The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education is now accepting applications for its new Equity & Belonging Newsroom Transformation program, funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The Newsroom Transformation Program leverages an embedded coaching model to help news organizations better inform underserved communities and establish workplace cultures of belonging. Our goal is to help newsrooms become more equitable and inclusive in their reporting, workplace, and in the communities they serve. The team of consultants piloting the program curriculum will work closely with Maynard Institute facilitators who are steeped in the Fault Lines® training methodology. Two media outlets will be selected through the application process outlined below.

DEADLINE EXTENSION: Now accepting applications through October 14!

Is your news organization ready to establish a more equitable workplace and provide better coverage of underserved communities? This program is an opportunity to make transformative change to stay relevant to and reflective of your community by making structural changes to your business models and organizational culture.

Apply now!

Program Overview

About the Equity and Belonging Newsroom Transformation Program

The new initiative will embed consultants in news organizations to assess the organization’s internal processes, analyze cultural dynamics and help establish core workplace values of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIB). The pilot program will take place over five months and each news outlet will receive coaching to create the strategies, plans, benchmarks and training to implement these values.

Harkening back to the words of one of our founders, “newsrooms have the responsibility to cure the legacy of racism,” said Robert C. Maynard in 1979. Since the so-called racial reckoning of 2020, there have been calls in the news to dismantle systemic racism. At the Maynard Institute, we reflected on what must be rebuilt and concluded we want to elevate the aspirations of belonging and equity.

Diversity efforts up to now have largely been performative and have failed to focus on how creating institutions of belonging and equity can lead to lasting impacts. Substantive benefits of the Newsroom Transformation Program include:

  • Improved working relationships between staff
  • Reduced strife, attrition and toxicity in personal interactions
  • Innovation to make for better journalism
  • New capacity to build relationships with members of the community

The Newsroom Transformation Program will provide two news organizations with the opportunity to develop the tools needed to implement a sense of belonging and equity in the newsroom. The goal is to create a professional learning experience that will benefit a media outlet. The Maynard Institute wants to help contribute to best practices in community journalism and to the implementation of the Fault Lines® framework.

DEADLINE EXTENDED: To apply for the program, applications are due by 11:59 p.m. PDT, October 14, 2022. Application responses will be used to determine your training needs and how the training can build upon your existing knowledge, skills, and experiences.

Read more about the program in the press release and learn more about the program’s team of consultants.

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DEADLINE EXTENDED: Apply by 11:59 p.m. PDT on October 14, 2022.

Space is limited in this highly selective pilot program. Will your news organization evolve into an institution of belonging?

Apply now!

Application Details

About the Pilot Program Criteria and Eligibility

We are seeking news outlets deeply interested in and open to centering DEIB and anti-racism in their approach, yet lacking the knowledge and support for how to do so. Ideally, a participating news organization is large enough that it has the capacity to dedicate resources to change.

In addition, we believe that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) and other marginalized individuals suffer more in organizations at a nascent stage in their DEIB journey – both on staff and as readers /listeners/viewers and constituents.

The commitment to the aforementioned principles is key. We’ll work with you on the “how” and help you along the way.

The Maynard Institute will pilot the program with two news organizations that fit the following criteria:

  • Between 10-200 newsroom employees
  • Digital, print, online only, or broadcast
  • For-profit and nonprofit
  • One emergent and one legacy news outlet
  • One of the two newsrooms selected must be alumni of the Table Stakes Local News Transformation Program

The application will ask a range of questions about your news organization’s size and readership, as well as your staff’s experience and/or interest in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging work. We recommend your organization select one staff member as the project lead and the main point of contact for this initiative application. Only one application per newsroom should be submitted by the project lead.

To assist the project lead in the application process, an editable document is provided as a time-saving collaboration tool for staff to use when collecting and drafting application answers. Make a copy of this Google Doc for your organization’s individual use. You can also download a copy in Microsoft Word format if you prefer. You can use this document for drafting answers then copy and paste them into the online application.

IMPORTANT NOTE: all applicants must submit an online application using this online application form by 11:59am PDT on October 14, 2022. Other formats will not be considered.

Read the press release to learn more about why your news organization should apply.

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The program will start in early 2023 with in-person and/or virtual hybrid sessions.

The Newsroom Transformation program is being piloted by two cohorts. The first newsroom will kick off in January 2023 and the second newsroom will begin in July 2023. Key dates during the process include:

  • Application period: Now through October 14, 2022 (DEADLINE EXTENDED)
  • Application review and finalist interviews: Mid-October 2022 throuh mid-November 2022
  • Newsroom Selection and Announcement: December 2022
  • Newsroom Cohort 1 sessions begin: Week of January 23, 2023
  • Newsroom Cohort 1 sessions conclude: June 2023
  • Newsroom Cohort 2 sessions begin: July 2023
  • Newsroom Cohort 2 sessions conclude: November 2023

During finalist interviews, news organizations will learn more about timeline options and preferences. Pre-work will begin prior to session start.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the general time commitment for participating staff?

Participating news organizations should plan on staff commitments of approximately 2 to 20 hours per month during the length of the five-month program. The amount of time allotted varies depending on the role and level of participation of each staff member.

Is previous participation in the Knight Foundation - Lenfest Table Stakes Local News Transformation program required?

Previous participation is not required to apply, but one of the two newsrooms selected must be alumni of the Table Stakes Local News Transformation Program.

Is the program tuition-free?

The selected news outlets will pay a partial fee for embedded consulting services. The amount will be based, in part, on the operational budget of the selected organization.

Is the program open to news organizations globally?

All U.S.-based news organizations are eligible to apply. News organizations outside of the United States are not eligible at this time.

How does a newsroom apply?

The online application will ask a range of questions about your news organization’s size and readership, as well as your staff’s experience and/or interest in diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) work. We recommend your organization select one staff member as the project lead and the main point of contact for this initiative application. One application per news organization must be submitted by the project lead.

To assist applicants, we created a Google Doc format. Make a copy or download this document that lists all potential questions. This allows you to share draft answers and collaborate with others in newsroom prior to copying and pasting answers into the online application. Reminder: only timestamped applications submitted by 11:59pm PDT on October 14 via the online form will be considered complete. Applications in document format will not be accepted.

Will the program be virtual or in-person?

The program will use a hybrid model. Sessions occuring virtually or in-person will depend on the preference of the news organization, COVID-19 variant surges, and other considerations. Many sessions will be delivered virtually via Zoom. In-person sessions also are an option. During the applicant screening interviews, more details will be discussed about virtual versus in-person sessions.

When will applicants hear back about their application status?

Screening begins in October after the application deadline. Interviews with finalists are slated for mid-to-late-October through November with final selection and announcement of the cohort selection by December 2022.

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For more information the Newsroom Transformation project or eligibility, please reach out to: Maynard Institute Co-Executive Director, Martin Reynolds

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