Campus: San Francisco State University -- January 31, 2007

SF State Journalism Center Receives $550,000 Grant From Ford Foundation

Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism to pursue conferences, research, documentary

The Center for the Integration and Improvement of Journalism (CIIJ) at San Francisco State University has received a three-year, $550,000 grant from the Ford Foundation. The grant will further develop CIIJ's goals to diversify U.S. newsrooms and ensure fair, accurate coverage of all of our communities.

The grant will allow CIIJ to pursue a number of endeavors, including: research on the diversity of college newspaper staff and cultural competence of journalists, faculty and students; conferences and workshops for journalism students and educators; a documentary and Web log following students through journalism school, internships and their first reporting jobs after graduation; aid in fundraising efforts; and development of a new strategic plan.

"The Center for the Integration and Improvement of Journalism plays a vital role in the media by ensuring that the diversity of America is well-represented in news coverage and newsroom staff," said Margaret Wilkerson, Ford Foundation director of media, arts and culture. "The projects funded with this grant will not only benefit the center and SF State students, but also the journalism industry and media consumers nationwide."

For years, the journalism industry has struggled to meet the American Society of Newspaper Editors' (ASNE) goal that the ethnic makeup of reporters and editors reflect that of the U.S. population. Today, people of color represent less than 14 percent of newsroom staff, while people of color comprise about 33 percent of the U.S. population, according to ASNE.

CIIJ is the only program of its kind in the Western United States and the most extensive in the country. It has served more than 10,000 students since its inception in 1990.

For SF State journalism students, CIIJ offers one-on-one coaching from professional reporters and photojournalists, and facilitates job and internship opportunities at major newspapers throughout the country. To interest underrepresented high-school students in journalism, CIIJ offers a free two-week summer academy and hosts journalism fairs that draw 350 to 400 Northern California youth to campus. CIIJ also conducts research and works collaboratively with journalism organizations nationwide.

"Through the continued, generous support of the Ford Foundation and others, CIIJ is able to further our commitment to advance the 'four Rs' of the journalism pipeline: recruitment, retention, revitalization and research," said Cristina Azocar, CIIJ director and adjunct assistant professor of journalism.

The Ford Foundation has donated about $2.7 million to the center since 1990. In the past year, CIIJ also received private funding from the Miranda Lux Foundation, Institute for Interactive Journalism, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, and individual donors. CIIJ is also funded in part by SF State. For more about CIIJ, visit: www.ciij.org.

The Ford Foundation is an independent, nonprofit grant-making organization. For more than half a century it has been a resource for innovative people and institutions worldwide, guided by its goals of strengthening democratic values, reducing poverty and injustice, promoting international cooperation and advancing human achievement. With headquarters in New York, the foundation has offices in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Russia.

Contact: Matt Itelson, (415) 338-1743 or (415) 338-1665, matti@sfsu.edu.


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