LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and ViacomCBS announced Thursday the creation of a new scholarship aimed at promoting diversity in newsrooms.
Supported by a $1 million endowment, the ViacomCBS HBCU Diversity in Journalism Scholarship will cover yearly tuition costs for one or more graduates of historically Black colleges and universities to enroll in one of USC Annenberg’s journalism master’s programs.
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Gayle King, co-host of CBS This Morning, announced the new scholarship at USC Annenberg’s virtual celebration for its Class of 2021.
“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,” she said.
According to the latest Newsroom Diversity Survey by the News Leaders Association, Black journalists represent 7.12% of the overall salaried workforce among newsrooms that responded — a less than 2% increase since the organization’s 1999 survey. The study also shows that only 7.7% of newsroom managers were Black as of 2019.
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“HBCU graduates are critical to advancing our country’s future, including the next generation of journalists,” said Willow Bay, dean of USC Annenberg. “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 also said the scholarship would help remove the cost barrier that may prevent HBCU grads from pursuing graduate studies in journalism.
“CBS is deeply committed to having our talented newsroom teams reflect our audience and the world we cover,” said George Cheeks, President and Chief Executive Officer of CBS. “We proudly join with USC Annenberg to support HBCU graduates as they become tomorrow’s journalism leaders.”
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USC Annenberg said the new scholarship demonstrates the campus’ continued investment in expanding financial support for journalism students of color and builds upon long-standing collaborations between the school and HBCUs.