By: Mark Fitzgerald
Minority journalists are making plans sp.
BUOYED BY THE success of Unity ’94, minority journalists are making plans for a possible rerun in the year 2000.
At a Sept. 11 meeting, the Unity ’94 board of directors voted to recommend holding a second joint convention of the major organizations for minority journalists.
The recommendation would have to be ratified by each of the individual organizations that created Unity ’94: the National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Asian American Journalists Association and the Native American Journalists Association.
Among the specific recommendations by the 12 Unity ’94 directors was the hiring of a consultant to quickly develop a selection process to find an “ethnically diverse region” to host Unity 2000. In addition, the directors voted to hold a “leadership conference” of the four associations in 1996 or 1997.
“The event will include professional development workshops, diversity and sensitivity training and would serve as a planning and strategy session for the next major Unity convention,” the board said in a prepared statement.
Unity ’94 was by any measure an unqualified success. The joint convention in Atlanta from July 27-31 attracted 5,750 journalists of color, as well as recruiters, students and academics.
Unity ’94 featured the largest ever job fair aimed at minority journalists. It attracted celebrated speakers ? including a satellite talk by President Clinton ? and its proceedings were widely reported in the press.
Unity ’94 board of directors reported the joint convention cost $1.5 million, an amount substantially funded by grants from corporations and non-profit media institutes.
The board’s own meeting at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla., was funded by a grant from the Ford Foundation.
Their main conclusion was to keep Unity alive. “Unity is more than just a convention,” said Paul DeMain, acting Unity ’94 president and immediate past president of NAJA.