USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and ViacomCBS announced Thursday the creation of a new scholarship aimed at promoting diversity in newsrooms.
The scholarship, supported by a $1 million endowment, will cover yearly tuition costs for one or more graduates of historically Black colleges and universities to enroll in one of USC Annenberg’s master’s programs in journalism.
“This new scholarship demonstrates ViacomCBS and USC Annenberg’s commitment to elevating Black excellence in journalism as well as a tremendous investment in supporting the diverse representation we all seek in the industry,” said Gayle King, co-host of CBS This Morning, in making the announcement at USC Annenberg’s virtual celebration for its class of 2021.
Willow Bay, USC Annenberg’s dean, said graduates of historically Black colleges and universities are “critical to advancing our country’s future, including the next generation of journalists.”
“We are proud to join ViacomCBS in accelerating Black journalists’ paths to success here at USC Annenberg so they can bring their invaluable expertise and perspectives to our nation’s media organizations and truly propel representation forward,” Bay said.
George Cheeks, CBS’ president and chief executive officer, said the network is “deeply committed to having our talented newsroom teams reflect our audience and the world we cover.”
USC said the new scholarship — called the ViacomCBS HBCU Diversity in Scholarship — marks the school’s continued investment in expanding scholarship support for journalism students of color.
Gregory Annenberg Weingarten, an Annenberg Foundation vice president and director, teamed up with USC Annenberg last year to establish a multi-year scholarship that fully underwrites the cost for graduate studies for Black journalists. In 2019, a scholarship was established to support students from communities that are historically underrepresented and underserved in the journalism field.
The latest newsroom diversity survey from the News Leaders Association found that Black journalists represent just over 7% of the overall salaried workforce among newsrooms that responded, a less than 2% increase since the organization’s 1999 survey. The survey also showed that, as of November 2019, less than 8% of newsroom managers are Black.
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