Knight Foundation is awarding $245,000 to Hampton University to help prepare journalism students at the historically black college to work in digital newsrooms. Knight has long been in the habit of funding journalism education programs and has been an advocate of the “teaching hospital” model of journalism education.
The funding for Hampton’s Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications fits in with that theme, with the money going towards creating a digital training program that helps students gain skills to help them enter news companies at a time of transition. But the Knight grant is also focused on addressing another pressing issue in the journalism business: diversity. Knight and Hampton hope the program will seed young journalists of color in newsrooms, specifically as digital-only organizations have gotten attention recently for lack of diversity in hiring
According to Knight, the program at Hampton will launch this fall:
The Center for Innovation in Digital Media will allow Hampton University students to learn and explore new ways of gathering and distributing media content. Students will undertake digital media research projects, and produce business plans and media tools including apps; they will also attend cross-disciplinary classes. Additionally, the university will form partnerships with media corporations and place students in digital media jobs. The program will be open to an estimated 15 to 20 students each semester of the 2-year pilot period.
Brett Pulley, dean of the school of journalism at Hampton, said he hopes to raise $5 million to fully fund the center and build off the grant from Knight. (Disclosure: Knight has given Nieman Lab money, too.)