Diversity Grant Applications Now Available

The AAN Diversity Grant Program, which was instituted in 2001 to help papers add diversity to their newsrooms and to encourage minority journalists to start their careers at alt-weeklies, is accepting new applications.

The program offers AAN papers the opportunity to apply for a grant for a diversity-related project or for an intern. The Diversity Committee will award up to four grants of $1,250 each per year, in a maximum of two application cycles. The deadline for grant applications is April 23. (For all the details, download an application here.)

Recent awardee Boise Weekly says that The Grip, the “global culture blog” for the local refugee community it launched with the grant money, “would have never happened” without the Diversity Grant.

“When we conceived of the project, our freelance budget was nonexistent due to the severe effects the economy was having on our organization,” Weekly editor Rachael Daigle says. “We knew the refugee community in Boise was under-represented, especially by mainstream media, but without dedicated funding to address the need from a first-person perspective, The Grip would have never happened.”

The grant to the Weekly was the first ever to be awarded to a specific project, rather than for an intern. This followed a 2008 decision by the AAN Diversity Committee to expand the program to include editorial projects that demonstrably serves people of color living in the paper’s city.

Daigle says the Weekly‘s blog has served Boise’s refugee population well; that’s why she is spending newly freed-up freelance money to continue its operation.

“The Grip has helped make BW the voice of refugees in our community and has cultivated a dialogue between our city’s newest residents and those who’ve called Boise their home for many years,” she says.

News editor Nathaniel Hoffman, who edits the blog, says reaching out to a new population has broadened the scope of the Weekly‘s traditional reporting.

“Hiring bloggers from Boise’s refugee community through the AAN grant has not only made Boise Weekly a window into the growing subcultures of Boise, it has provided fodder and background for numerous exclusive stories and has tipped us off to happenings right under our noses but off our radar,” he says.