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Manship School Professor Ralph Izard (right) speaks at the school’s Forum on Media Diversity. “Diversity is not important just because it’s the right thing to do, but it’s also an economic path,” said Izard.

The Manship School of Mass Communication on Forefront of Diversity in Media Education

Honored with National Diversity Award for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication

The Manship School of Mass Communication was recently honored by the Association of Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, or AEJMC, with its inaugural Diversity and Equity Award.

In the current unstable economic climate, the media business is undergoing dramatic changes, from much-publicized problems at major metropolitan newspapers to the development of the 24-hour news cycle and growth of digital and online media. Along with these changes, recognition of the importance of diversity has added to the challenges and is considered by some as part of the internal and external solution. The Manship School is working to be on the forefront of educating both students and professionals on the topic.

The school was cited for its comprehensive diversity plan; fundraising for diversity; organized efforts to recruit faculty and students; constant attention to the classes it offers; faculty research; and service to other universities journalists and the public through its Forum on Media Diversity Web site,

Manship School Dean John Maxwell Hamilton accepted the award at the AEJMC’s annual convention in Boston on Aug. 5.

Special attention was devoted to the recent publication of a book, “Diversity That Works,” as a result of a conference in May 2008 funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Learn more about the Manship School’s Forum on Media Diversity at

Hamilton praised the school’s faculty for its dedication to creating an educational environment in which diversity is valued and encouraged as vital to the excellence of the total program.

“We believe we exist to serve the total community,” he said, “and that’s why this school has worked to diversify its curriculum and its faculty and staff and to share these efforts nationally. We did an analysis last year, going through all the research done by our faculty members, and here is what delights me to no end: 60 percent of our faculty members have done research on subjects that are related to diversity. That is what we probably are most pleased about with regard to anything we’ve done on diversity – that our faculty has bought into the concept.”

Manship School Sig Mickelson/CBS Professor of Mass Communication Ralph Izard cited four separate national grants the school has received that involve diversity-related concepts, including a recent grant from the McCormick Foundation to conduct two workshops on ethnic media in 2010.

Those small media outfits that cater to specific groups could be the future of the newspaper business.

“Diversity is not important just because it’s the right thing to do, but it’s also an economic path,” he said. “This nation is becoming increasingly multicultural, and statistics indicate that by 2050, minority groups will exceed 50 percent of the nation’s population. What that indicates is the necessity that American media increase the diversity of their coverage and seek to cover their entire communities. It’s an economic fact of life.”

“Diversity That Works” is available in its entirety on the Forum’s Web site, and free printed copies may be requested by e-mailing Izard at

The Manship School was nominated by Arlene Notoro Morgan, associate dean of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University, who cited its overall record of diversity activities.

“I strongly believe the work the Manship School is doing to diversify its curriculum and its faculty and staff – with an impressive record of national service – makes it worthy of AEJMC’s Equity and Diversity Award,” she said.

Billy Gomila | Editor | Office of Communications & University Relations
August 2009