How about a little good news for a change? 

The Lenfest Institute for Journalism is pleased to announce that it has committed a total of $70,000 in support in 2020 for the Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia Chapter (AAJA Philly), the National Association of Hispanic Journalists Philadelphia Chapter (NAHJ Philly), and — as announced earlier —  the Philadelphia Association of Black Journalists (PABJ). These three professional journalism organizations provide unique, quality programs and services to journalists of color in the Philadelphia region.

These are challenging times as public health concerns remain front and center for our community and for journalists across our region. The Lenfest Institute is immensely proud of the work of our region’s news media to keep the public informed and to remain on the front lines — even in the face of uncertainty. 

We believe that it is more important than ever that we do all we can to support the news ecosystem, as well as individual journalists in the Philadelphia region. The Institute is committed to ensuring that a broad array of journalists have the resources they need to continue to provide critical news and information to the diverse communities they serve.  

With this funding, AAJA Philly, NAHJ Philly, and PABJ will expand their programming to support journalists of color in Philadelphia — from freelance and entrepreneurial journalists to those working in larger news organizations. Philadelphia is a city that is roughly 66% people of color, yet these populations are not yet fully represented in many of our newsrooms. There is work to be done.  

The Lenfest Institute’s ambitious goal is to ensure that 50% or more of working journalists in Philadelphia will be people of color by 2025. We have undertaken various grants and programs to help achieve this goal. Our commitment to each of these three professional associations reflects our recognition that the most effective and equitable solutions are often created for communities of color by communities of color.

These grants are co-funded by the Independence Public Media Foundation and The Lenfest Institute for Journalism, both Philadelphia-based non-profit organizations dedicated to greater equity and diversity in the region’s news media.

Here are some of the initiatives they are planning for the coming year:

AAJA Philly – $15,000

With this grant, AAJA Philly will increase its educational programming. With the added support, it plans to bring in guest speakers to engage with the community. AAJA Philly will also engage with more Asian American and Pacific Islander journalists by hosting more mixers and other social gatherings.

AAJA Philly has for years provided scholarships to offset the travel and registration costs for members attending AAJA’s annual national convention. It will now expand these offerings to provide support for independent projects, general tuition scholarships for students, reimbursements for members to travel to other conferences, and grants to help students in unpaid or low-paid internships.

NAHJ Philly – $5,000

We are proud to support the recently relaunched National Association of Hispanic Journalists Philadelphia Chapter. With this backing, the chapter has started hosting meetings and trainings, and will continue to do so throughout the year. We are sponsoring the chapter as it continues to gather, train, and advocate for Latinx journalists in Philadelphia.

We wish to thank our Lenfest Institute alumna Mariela Morales Suárez, now a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication, for her tireless effort to relaunch this chapter.

PABJ – $50,000

With this grant, which was announced late last year, PABJ plans to bolster its current programming, provide new training on Instagram, copy editing, search engine optimization, and other key topics, and expand two annual conference events.

PABJ is planning to host the Millennial Media Makers of Color Conference. This two-day conference strengthens the connections between diverse millennial media professionals through community engagement, cross-industry networking, and developing strategies for advancing careers.

Other new programs include the launch of several podcasts focused on news that impacts Black communities in Philadelphia and the creation of a task force focused on engaging veteran journalists with digital media opportunities.

PABJ will also expand the CannAtlantic Conference, a regionally focused event for community members, experts, lawmakers and media professionals to learn how to better educate the public on the state of cannabis legalization and related issues of racial inequities in the sector.

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