Diversity Grant Program Resumes

After a short hiatus due to budget issues, the Diversity Internship program is back in time to provide grants for Winter-Spring 2004 internships.

AAN members have until Oct. 27 to submit applications for two $2,500 grants to help pay minority journalist interns. Winners of the grants will be announced in November.

The last round of diversity grants went to Baltimore City Paper, which hired African American intern Jamil Roberts, and Honolulu Weekly, which hired Ric Valdez, a young Hispanic journalist.

Erin Sullivan, news editor of Baltimore City Paper, says Roberts “got a pretty good taste of how the alternatives are different than the mainstream media.”

“While he was here, [Roberts] wrote stories on crises at the Pratt Free Library system, a grand jury panel that suggested the decriminalization of illegal narcotics to combat the drug problem in Baltimore, and a story about a man trying to give voice to asylum-seeking refugees in Maryland,” she says. “He also did a lot of database searching for reporters and attended press conferences and protests for City Paper. … He stopped in just the other day to talk to us about freelance possibilities, And as I told him, we’d be happy to have him continue his relationship with City Paper. He’s a really bright guy, and I hope he sticks around for a while.”

Chad Blair, associate editor of Honolulu Weekly, says Valdez produced three well-received cover stories and several shorter features, as well as a number of brief pieces on the local music scene, an area of interest both to the intern and the Weekly.

“Although Ric has completed his term here, he has one more story in the works, on pit bulls (there’s lots of them here!),” Blair says. “We look forward to publishing not only that article, but other future articles by Ric Valdez.”

Members can apply for Winter-Spring 2004 grants by completing an application form and submitting the intern’s resume and writing samples. Application forms and instructions were mailed to editors and publishers in mid-September.