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The scholarship prepares students for inclusively black universities in the United States

The scholarship prepares students for inclusively black universities in the United States

The program provides professional development and fosters coverage of historically black colleges and universities

* per

While Jared Carter Sr. was initiated HBCU Digest In 2010, higher education journalism at historically black colleges and universities in the United States must carefully and rigorously fill a gap.

Carter aspired to be a sportswriter as a student at Morgan State University in the early 2000s. But a professor, Frank Dexter Brown, encouraged him to experiment with reporting in different industries.

Carter was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper, The MSU Spokesman, and after graduating in 2003, went to work for the university in public relations. In 2009, HBCUs (abbr historically black colleges and universities) They are often not as densely covered as white forests.

“I started to wonder why HBCUs don’t get more institutional coverage.” said Carter. “HBCU Digest’s mission is to tell the HBCU story differently. I never imagined that I would fall in love with higher education and especially institutions in ways that change lives.

After 11 years running HBCU Digest, Carter joined Howard University in 2021 as director of operations, strategy and communications. But her work at the Digest caught the attention of Sarah Hebel and Scott Smallwood, co-founders of Open Campus Media. Nonprofit investigative news publication covering higher education.

This led Hebel and Smallwood to the idea of ​​the HBCU Student Reporting Network, a paid scholarship for student journalists covering HBCUs to a wider audience across the country. The program began with an elementary class of 6 students, with Carter as teacher and Wesley Wright as assistant teacher. It is funded by grants from the Knight Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and the Scripps Howard Fund. Fellows will receive a living allowance of US$1,200 per month for 1 semester of scholarship.

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1st class includes: Aussie Birdsell from Morehouse College; Brittany Patterson of Southern University and A&M College; Jasper Smith of Howard University; Skyler Stephens of Xavier University, Louisiana; Alivia Welch of Jackson State University; and Dewanna Williams of Claflin University.

The partnership is modeled after the CalMatters College Journalism Network, which launched in 2020 to amplify news from California public universities. HBCU Student Journalism Network Fellows spend 10-15 hours a week during the semester mentoring Carter and Wright. They are eager to hide “Funding and Enrollment Trends, Campus Arts and Sports Cultures, and Roles of Students and Colleges in Social Justice”According to an Open Campus press release.

One reason HBCUs are disguised, Carter said, is dwindling resources in local newsrooms in the same communities as HBCUs. Story budgets are usually dictated by what the editors in charge are most interested in. Reporters have limited bandwidth, and education reporting traditionally covers local school boards and the city’s largest college or university. (A bright spot: A plug featuring black tech companies, a newsletter HBCUs are dedicated to embracing technology and innovation.)

“Generally, the coverage is about the struggles and financial problems at HBCUs.” Carter said – and less “The impact of HBCUs on faculty competence, student workforce development, political mobilization, or agriculture, high school, medicine, and law. [Mas] News activities are beginning to connect the dots about what diversity means and how to get there in terms of workforce development, and HBCUs are at the center of that..

The Student Journalism Network comes at an important time for HBCUs. Since the global pandemic and the killing of George Floyd in June 2020, HBCUs have received millions of dollars in philanthropic donations and national attention. Author and philanthropist Mackenzie Scott has donated more than half a billion dollars to nearly two dozen HBCUs from July to December 2020. Recipients have made donations for their scholarships, hiring faculty, upgrading technology and facilities, and more. plug. In 2021, the Knight Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation jointly gave Howard University $20 million to open a Center for Journalism and Democracy, now headed by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Nicole-Hannah Jones.

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Enrollment at HBCUs has increased over the past 3 years (even as college enrollment has declined nationwide) and students expect a safe and inclusive environment to study. At the same time, corporations and large corporations are pushing to diversify their workforces; Some have begun to invest in HBCUs to do this.

But none of this is enough to solve larger institutional problems like historic underfunding and discrimination, Carter said. (“$50 million helps but $250 million won’t solve the problem.”)

Wright, who works as a student media adviser at Florida Atlantic University, said that like in other areas, when there are few or no journalists covering institutions, local communities and the institution suffer. Student network partners already have the advantage of being familiar with campus communities.

“People who work at HBCUs often feel like they’re skydiving after a tragedy or some event, and then they quit.”Wright said. “This fraternity has a different era. We don’t send someone from another part of the country to skydive and interview a football coach, and that person doesn’t have a local environment. We work with students. There’s no better way to be close to an organization than someone who lives in a dorm.

The fellowship allows students to build their portfolios, network with professional journalists, and have their stories republished by Open Campus Media’s reporting partners, creating emerging black journalists upon graduation.

“It’s a dream come true for me.”Carter said. “I always like to see young reporters take an interest in higher education, especially HBCUs. I don’t want to be the only one doing this job forever.


* Hana Tamis is a writer at the Nieman Lab. Previously, she worked at WhereBy.Us and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

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Text translated Flavia Requio. Read the original text English.


The Shakti360 Partners with two divisions of Harvard’s Nieman Foundation: Nieman Journalism Lab and Nieman Reports. The agreement includes the translation of Nieman Journalism Lab and Nieman Reports publications into Portuguese.