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Newsroom Diversity Groups in Partnership

in WORLD, 20/09/2011

Unity: Journalists of Color, an organization whose goal is to promote newsroom diversity, is forming a partnership with the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association.

Unity: Journalists of Color, an organization whose goal is to promote newsroom diversity, is forming a partnership with the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association, the two groups announced Monday. This will be the first time that the lesbian and gay association will be on the board of Unity, and it will participate in the Unity convention in Las Vegas in 2012.

The announcement follows a tumultuous few months for Unity after a decision by the National Association of Black Journalists, the largest of the four member organizations, to withdraw from the alliance in April. The two organizations are discussing the possibility of reunification for the 2016 Unity convention.

The other organizations in Unity are the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the Native American Journalists Association.

“As the media landscape changes and as there are new and different stresses in the organizations, there’s definitely value in working together,” said David Steinberg, the president of gay and lesbian journalism group. “On a fundamental level we are committed to the same goals.”

Mr. Steinberg said that for his organization those goals included providing fair and accurate coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the media, increasing diversity in newsrooms, opposing newsroom bias and providing occupational training to its members, he said.

In a statement, Joanna Hernandez, the president of Unity, said: “Our alliance will be stronger with NLGJA on board. It expands our mission to embrace diversity broadly, which is a logical progression for UNITY.”

Mr. Steinberg said that while the lesbian and gay group had good attendance at its last conference in Philadelphia – national membership is estimated at upward of 600 – it had also faced financial struggles and declining membership numbers.

Mr. Steinberg’s group will have four seats on the executive board of Unity, bringing the total number of board members back to 16, after the withdrawal of the black journalists association. That organization will hold its own conference in New Orleans in June.

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