NAA Diversity Program Under Review

By: Joe Strupp

Updated at 3:05 p.m. EST

The Newspaper Association of America, which announced last week that the head of its diversity program would leave early next year, is planning to review its diversity efforts before naming a new person to oversee them, said NAA CEO and President CEO John F. Sturm. Such a move could mean changes to the programs, which have provided information, research, and fellowships for minority recruitment for 10 years.

“This will create the foundation for a fresher approach to diversity, possibly adding programs or changing programs,” Sturm told E&P. “I guarantee that we are not abandoning it in any way. It will continue to be a priority.”

Sturm said the 34-person NAA Board of Directors would review the diversity programs, which have been in place since 1992, but said no deadline had been created for the review to be completed. “Ideally, as soon as possible,” Sturm said.

The review follows an NAA announcement Nov. 22 that two top executives, including Toni F. Laws, senior vice president for diversity and the NAA Foundation, would retire in February. Laws first spearheaded the ongoing diversity functions when she joined the group in 1992. “My concern in general is that as resources are limited, the programs in diversity and training are not set aside,” Laws told E&P. “We are all sensitive to the limits on resources.”

The other executive departing is David S.J. Brown, senior vice president for public policy and general counsel.

Sturm said replacements had been named to handle both of Brown’s areas of oversight, as well as Laws’ responsibilities over the NAA Foundation. But no new person would be chosen to run the diversity program until the review is completed.

“The board will look at how exactly we address diversity,” Sturm said. “We review all of our activities from time to time and they had not looked at diversity for a while.”

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