“Clearly we are at a crossroads. As you look around the United States today, it can be difficult to see this nation’s promise. Instead, we see a country that seems powerless over its self-dividing culture, a nation whose institutions are becoming unmanageable, whose media urges it further from sanity.” – Robert C. Maynard
This year the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education enters its fifth decade. The passing of Dori Maynard was a significant blow. But with the longtime support of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ford Foundation, we were able to embark on a process to plan for and build a stronger organization.
Using Human Centered Design, a problem solving strategy that starts with the customer’s needs in mind, we affirmed our mission to push for diversity in media and gained a deeper understanding of the challenges and needs facing journalism and its role in serving our diverse society.
We’ll focus on four key areas:
- Strengthening pipeline programs to increase newsroom diversity
- Developing tools to improve cultural competency among communicators
- Facilitating engagement between the public and news creators
- Encouraging news creators to represent the diversity of their communities
You can read more about our strategic vision HERE:
After months of work to refine these plans, we are thrilled to announce a series of moves that will energize us to achieve our goals.
The board approved a new leadership structure. On the recommendation of executive director Evelyn Hsu, the board unanimously voted to bring in Maynard strategic planning fellow Martin G. Reynolds to serve alongside Hsu as co-executive.
Hsu will oversee operations and programs while Reynolds will focus on external affairs and funding. Both will work across areas to support the work of the institute.
Hsu took over for former President and CEO Dori Maynard following her death in 2015.
Since then Hsu has been overseeing the organization, working with Reynolds on the months-long strategic planning phase that has been underway. Hsu is a former faculty member of the Poynter Institute and has worked as a reporter for the Washington Post and the San Francisco Chronicle. She is a past national president of the Asian American Journalists Association.
Reynolds was editor of the Oakland Tribune. He started as an intern at the paper in 1995 as a Chips Quinn Scholar and was promoted to reporter in 1997. He was an assistant city editor, associate editor and managing editor. Hsu and Reynolds are both graduates of Maynard training programs.
“As a graduate of its pioneering program for young journalists, the Maynard Institute and its founders shaped my career and beliefs,” said Hsu. “Years later I was honored to work alongside Dori Maynard as her deputy. Martin and I have worked closely on our strategic plan this past year. Now I am pleased to work alongside Martin as partners in reimagining the institute for these changing times.”
“I am honored and humbled to step into this role,” Reynolds said. “Although Maynard has been around for more than 40 years, we need to view ourselves as a start-up with legacy. In doing so, we are able to look ahead and innovate, while standing on the foundation of our programs and our grads.
“Evelyn and I have a great relationship and feed off each other’s strengths. I cannot think of more important work than what lies before us and I am excited to work closely with her and our board to move the organization forward.”
In addition, the board, at its January meeting, elected Debra Adams Simmons board chair, John X. Miller vice chair and Dickson Louie treasurer. The board elected Kim Bardakian to the institute’s board of directors.
Simmons was a 2016 Nieman fellow at Harvard University. She most recently served as vice president of news development at Advance Local. Miller is a senior editor at The Undefeated. Louie is an educator, executive consultant and entrepreneur. He is CEO of publisher Time Capsule Press. Bardakian is the director of media relations for the Kapor Center for Social Impact.
“I am excited about the new strategic direction, which builds on the organization’s history of developing new leaders, engaging communities and provide tools to give journalists a better understanding of the people they seek to serve,” said Simmons. “We are thrilled to pick up and carry the torch left by Dori (Maynard), who spent her life championing diversity and inclusion. I am confident that the leadership team of the Maynard institute will propel the organization forward as we evolve and grow.”
Bardakian said, “The Maynard Institute is more important than ever in today’s world given the attack on journalism. I’m honored to be a part of history and continue onto carry on the mission and legacy of the organization.”
We are pleased to announce key grants:
The Democracy Fund has awarded the institute a one-year $360,000 grant to support general operations, a second phase of strategic planning, and strategic communications support.
“Democracy Fund recognizes the importance of building trust and bridging divides through journalism,” said Paul Waters, senior associate for Democracy Fund’s Public Square Program. “We believe that the Maynard Institute’s work creating resources for newsrooms and advocating for diversity in journalism is an essential element in building trust between news outlets and the communities they serve. We are excited to support the Maynard Institute as they continue to iterate on how to best support new outlets in reflecting the diversity of their communities in the sources, stories, and staff they employ.”
The Ford Foundation has continued its support of the Maynard Institute with a $150,000 grant over 18 months. This follows a previous $200,000 general support grant to help underwrite institute operations during the strategic planning process of 2015-2016.
“The Ford Foundation is pleased and proud to continue its longtime support for the Maynard Institute as it enters a new chapter after the loss of our beloved friend Dori,” said Ford Foundation Program Officer Barbara Raab. “We look forward to working in partnership with Martin and Evelyn on our common goal of diversity and inclusion in journalism.”
The board and staff of the institute want to thank these funding partners for their confidence and support.