By: M.L. Stein
UNITY ’99, THE umbrella group for the biggest minority journalists association, has changed its name to Unity: Journalists of Color Inc.
“We decided we wanted to be known as something other than an organization that has a convention every five years,” Unity’s executive director, Walt Swanston said.
The organization began life as Unity ’94 and put together a groundbreaking meeting in Atlanta that summer that brought together members from its four associations: Asian American Journalists Association, National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists and Native American Journalists Association.
Swanston said the group lost momentum after that convention even as it was organizing next year’s meeting in Seattle. “We want to be something between the conventions as well, working on programs to support diversity goals,” he said.
With the new name has come a surprisingly harmonious attitude as well, say Unity insiders. The organization is famous for fractious relations between the associations ? to the point that at least one group threatened to pull out of Unity ’94.
“Now we have unanimous votes, which was unheard of,” Unity president Paul DeMain said.
“People have really bought into this, this time around,” Swanston said, adding with a laugh: “I don’t know whether to be excited or frightened.”
“ASNE is looking for rough equivalency. I just think it needs to be a little more sophisticated based on what we know now.”
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?(copyright: Editor & Publisher March 28, 1998) [Caption]