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Sigma Delta Chi Foundation Helps Fund New Diversity Fellowship


Contacts: Ray Marcano, SPJ president, 937/225-2323 or rmarcano@spj.org; Paul K. McMasters, SDX Foundation president, 703/284-3511 or pmcmasters@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS - The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation will contribute $5,000 to help fund The Charles Jackson Fellowship, a new diversity fellowship to encourage the retention of people of color in the news industry.
The fellowship will enable three mid-career journalists each year to attend one of three training programs at the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education in Oakland, Calif. The fellowship honors a former editor-at-large at the Oakland Tribune who, until his recent death, was an active member of the Society of Professional Journalists, the association that the SDX Foundation supports.

"The Foundation board was pleased to contribute to the Jackson Fellowship fund," said Paul K. McMasters, president of the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation and First Amendment ombudsman at The Freedom Forum in Arlington, Va. "The members of the board viewed it as a great opportunity to recognize an accomplished and committed journalist and to build on his significant advocacy for more diversity in the newspapers, newscasts and newsrooms of this country."

The grant check was mailed today to the Maynard Institute. The SDX Foundation Board approved the grant April 28 in San Diego at a joint meeting with board members of Society of Professional Journalists, who recommended the grant. Maynard Institute President Dori J. Maynard, also a board member of the SDX Foundation, abstained from the discussion and vote on this grant.

"We need a diverse profession that mirrors the communities we serve. SPJ and SDX are committed to helping diversify journalism, and this grant helps in that goal," said Ray Marcano, SPJ president and an assistant managing editor at the Dayton (Ohio) Daily News. "We'll also look for other ways we can encourage minorities to enter the field of journalism."

Jackson, a black journalist who became an anchor in the mission to achieve diversity in journalism, died March 8. His 35-year career included posts at the Dallas Times Herald, the Fort-Worth Star Telegram, The Washington Post and the Oakland Tribune. He also worked as director for programs at the Maynard Institute, served a co-chairman of the SPJ Diversity Committee and recently received a career journalist award from the SPJ Northern California Pro Chapter, of which he was a member for many years.

"Charles worked in myriad ways to build newsrooms open to diverse voices and perspectives," said Sally Lehrman, chairwoman of the SPJ Diversity Committee. "This fellowship will help continue his efforts to create an accountable and accurate press, starting with the people who decide what is news and report it."

For more than 23 years, the Maynard Institute has taught journalists and managers to operate effectively in multicultural communities through its cross-media, editing and management workshops.

For application or contribution information on The Charles Jackson Fellowship, contact the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education at 409 13th St., Ninth Floor, Oakland, Calif. 94612; telephone: 510/891-9202; fax: 510/891-9565; e-mail: mije@maynardije.org.

For more information on applying for a Sigma Delta Chi Foundation grant, contact Development Director Stephanie Gayle Berry at sberry@spj.org or 317/927-8000 ext. 213.

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