Diversity Fellowship Program Announced

Goal: Attract Minority J-School Students to Work at AAN Papers.

AAN is about to venture into the outreach business.

Later this month, approximately two dozen colleges and universities will receive literature promoting the AAN Fellowship Diversity Program. The program is designed to introduce minority students to the world of alternative journalism, and to provide them with opportunities to seek employment as writers at AAN papers.

AAN will award fellowships to the four most highly qualified minority students from across the U.S. Each fellowship consists of an all-expenses paid trip to the 1999 AAN Convention in Memphis on May 27-29. The students will be invited to attend the workshops, seminars, and social events that will be featured as part of the regular convention schedule. In addition, AAN hopes to arrange for private interviews between the students and representatives of AAN papers who may be interested in hiring them.

“This isn’t a PR thing,” says AAN Editorial chair Safir Ahmed. “It is our hope that each student who is selected to receive a fellowship will be hired by an AAN paper following the convention.”

Here’s how the program will work:

In November, the AAN office will contact two dozen universities to participate in the program. After they agree to participate, AAN will send promotional materials and application forms to the administrator at each school who handles the program. The promotional materials will encourage graduating (or graduate) minority students to apply for a fellowship by submitting a resume; four to six published or unpublished writing clips; and a 500-word critique of either their local alternative weekly or daily newspaper. The deadline for applications is Feb. 16, 1999.

The applications will be forwarded to a panel of AAN editors, who will select the four winners by April 1. The remaining, non-winning applications will be entered into a job bank accessible to all AAN editors.

Prior to the convention, each of the winners will be paired with a “mentor” — an AAN editor who volunteers to serve as their escort during the convention. In general, the mentors’ goal will be to ensure that the event is a comfortable experience for the fellowship recipients.

Obviously, this is a big project that will require the participation of a broad range of AAN editors who plan to attend the convention. Specifically, we’re looking for editors who can:
Provide suggestions regarding participating universities;
Serve as judges to select the winning applications, and;
Serve as on-site mentors for the fellowship recipients.

If you have an interest in helping out, please contact AAN News Writer Cory Zurowski, who will oversee the program. Zurowski can be reached through the AAN office at 202/822-1955. He can also be contacted at 410/604-2699 or via email: crzurowski@Friend.ly.Net.