New Program to Equip Journalists of Color to Build a Professional Brand and Enhance Digital Skills

By: ICFJ | 06/28/2021

Journalists from underrepresented communities across the United States will develop a stronger public profile, learn new audience engagement strategies on social media platforms, and understand how to better build trust with their audiences, as part of a new initiative by the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), funded by the Facebook Journalism Project.

The program will train 30 journalists, with at least 10 of the most promising moving on to tailored mentorships and product development training. Journalists who are Black, Indigenous or from other communities of color (BIPOC) and freelance journalists are encouraged to apply. Applications are now open and will close on Friday, July 13. Apply now

The project is ICFJ’s first program in partnership with NAHJ. Research studies, including a recent ICFJ-UNESCO report on online violence against women journalists, show that BIPOC journalists face countless challenges that are made worse by racism, including exposure to hate speech, harassment and even violence both online and offline.

“Black, Indigenous and other journalists of color face obstacles breaking into the field and rising to positions of leadership,” said Johanna Carrillo, ICFJ’s vice president of programs. “This initiative will give these reporters tools to raise their profiles online and deepen trust with their audiences — increasingly vital skills in today’s digital environment.”

“Building a sustainable freelance career has its own set of challenges, and for BIPOC journalists, those challenges are even more severe,” said Zita Arocha, NAHJ’s interim executive director. “We’re pleased this initiative will strengthen skills and help these journalists share their content with their communities.”

Participants will attend two webinars per week for the first three weeks of August. They’ll receive practical training on developing their online brand. Media leaders and experts will lead sessions on topics such as building a profile as a public figure, digital tools and security, and audience engagement strategies for various social media platforms. 

Once journalists have completed the web training, they will be invited to apply for funding and support to develop news projects and products that promote their brand and engage audiences. In September, the selected participants will begin working on their projects with three months of support from a mentor. 

“We are proud to support ICFJ and NAHJ in bringing the training, mentorship and financial support necessary to help talented journalists of color make an even bigger impact on the communities they serve,” said David Grant, Accelerator program manager at the Facebook Journalism Project. “This investment builds on our support for independent writers including training entrepreneurial journalists and creating more opportunities for local writers. We look forward to collaborating with creators of all kinds to build products and features that can have a meaningful impact in sustaining their work.”

About ICFJ

The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) empowers a global network of journalists to produce news reports that lead to better governments, stronger economies, more vibrant societies and healthier lives. We serve our community by providing training, mentoring, fellowships or financial support in five key areas: investigative journalism, critical-issues reporting, media innovation, financial sustainability and thought leadership. Learn more at icfj.org.

About NAHJ

The National Association of Hispanic Journalists is the largest organization of Latino journalists in the United States and dedicated to the recognition and professional advancement of Hispanics in the news industry. The mission of NAHJ is to increase the number of Latinos in the newsrooms and to work toward fair and accurate representation of Latinos in the news media. Established in April 1984, NAHJ created a national voice and unified vision for all Hispanic journalists. NAHJ has over 3,700 members, including working journalists, journalism students, other media-related professionals, and journalism educators. For more information please visit NAHJ.org or follow on Twitter @NAHJ.  

About the Facebook Journalism Project

The Facebook Journalism Project works with publishers around the world to strengthen the connection between journalists and the communities they serve. It also helps address the news industry's core business challenges through trainings, programs and partnerships. For more information, visit facebook.com/journalismproject.

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