journalism school in the northeast, we have embraced the school’s mission to provide greater access to students from all income levels, races, and ethnicities, and to bring reporters with more diverse voices and lived experiences into our profession.
To support that mission, we have intentionally taken a non-traditional approach to admissions, offered scholarships to more than half our students, and provided a living stipend to any student whose required summer internship is unpaid. In 2016, we launched the nation’s first bilingual graduate journalism program to strengthen our students’ ability to report for and with Latinx communities. In the last five years, as these statistics show, more than half our students have identified as Black, Hispanic, Asian, or multiracial. An increasing number has identified as transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming.
As the school has grown, we have also developed programs for mid-career and executive level journalists, and in doing so, we have maintained our commitment to diversity. More than half the participants in those training, certificate, and executive programs are women and people of color.
As a public institution, we have also felt a responsibility to support news outlets in communities that are often underserved by what is called mainstream media. We own two news outlets in the South Bronx: the Mott Haven Herald and the Hunts Point Express. And through our Center for Community Media, we serve as a national hub of information, resources, and training for news organizations that provide coverage for immigrant communities and communities of color.
This webpage highlights our approaches to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).
Since Spring 2020, the school has undertaken a reexamination of our approach to diversity, equity, and inclusion. To aid us in that work, we launched a needs assessment with an independent consultant. While that research was being conducted, the entire community began the process of updating our Strategic and Diversity plans. We launched a multi-pronged approach, led by five subcommittees of the Diversity Committee, to examine every aspect of the school through a DEI lens and produce a three-year plan. It will map best practices and goals that will be measured and attached to a timeline. The subcommittees expect to complete their work by the end of this year. Once approved —first by the Diversity Committee and then the school’s Governance Council — the plan will be reviewed annually to assess progress on each goal.
Our Campus Culture
We want all members of the school community, as well as guests, to feel the school is a safe and welcoming place. Below are some examples of ways the school is working to ensure this.
- We launched a Newmark J-School reporting tool to help us monitor DEI complaints and concerns. If you are a member of our community, please go here to fill out the form to report an incident of discrimination and/or bias. This does not replace the CUNY policies and procedures for reporting discrimination which are available below.
- We review our events for both internal and external audiences as well as school-produced newsletters and offerings in our Research Center to ensure that the topics and speakers we choose reflect the school’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- Our public safety team, the campus’s first-point of contact with the community, has been participating in training to learn skills on how to engage with students effectively, including students who identify as LGBTQIA+.
- We are reviewing the interiors of our facility to see if there are better ways for the art and messaging to reflect our diversity and the diverse populations we serve.
The J-School benefits from two key groups leading initiatives in all areas of the school to ensure that we’re building an equitable environment for all members of our community.
The Diversity Committee is a standing committee reporting to the J-School’s Governance Council. It consists of faculty, staff, students, and an alumnus. The committee advises the school on strategies to achieve diversity in ethnic and racial origin, gender, age, income, physical abilities, and sexual orientation. It also oversees the development of the school’s Diversity Plan and recommends ways to ensure, for example, that DEI is well represented in course content and administrative policies.
The DEI Taskforce was appointed by Dean Sarah Bartlett in July 2020 to advise the Diversity Committee on key initiatives, including assisting in contracting with a consultant to execute a campus-wide campus climate survey. The taskforce leaders are Yahaira Castro, assistant dean for Student Experience, Jennifer Choi, director of Equity Initiatives, and Chief Diversity Officer Sahana Gupta.
The Newmark Graduate School of Journalism is one of 25 schools under the City University of New York. Below is a list of CUNY policies, as well as J-School policies, which our community can refer to regarding DEI concerns.
Our Academics and Training
We are committed to supporting our faculty in developing cultural competency and incorporating DEI into curricula.
- Part of updating our Diversity Plan (see “Our Goals”) includes revisiting the learning outcomes for all students.
- We are looking at building more flexibility into our master’s programs to make it easier for students to attend part-time.
- Faculty are sharing their models for teaching with a mindful DEI approach. We are developing a resource repository to launch by the end of Spring 2021 for faculty to learn from each other on approaches to teaching their students to critically examine news media around communities of color and for diversity, equity, and inclusion.
- In collaboration with news outlets, our Career Services team has been holding “readiness” workshops to help students from marginalized backgrounds navigate professional environments as interns and long after they graduate from the school, and to help white students become more effective allies.
- The Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism hosts a “community of practice” made up of mid- and senior-level journalists whose primary focus is to advance DEI within their newsrooms.
- Through our News Integrity Initiative, we have invested in and supported organizations that are advancing DEI initiatives around the world through their research and trainings, including those that address misinformation and disinformation campaigns targeted at communities of color.
We use a DEI lens in our recruitment of students, faculty, and staff.
- We hired an associate director of multicultural recruitment in Fall 2019 to enhance our outreach to underrepresented communities.
- We recruit at historically Black colleges and universities, and Hispanic-serving institutions.
- We regularly recruit at conferences for professional organizations, including the National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Native American Journalists Association, and Asian American Journalists Association.
- We regularly enroll more than 50% from communities of color. Please go here for the latest stats on our student body.
The school has a number of active student organizations, including the National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Women’s Club, and Queer Club. For a full list of student clubs, please go here.
Staff & Faculty
- As a CUNY school, our search process reflects the university’s commitment to recruit staff and faculty from a wide talent pool. Committee members are offered information and documents on how to conduct a fair and equitable search. For faculty, we regularly advertise in places like the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the South Asian Journalists Association, and others. Our search committees are diverse and now often include students.
- In December 2020, we launched trainings for managers to ensure a DEI lens is used to support more intentional career development for our staff; we will continue those.
- In Fall 2020, we committed to $10,000 in annual funding support for professional development requests from our staff, matching a fund used to support faculty research and conference travel.
Our Journalistic Partnerships
We partner with a variety of journalistic organizations to help us achieve our goal of increasing diversity in journalism. Below are just a few examples.
- We have raised more than $600,000 in support of scholarships for members of the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, which focuses on increasing the representation of people of color in investigative reporting
- We offer a full Reuters-NABJ scholarship to a student member of the National Association of Black Journalists.
- Our Career Services Department has developed partnerships with employers eager to connect with our students skilled in cultural-competency reporting. For a list of organizations where students have interned, please go here. The office also works with student organizations like the National Association of Black Journalists, which will launch a media fair in Fall 2021 with school support.
- We contribute $5,000 a year to enable current students to attend annual conferences of professional groups of Black, Hispanic, and Asian journalists.
Our Events and News
We hold regular events to facilitate relevant discussions about DEI issues. For example, leading up to the 2020 presidential election, we hosted a conversation with leading experts on disinformation in Black communities and how the Black media could take a stand; we organized a training for New York City journalists to prepare to cover issues around voter suppression, including trouble at the polls. We held conversations for journalists — including a three-part series led by local publishers talking about polarization in immigrant, rural, and communities with historic trauma. We are also holding a series of convenings in partnership with Media 2070 for news industry leaders to rethink the relationship between communities and the media.
What We’re Reading, Watching, Listening to
- We put together this DEI resource guide for the J-School faculty and this one for staff.
- We have a faculty and staff book club. Check out the reading list.
- Members of our community work for these relevant podcasts: The United States of Anxiety; The Experiment; In the Thick; School Colors; Hear to Slay.