UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, Inc.

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Executive Director
Posted on: 
January 7, 2014
Deadline: 
February 6, 2014

UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, Inc. is seeking an Executive Director.

Candidates interested in applying for the position should send a resume to Ms. Walt Swanston (walt@unityjournalists.org) and David Steinberg (david.steinberg.unity@gmail.com) by Thursday, February 6, 2014.
Position Description for
Executive Director
UNITY: Journalists for Diversity, Inc.

BACKGROUND:

Two aspiring journalists of color, Juan Gonzalez and Will Sutton, founded UNITY in 1990. They were rival news reporters in Philadelphia covering city hall. Their purpose was to convene journalists of color to begin to address two areas of interests: the representation of people of color in newsrooms and to begin a dialogue within the professional community on fairness and accuracy in reporting. Rather than create a membership organization, they created UNITY, an alliance organization that included the Native American Journalists Association, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, the National Association of Black Journalists and the Asian American Journalists Association.

The current Board includes members appointed by the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association and the Native American Journalists Association. Some of those Board members also are members of the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists as well as other journalism organizations.

UNITY’s mission and vision and goals of the organization were changed in 2011 to include LGBT issues, including sexual identity and gender identity.

As UNITY approaches its 25th anniversary, the organization’s Board revised its mission to reflect changes within the journalism industry and the structure of the many organizations committed to diversity in the news industry.

VISION AND MISSION:

Vision Statement

UNITY envisions a nation in which the journalism industry is inclusive and reflects the communities we cover and serve; and where those who hold prominent positions of influence and decision-making throughout the organization reflect diversity of race, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation. To achieve this, we will work with our partners and allies to conduct research, convene key stakeholders, advocate for change, and develop attainable solutions.

Mission

UNITY: Journalists for Diversity is an organization dedicated to leadership in the following:

* Amplifying voices and uniting industry groups and leaders to create a more diverse media landscape;

* Advocating fair and accurate news coverage about diversity, and

* Driving change with industry leaders to staff media organizations at all levels to reflect the nation’s diversity.


Goals:

  • To raise awareness and participation of the media industry in understanding the diverse cultures represented by the UNITY alliance members;
  • To ensure that diversity of race, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation are adequately represented at all levels in the nation’s newsrooms and on other news platforms;
  • To ensure that there is fair and accurate coverage of race, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation throughout the journalism industry. To increase and broaden news coverage focusing on people of diverse backgrounds, and to dispel stereotypes and myths about race, ethnicity, gender identity, and sexual orientation;
  • To become recognized as the principal national alliance of journalism professionals advocating for diversity and multiculturalism in the news media;
  • To create a self-sustaining organization with a diversified financial base that complements, and does not compete with alliance partners.
  • To collaborate with newsroom leaders throughout the industry to ensure these goals become ingrained in the nation’s news organizations.


CURRENT SITUATION:

Today, three associations of journalists appoint the board members of UNITY: The Native American Journalists Association, Asian American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. A description of each organization is below:

The Native American Journalists Association (NAJA) seeks to develop and to improve communications among Native American people and the Non-Native American public.

The Native American Journalists Association serves and empowers Native journalists through programs and actions designed to enrich journalism and promote Native cultures.

NAJA recognizes Native Americans as distinct peoples based on tradition and culture. In this spirit, NAJA educates and unifies its membership through journalism programs that promote diversity and defends challenges to free press, speech and expression. NAJA is committed to increase the representation of Native journalists in mainstream media. NAJA encourages both mainstream and tribal media to attain the highest standards of professionalism, ethics and responsibility.

The Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) seeks to provide a means of association and support among Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) journalists, and to advance AAPI journalists as news managers and media executives; to provide encouragement, information, advice and scholarship assistance to AAPI students who aspire to professional journalism careers. In addition AAJA also seeks to provide to the AAPI community an awareness of news media and an understanding of how to gain fair access and to research and point out when news media organizations stray from accuracy and fairness in the coverage of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders and AAPI issues.

The National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) is an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students that works from within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues. NLGJA opposes all forms of workplace bias and provides professional development to its members.

NLGJA members and staff work daily with our colleagues in the news industry to fulfill the organization’s mission of fair and accurate coverage. Sometimes, though, a more targeted response is required to promote greater understanding about how to fairly and accurately cover the LGBT community.


