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Scripps Howard Foundation awards $600,000 to support diversity in journalism

March 24, 2021 By Rebecca McCarter

CINCINNATI – As part of its commitment to advance equity, diversity and inclusion within the journalism industry, the Scripps Howard Foundation has selected the University of North Texas and Elon University as the recipients of grants from its new program for emerging journalists.

The Foundation, the philanthropic organization of The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP), has awarded a total of $600,000 to the two institutions to enhance or create programs that will inspire high school students to embark on journalism careers.

“We are partnering with these esteemed institutions to create real-world opportunities for youth that foster an interest in journalism and open pathways to higher education,” said Scripps Howard Foundation President and CEO Liz Carter. “We believe these programs will play an important role in building a future industry that better reflects the makeup of our diverse communities.”

Last summer, the Foundation hosted a competitive application process to select the two universities, which will each receive $100,000 a year over three years. The programs are funded through a generous gift from Eli and Jaclynn Scripps and Jonathan and Brooke Scripps.

“By supporting the Scripps Howard Emerging Journalists program, we aim to build equitable opportunities for young people from underrepresented communities to be heard, seen and understood,” Eli Scripps said on behalf of the Scripps family. “We believe the more inclusive we can make newsrooms, the greater the benefit to society.”

The Mayborn School of Journalism, based in Denton, Texas, will use the grant to help establish the Scripps Howard Emerging Journalists Program at the University of North Texas, serving high school students and teachers of diverse socio-economic, racial and ethnic backgrounds.

During each year of the three-year program, selected students will be connected with professional mentors and will be given opportunities to participate in workshops and career boot camps. The program will select 60 students, 20 each year, for paid internships at a news organization in the Dallas-Fort Worth area to tell multimedia and immersive stories focused on health and medical disparities among racial and ethnic minorities.

“This opportunity aligns perfectly with our vital mission of helping to pave the way to a more diverse and inclusive world of journalism and communication in the years ahead,” Mayborn Dean Dr. Andrea Miller said. “As a majority-minority and Hispanic Serving Institution, we’re excited to partner with the Scripps Howard Foundation to provide a real pathway forward.”

Elon University in North Carolina will use the grant to fund the Scripps Howard Emerging Journalists Program at Elon. Between 2021-2023, the program will engage at least 115 high school juniors and seniors from North Carolina and surrounding areas. The program consists of three parts, with a focus on providing hands-on journalism experience: Exposure through virtual education opportunities, immersion through experiential learning workshops, and mentoring and production via a network of professional journalists.

“We are excited to partner with The LAGRANT Foundation, North Carolina Local News Workshop and Elon Academy to prepare high school students with journalism skills that will help them tell truthful, fact-based stories that meet the needs of diverse audiences and help to support democratic values,” said Rochelle Ford, dean of Elon’s School of Communications. “The power of journalism is telling stories that need to be told, shared and understood. Through the Scripps Howard Emerging Journalists Program at Elon, we plan to educate aspiring journalists on how to wield that power.”

“My interest in journalism was sparked long ago by a program very similar to this, so I know the impact it can have in terms of empowering young people by giving them a voice through hands-on exposure to the craft,” said Battinto Batts, director of journalism strategies for the Scripps Howard Foundation “It is especially rewarding to play a role in bringing a similar opportunity to up and coming journalists.”

The Foundation and its parent company, Scripps, have committed to increasing diversity in journalism through a variety of programs. More information about Scripps’ equity, diversity and inclusion approach can be found in Scripps’ Approach To Diversity.

About the Scripps Howard Foundation
The Scripps Howard Foundation supports philanthropic causes important to The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) and the communities it serves, with a special emphasis on journalism education, excellence in journalism and childhood literacy. At the crossroads of the classroom and the newsroom, the Foundation is a leader in supporting journalism education, scholarships, internships, minority recruitment and development and First Amendment causes. The Scripps Howard Awards stand as one of the industry’s top honors for outstanding journalism and the Foundation’s annual “If You Give a Child a Book …” childhood literacy campaign has distributed more than 352,000 new books to children in need across the nation since 2017. In support of its mission to create a better-informed world, the Foundation also partners with Scripps brands to create awareness of local issues and support impactful organizations to drive solutions that help build thriving communities. 

About The E. W. Scripps Company
The E.W. Scripps Company (NASDAQ: SSP) is a diversified media company focused on creating a better-informed world. As the nation’s fourth-largest local TV broadcaster, Scripps serves communities with quality, objective local journalism and operates a portfolio of 61 stations in 41 markets. The Scripps Networks reach nearly every American through the national news outlets Court TV and Newsy and popular entertainment brands ION, Bounce, Grit, Laff and Court TV Mystery. Scripps is the nation’s largest holder of broadcast spectrum. Scripps runs an award-winning investigative reporting newsroom in Washington, D.C., and is the longtime steward of the Scripps National Spelling Bee. Founded in 1878, Scripps has held for decades to the motto, “Give light and the people will find their own way.”

About the University of North Texas
UNT is one of the nation’s largest public research universities with nearly 41,000 students. Ranked a Tier One research university by the Carnegie Classification, UNT is a catalyst for creativity, fueling progress, innovation and entrepreneurship for the North Texas region and the state. UNT students earned 10,000 degrees last year from its 14 colleges and schools and the university offers 109 bachelor’s, 94 master’s and 36 doctoral degree programs, many nationally and internationally recognized.

About Elon University
A mid-sized private university in North Carolina, Elon has built a national reputation as a premier student-centered arts and sciences university that values strong relationships between students and their faculty and staff mentors. Elon’s more than 7,000 students prepare to become the resilient, ambitious and ethical leaders the world needs, putting their knowledge into action on campus, in the community and around the globe. Elon is the national leader in the U.S. News & World Report spotlight on academic programs that lead to student success. As a U.S. News top-100 National University, Elon is ranked No. 1 for study abroad, No. 2 for teaching excellence and No. 10 for innovation.

Media Contacts:
Kari Wethington, The E. W. Scripps Company, 513-977-3763, [email protected] 
Kris Muller, The University of North Texas, 281-704-7739, [email protected]
Tommy Kopetskie, Elon University, 336-278-5658, [email protected]