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Education

Ford Foundation Continues Its Support of Advancing Entrepreneurship Among Journalists of Color

UNITY Journalists of Color, Inc., has received a renewal grant from The Ford Foundation to continue implementing the New U: News Entrepreneurs Working through UNITY (New U) project. The foundation has made a two-year commitment to the project at $100,000 per year. This will enable the New U project to support the creative ideas of journalists of color who will participate in the 2.5-day “boot camp” scheduled for October 2011 in Las Vegas, Nev. In addition to offering training and one-on-one mentoring, the 2011 program will again include a competition for start-up funding to assist news entrepreneurs in realizing their ideas. 

Changes to this year’s program include an increase in participants from 16 to 20, which allows for an additional participant from each of the four UNITY alliance partner journalism associations (Asian American Journalists Association, National Association of Black Journalists, National Association of Hispanic Journalists and Native American Journalists Association). In addition, the winning entrepreneurs will be awarded higher seed money to help fund their business ideas; four news entrepreneurs were awarded $5,000 each in 2010. 

New U was founded in 2010 to help increase the number of innovative thinkers and product developers who are of color, providing them with a forum in which to develop and express innovative ideas. It is a project with tremendous energy, driven by committed volunteer mentors and speakers and motivated competitive applicants.

“UNITY is pleased to work with its alliance partners to facilitate opportunities that advance innovation and job creation among journalists of color and ultimately contribute towards improving the state of minority media ownership,” said Onica Makwakwa, UNITY executive director.

New U will continue to be implemented out of UNITY’s headquarters in collaboration with UNITY’s alliance partners. Returning as program directors are Doug Mitchell, founder/creator and project manager of NPR’s Next Generation Radio and an NABJ member, and Alli Joseph, a producer, former journalist, entrepreneur and an NAJA member. Mitchell and Joseph are also the program designers.