VCU Professor Honored for Commitment to Promoting Diversity in Newsrooms
Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2008
associate director and associate professor in the Virginia Commonwealth
University School of Mass Communications, will receive the 2008 Robert P. Knight
Multicultural Recruitment Award on Friday at the convention of the Association
for Education in Journalism & Mass Communication in Chicago.
Nicholson, a VCU faculty member since 1984, will
be honored for her significant contributions over more than two decades to
promoting diversity in America's newsrooms through
work in scholastic media programs.
"June is passionate about bringing more young
people of color into journalism education and the profession of journalism,"
said Judy VanSlyke Turk, director of the VCU
School of Mass Communications. "She has done a remarkable job of pursuing that
passion and creating undeniable results."
From 1985 to 2007, Nicholson directed VCU's
Virginia Urban Journalism Workshop, an intensive summer workshop founded to
provide experience and training for minority high school students interested in
journalism. A dozen participants spend two weeks each year at VCU, learning the
basics of journalism and producing a 20-page newspaper. The workshop is
sponsored by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the national Dow Jones Newspaper
Fund, VCU and the Virginia Press Association.
In 2007, the workshop adopted race-neutral admission criteria.
A number of graduates of the Urban Journalism
Workshop during Nicholson's tenure advanced to careers in journalism and
journalism education. Among them is George Daniels, assistant professor at the University of Alabama and a 1987 participant
in the workshop program.
"Her willingness to not give up is exceeded only
by her passion for young people that has lasted for decades," Daniels, who
nominated Nicholson for the Knight Award, said in his nomination letter. "It is
fitting that we pause to recognize and salute her for the time and talent she
has brought to ongoing efforts to make our nation's newsrooms more reflective
of the diversity in their communities."
Nicholson is co-developer of the Society of
Professional Journalists' (SPJ) diversity curriculum that is part of the
organization's newsroom training program, and is a former member of the
national SPJ committee on diversity among journalists. She is the chair of
national SPJ's International Journalism Committee and served as chair of SPJ's national
Journalism Education Committee from 2000-07. She is former president of the
Virginia Professional chapter of SPJ and a current board member.
The Knight Multicultural Recruitment Award is
given by the Scholastic Division of the Association for Education in Journalism
& Mass Communication to recognize any media organization or individual who
has made significant contributions to promoting diversity through contributions
to high school or middle school media programs.
About VCU and VCU Medical Center
Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.