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Students can help address diversity and inclusivity in news — here’s one opportunity happening soon

In all our work with news organizations, increasing diversity in newsrooms and among audiences remains a challenge. Many newsrooms do not include voices that can speak to the experiences of the communities the media aspires to serve, and many people feel most news organizations do not address their needs or concerns.

The issue cuts across race, ethnicity, gender, socioeconomic status, geography, religion and more. We see this in our research on empathy and listening in news, and we’ve seen it in practice as well. With some partners, we’ve worked to help diversify sources and discussed how media can create more hospitable environments for new hires or interns.

But college students — many of whom are part of the most racially diverse generations of Americans — can help address these issues now. They can focus on them in their campus media organizations, and they can enter news organizations after graduation with fresh ideas about change.

The American Press Institute is pleased to play a role in supporting one such initiative. We’re partnering with West Virginia University’s Reed College of Media Innovation Center and Morgan State University’s College of Global Journalism and Communication for their “social hackathon” event, “Missing Voices: Diversifying the News.”

Held Oct. 26 and 27 in Morgantown, W. Va., the event will bring together students from different universities to work with journalists on identifying opportunities to increase diversity and inclusivity in news. The effort will in part build off lessons surfaced in our “Creating a Culture of Listening” summit and report.

Details of the event are available here. If you are a student who cares about creating journalism that speaks to and serves the whole of your community, consider registering. And if you’re a newsroom professional working on these issues, consider registering as well. Limited travel scholarships are available for both students and practitioners.

We’re looking forward to seeing what ideas these students — from rural, suburban and urban institutions — can create alongside professional journalists.

For students who can’t attend but care about these issues, you may also be interested in API’s Summer Fellowship.

Have questions about the “Missing Voices: Diversifying the News” event? Contact Dana Coester at dana.coester@mail.wvu.edu.

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