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Sigma Delta Chi Foundation grants National Conference of Editorial Writers Foundation $100,000 for Minority Writers Seminars



Todd Gillman
, President, Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, 202/661-8421 or , tgillman@spj.org
Joyce Dobson, Director of Development, 317/927-8000, ext. 213 or jdobson@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS The Sigma Delta Chi Foundation of the Society of Professional Journalists has made a $100,000 grant to the National Conference of Editorial Writers Foundation (NCEW) in support of its Minority Writers Seminar. The seminar is intended to address the recruitment and retention of minority writers and editors, to help the newspaper industry become more reflective of the communities it serves.

More than 130 journalists have benefited from the series during its nine years. Attendees generally have less than one year of experience in editorial writing. Veteran newspaper editorial writers volunteer their time to teach the seminar.

NCEW President Lynnell Burkett said, "The generous gift of $100,000 from the SDX Foundation is the first step toward permanently endowing the Minority Writers Seminar, sponsored by the NCEW Foundation. For nearly a decade, the workshop has continued as the editorial writers' group each year has sought funding to keep it operating. As it approaches its 10th
anniversary, the dream of an endowment is becoming a reality. For that,we are extremely grateful."

The Freedom Forum-First Amendment Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, hosts the annual seminar. Other contributors include the Roanoke Times, the Arizona Republic, Hearst Newspapers, Knight Ridder newspapers and the Freedom Forum-First Amendment Center.

"This is a wonderful gift from Sigma Delta Chi Foundation that will, for the next decade and beyond, provide expert training in editorial and opinion writing for young minority journalists and broadcasters. It will also offer mid-term minority journalists an insider's look at opinion writing. Such opportunities are essential to involving minorities in the mainstream of American journalism and giving voices to their views. The National Conference of Editorial Writers Foundation is very grateful for this generous gift," said Morgan McGinley, president of the NCEW Foundation.

The $100,000 grant from the SDX Foundation, to be disbursed over five years, will create a financial framework so that the NCEW Foundation can organize a supporting endowment. Funds will be used for student expenses.

"By funding this program, we are able to make a huge difference in increasing diversity in American newsrooms," said Todd Gillman, SDX president. "The proven track record of the Minority Writers Seminars and substantial funding from the SDX Foundation will help the NCEW Foundation to seek endowment funds, and while they do that, up and coming minority writers will continue to develop the skills they need to make an impact on editorial opinion."

Seminar participants take part in editorial board meetings to debate points of view on various topics, perform editorial writing under deadline pressure and hear talks by veteran editorial writers and columnists. Participants evaluate the program in writing.

Founded in 1961 by the Society of Professional Journalists, the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation carries the name of the original fraternal
organization. The Foundation supports the educational initiatives of the Society of Professional Journalists as well as other organizations dedicated to advancing journalism.

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