SPECIFIC ROLE:

The new Executive Director will report to the President of UNITY and the UNITY Board of Directors. The responsibilities will be to manage the current staff of UNITY and an expanded staff leading to conventions; and manage the funding requirements of the organization. The operating budget for the organization is $500,000.

UNITY has had two primary functions: One is to bring journalism leaders together to promote diversity in newsrooms and diverse coverage in news media. This has traditionally been accomplished through a conference every four years. The Board is exploring other models to accomplish this goal, starting with a summit in of journalism leaders in Spring 2014. Board members also are discussing what other models it will use in the future to influence other journalism leaders and improve diversity within the industry.

In addition, the Executive Director manages a research agenda on behalf of the member organizations that explores key issues regarding advancing the mission of UNITY. The new hire would work with the president and Board to make that agenda more complementary of research efforts by other organizations working in the same area.

The three journalism organizations that run UNITY each have four members that serve on the Board. The new ED will work closely with the Board to explore several strategic areas that will shape the future efforts of UNITY. These issue areas are:

Funding: Currently, UNITY is funded from two key sources: foundation grants and revenue from conferences. The organization anticipates working aggressively on several key issues that will require funding. The main area of interest is diverse representation in newsrooms and fairness and accuracy in reporting. The new ED will be responsible for funding these efforts through foundation grants and the consideration of new streams of revenue yet to be identified.

UNITY is convening a caucus on diversity in spring 2014 and plans on collaborating with journalism industry leaders to diversify news coverage and to make headway in improving the diversity of newsrooms.

Advocacy and Research: UNITY has been a key advocate for increasing diversity in all venues of its professional community. It is anticipated that the organization will continue work accomplished in 2013 to develop a working plan to expand advocacy in this arena and position UNITY to be the ‘go to’ organization on the issues of diversity as journalists. The results of this work will be to raise the profile of UNITY amongst key constituent groups who share the mission and purpose. The new ED will be expected to facilitate the consideration of the advocacy and research agenda by the Board. Once adopted, the new ED will develop a plan of execution for the agenda that accomplishes the goals of advocacy and research and establishes UNITY as the pivotal organization and point of reference for comment and discussion.

Conventions and Summits: UNITY is responsible for the conference of its members’ organizations every four years. The Board plans to host a summit of journalism leaders in Spring 2014. The Board is considering other changes to its conference schedule. The new ED will be expected to facilitate this key discussion with the Board.


MAJOR OBJECTIVES:

The new Executive Director will be expected to accomplish the following over the next 18-24 months:

  • Develop a plan to fund UNITY beyond the current foundation support that could include new revenue options;
  • Help the organization develop and implement a strategic marketing and communication plan;
  • Improve communication with journalism industry organizations and other leaders through innovative summits that address the mission and vision of UNITY by helping to promote the educational opportunities;
  • Help the Board create other programs that support the mission,
  • Orchestrate and support great working relationships at the Board level between organizations, amongst Board members and throughout the professional community.


PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Seven to 10 years of progressively responsible experience in the field of resource development, with demonstrated success raising $500,000 -$1 million–plus on an annual basis;
  • Demonstrated experience managing a non-profit organization that included staff management, fundraising, membership activities and close working relationships with the Board of Directors;
  • An appreciation for the profession of journalism;
  • Demonstrated experience in working with government and national companies;
  • Demonstrated experience in event and conference management; and
  • Experience in writing private foundation, state, or federal grants with a demonstrated track record of being awarded grant proposals totaling more than $100,000.
  • Master’s degree preferred.  Bachelor’s degree required.


PERSONAL QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Strong understanding of belief in the mission and vision of UNITY;
  • Entrepreneurial approach to identifying new sources of revenue including major donors and other funding sources;
  • Excellent organizational, management and interpersonal skills;
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills;
  • Excellent problem solving skills;
  • Excellent attention to detail and ability to meet deadlines;
  • Experience using social media as a communication strategy and development suite;
  • Strong sense of honor, ethics and integrity;
  • Respect for cultures different from his/her own; and
  • Sense of humor.


COMPENSATION:

Compensation will be commensurate with experience, skills and market. Interested candidates should forward their information to Ms. Walt Swanston at walt@unityjournalists.org and david.steinberg.unity@gmail.com.