Annenberg wins $5 million grant aiding diversity

The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism received a $5 million grant from the Annenberg Foundation this week that will fund a new diversity initiative aiming to extend access to journalism resources and education for students from a broader range of socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds.

The grant, announced  Monday, will support two initiatives: Annenberg Leadership Scholarships, which will provide the annual tuition for three graduate students in journalism and communication who come from backgrounds that are underrepresented in the news industry, and Annenberg Leadership Fellowships, awarded on a yearly basis, which will allow three professional journalists to work and teach at the Julie Chen/Leslie Moonves and CBS Media Center in Wallis Annenberg Hall.

“If we want a news industry that truly understands and covers all of America, then our news industry has to embody all of America,” Wallis Annenberg, chairman, president and CEO of the Annenberg Foundation told USC News. “We have to attract the best and brightest of every race and ethnicity and economic background — we have to equip them with the most cutting-edge tools and skills so our news coverage can be just as inclusive and forward-looking.”

This initiative will also fund the expansion of the Community Reporting Initiative, a program that focuses on underserved communities. The program emphasizes digital fluency, encouraging students to use technology to discover compelling and effective ways to tell news stories.

“We are building a new generation of technologically and journalistically skilled communicators who will lead the complex digital newsrooms of the future,” Willow Bay, director of the school of journalism told USC News. “These young professionals will enrich newsrooms with new voices and perspectives, and be a driving force in informing a broader audience.”

This gift is also the latest addition to the Campaign for the University of Southern California, the University’s effort to raise $6 billion or more in private philanthropy to further its academic priorities and worldwide influence.