By Cheryl Fogle
Arizona Summer Wildcat
Professional journalists are going back to school this summer.
The eight participants in the Editing Program for Minority Journalists are halfway through a two-month course that requires them to edit articles and create newspaper pages. They also attend lectures given by editors of national newspapers.
William Connolly, senior editor of the New York Times, said that the program's purpose is to "give participants the tools they need to perform any job in the news room."
According to Melanie Hughes, assistant city editor of the Wilkes-Barre, Penn. Times-Leader, the course is "an opportunity to grow and learn every facet of putting out a paper from getting ideas for articles to headline writing and designing pages."
The program, run by the Robert C. Mannard Institute for Journalism Education, trains reporters to become editors. In 1980 it moved from Berkeley, Calif. to the UA. The institute does not require participants to be minorities but seven out of the eight are.
About 10 percent of the staff in news rooms are minorities as compared with 26 percent of the United States population. In Arizona, 13 percent of journalists are members of minorities.
In 1968, a government commission set a goal to employ minority journalists in the same percentage as they occur in the general population by 2000. Programs like the one at UA help promote minorities and increase coverage of ethnic groups.
"The media has a responsibility to be diverse because its coverage affects race relations in this country," said Dina Ing, president of Unity 1999, an association of minority journalists.
"Minority editors can give the public a more complete picture of diverse groups by
covering stories successes and daily life," said Lewis Diuguid, editor of the Kansas City Star.
"The happiest day in the world will be when we don't need the Editing Program for Minority Journalism because the numbers will be equal," said Donald Carson, program director and UA journalism professor.
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