NYC Mayor’s Fund Announce new Scholarship Initiative to Increase Diversity in Journalism

By A Correspondent
New York City is home to one of the largest concentration of community and ethnic media but diversity in newsrooms remains a challenge. (Pakistan Week photo)

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City has announced a new scholarship fund to expand access to educational opportunities for New York City students of color and increase diversity within journalism.

New York City’s reporters play an essential role in delivering news to the city’s residents, elevating voices, and holding those in power accountable. According to the Mayor’s Office, 37 percent of the city population is foreign born. However, diversity inn the mainstream media’s newsrooms remain a challenge for many organizations.

According to the Mayor’s office, this scholarship initiative will build a pipeline to ensure more New Yorkers — especially those of different backgrounds who are not as often represented in the media — can join this vital industry. Mayor Adams and the Mayor’s Fund set a first-year target to raise at least $500,000 for the scholarship fund that will allow students of color from New York City to support their undergraduate and graduate studies in journalism. People can donate directly to the fund to help support scholarships for students of color online.

“From Ida B. Wells to Jovita Idár, journalists of color have used the power of the press to shine a light on urgent issues and push our country forward. Unfortunately, too many newsrooms still do not look like the communities they cover, with Black, Brown, Asian-American, and so many other communities underrepresented in our press corps,” a statement released by the mayor’s office quoted Adams as saying. “This scholarship fund for students of color will help support students from New York City as they work to repair the inequities we’re seeing in newsrooms, building new pipelines for students to become journalists and increasing the diversity of this essential industry.”

New York City is home to one of the largest concentration of community and ethnic media that covers communities of color, minorities and immigrants. However, surveys have found that a lack of diversity remains a deep-rooted issue in journalism inn mainstream media. For instance, while Hispanic Americans make up 19 percent of the U.S. population, they make up eight percent of journalists. Similarly, Black Americans make up 12 percent of the U.S. population, but only make up just six percent of journalists, while Asian-American and Pacific Islanders make up seven percent of the U.S. population, but just three percent of journalists. Although newsrooms have made significant progress towards increasing diversity over the past several decades, racial and ethnic disparities continue to be a serious problem across the industry.

Moreover, growing headwinds risk exacerbating these disparities even further. The persistent closures of local newspapers have sealed off long-standing pathways into the industry for students seeking internships and entry-level jobs, while rising tuition costs leading to college debt and low-wages and salaries have made it difficult for many others to support themselves early in their career. These challenges call urgent attention to the need to build new pipelines into the industry for the next generation of journalists.

The Adams administration has already begun conversations with leading journalism schools across the country to discuss ways to effectively cross-promote this initiative and ensure that as many New York City students of color as possible can access both prominent journalism schools and this scholarship opportunity.

The Mayor’s Fund was created in 1994 to build public-private partnerships and raise private funding for critical initiatives in New York City. The Mayor’s Fund works with 50 city agencies and offices, 300 institutional funders, and 100 community-based partners to advance these initiatives across all five boroughs. For nearly 30 years, the Mayor’s Fund has helped the public and private sectors come together around initiatives that build a stronger, safer, and more just New York City.

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