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SPJ In Pictures
Celebrating Diversity at the 2006 SPJ Convention
2006 SPJ Leader Breakfast

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SPJ's Diversity Committee Blog
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– Why We Are Expanding Muslimedia
– Muslimedia sheds light on the darkness of media’s coverage of Muslim Americans
– University pays high honor to Pulitzer-winning journalist George Ramos

Diversity Committee
On both chapter and national levels, SPJ provides an open forum for the discussion of diversity issues in journalism. This committee's purpose is to promote a broader voice in newsrooms across the country and expand the depth and quality of news reports through better sourcing. Its ongoing project is the compilation of experts — primarily women, gays and lesbians, people of color and people with disabilities — through the Society's Diversity Source Book. The Society's relevance to its member is based on inclusiveness.

Diversity Committee Chair

Dori Zinn
President, Blossomers Media
Bio (click to expand) Dori Zinn is the President of Blossomers Media, a web development and online media company. This is her second year as President of SPJ Florida Pro. For five years, Zinn served on the board as Vice President of Membership for the chapter, helping win SPJ's “Chapter of the Year” in 2010, 2014, and 2016. This is her first year as chair of the Diversity Committee.

Diversity Committee Members

April Bethea
Online Producer
The Charlotte Observer

Tracy Everbach
Associate Professor of Journalism
University of North Texas

Sandra Gonzalez

Robert Moran

Sally Lehrman
Director, Journalism Program
Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
Santa Clara University

Christiana Lilly

Jason Parsley

Georgiana Vines
Retired Associate Editor
Knoxville News Sentinel

Home > SPJ Convention > 2006 Convention Recap > Celebrating Diversity at the 2006 SPJ Convention

SPJ in Pictures
Celebrating Diversity at the 2006 SPJ Convention

"News in a New America" debuted at the Celebration of Diversity Reception, industry leaders shared their wisdom, and the Diversity Leadership Fellows kicked off a second year.

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At the Celebration of Diversity Reception, Diversity Chair Sally Lehrman spoke about her new book, News in a New America, funded by the John F. and James L. Knight Foundation. Copies are available free by writing

"As you know, demographic change is sweeping the country. Not just on the coasts, but in mid-America too. In a few decades, we will be a so-called "majority-ethnic minority" country. At the same time, lesbian, gay and bisexual people and those with disabilities are becoming more visible and active in civil society. Yet, even after several decades of effort, the news media have not kept up, either in staffing or in content. My editor, Eric Newton, asked me to find out why. He asked, how can we rethink this problem?

I consulted with more than 150 people and resources inside newsrooms and out, learning from those who study media and social science. Here's what I found: First, there are historical structures in society that favor some groups and have the effect of limiting the voices in democratic debate. Two, at a very deep level, we unconsciously favor people like ourselves. We turn to them for news leads and as sources. So, unless we take conscious steps to counteract unconscious bias and structural bias, the news media will continue to replicate unequal access and unequal representation in our society.

What can we do? We can question some of what we consider our tried and true journalistic practices. For instance, what is newsworthy? Who is "prominent"? To whom? Who is an "expert"? Only someone with a big title, lots of power?

We can learn from the ethnic media: We can build trust. We can take time. We can include history and context in our stories. We can pay attention to the point of view that frames a story. Is it white? Is it female? Is it middle class?

I'm proud that just this weekend, SPJ once again took steps toward conscious inclusiveness with a board vote to codify the diversity mission in a clearly stated, open, inclusive hiring process for headquarters. I thank you all for your commitment to diversity."

Tenor Rodell Rosel and pianist Celeste Rue closed the reception with a captivating performance.

Six talented journalists received SPJ national leadership training at the 2006 Convention as part of the Diversity Leadership Outreach Program. For the coming year, the fellows will pair with six top "guides" already serving on the board or leading committees.

Fellows visited the Chicago Reporter to learn how to investigate race- and poverty-based inequities by using public documents. Instructors from the Applied Research Center invited the fellows to rethink what "diversity" means and learn about institutional inequality in order to generate long-term, positive change within an organization. Bryan Monroe, editor of Jet and Ebony, dropped by to give an encouraging talk on how to work from the inside out to prepare the news media for America's changing demographics. Cristina Azocar, director of the San Francisco State University Center for the Integration and Improvement of Journalism, geared up the teams for a productive cross-mentoring year. A highlight was the reunion dinner at the Negro League Cafe planned by outgoing fellow Curtis Lawrence of Columbia College, who also developed a panel on black-owned media.

Elvia Aguilar, Corpus Christi Caller-Times
George Daniels, University of Alabama
Debra Krol, Fort McDowell Yavapai News
Andrea Lewis, KPFA-FM
Gene Murray, Grambling State University
Samaruddin Stewart, AOL-News and Sports

Clint Brewer, Nashville City Paper
Robert Leger, Arizona Republic
Sally Lehrman, Independent Science and Medical Writer
Mead Loop, Ithaca College
Paul McAfee,
Deb Wenger, Virginia Commonwealth University

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SPJ In Pictures
Celebrating Diversity at the 2006 SPJ Convention
2006 SPJ Leader Breakfast

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Our Mission
The Society of Professional Journalists is dedicated to the perpetuation of a free press as the cornerstone of our nation and our liberty.

To ensure that the concept of self-government outlined by the U.S. Constitution remains a reality into future centuries, the American people must be well informed in order to make decisions regarding their lives, and their local and national communities.

It is the role of journalists to provide this information in an accurate, comprehensive, timely and understandable manner.

It is the mission of the Society of Professional Journalists:

— To promote this flow of information.
— To maintain constant vigilance in protection of the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and of the press.
— To stimulate high standards and ethical behavior in the practice of journalism.
— To foster excellence among journalists.
— To inspire successive generations of talented individuals to become dedicated journalists.
— To encourage diversity in journalism.
— To be the pre-eminent, broad-based membership organization for journalists.
— To encourage a climate in which journalism can be practiced freely.
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