The Maynard Institute’s board of directors unanimously approved Phase II of its strategic plan at a meeting on Jan. 30, 2018


Over the past 10 months, the institute doubled down on initial strategic work that concluded toward the end of 2016. This work built on the Human Centered Design planning underwritten by the Knight Foundation. This second phase was underwritten by a Democracy Fund grant that enabled the institute to convene another committee that looked more deeply into findings of the 2016 Maynard Re-Imagined panel.

Members included Paul Waters of Democracy Fund; Jim Bettinger, former head of the John S. Knight Fellowships for Journalists at Stanford; Bill Celis, a new MIJE board member and associate dean for diversity, inclusion and strategic initiatives at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism; Rachel James-Terry, a Jackson Voices alumna; and two members of the original “Maynard Re-Imagined” committee — Jim Shaffer, former vice president and chief financial officer of Times Mirror and Jose Zamora, senior vice president, strategic communications at Univision News.

The committee also included MIJE Board Chair Debra Adams Simmons and Vice Chair John X. Miller.

The project was led by Nell Edgington, president of Social Velocity, who was exceptionally deliberate and clear in her guidance, support and managing of the project. The outcome is a strategy with six goals, which include doubling the organization’s current budget and increasing staffing to levels not seen in more than a decade. The plan is ambitious but doable and could lead to a new suite of diversity consulting services that would help news organizations devise and implement a plan to make diversity efforts more effective.

Six key goals

The Maynard Family Funders — The Maynard Institute will be the first journalism trade organization to become a client of the News Revenue Hub, formed in 2016 to help news organizations build robust membership programs. The institute now seeks to evolve into an organization that more intentionally seeks support of graduates, friends and affiliates who will provide monthly contributions for general operating support and core programs.

Maynard 200 — In collaboration with Google News Lab, which provided a $100,000 sponsorship and other support, the institute will run one pilot program in 2018 and another in early 2019 to train and mentor the next generation of journalism leaders, entrepreneurs and storytellers. The pilots are funded by a $200,000 grant from the New Venture Fund and $100,000 grants from the Craig Newmark Foundation and the News Integrity Initiative. The institute has hired Odette Alcazaren-Keeley, formerly of New America Media, to run the Maynard 200 program.

Cultural Competency for Communicators — In partnership with academic and journalism accreditation partners, the institute is developing curriculum to better prepare journalism and mass communication students to be culturally competent. The pilot program is being designed in collaboration with professors from Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the University of Arizona and Morgan State, an HBCU.

The program is headed by Dr. Marquita Smith, an associate professor of journalism and chair of the Communication department at John Brown University.

At least two universities will test the modules before they are offered to journalism and mass communication departments nationwide.

The organization now has a level of clarity that will enable everyone associated with it to articulate clearly our vision, mission and method of achieving goals. This clarity will help us to be seen as a strong candidate for philanthropic and membership support. The timetable for completion of this plan is three years.

From Jan. 1, 2018, to Dec. 31, 2020, the Maynard Institute will pursue the six strategic goals derived from the planning process:

1. Training for universities. Develop and grow a world-class training program that will increase cultural competency of 50 communications programs and their students.

Key objectives include:

By March 2018, develop a 21st century curriculum that meets storytelling and leadership needs of diverse journalism students.
By February 2019, begin expansion of modules in order to grow to 25 targeted communication programs by December 2019 and 50 such programs by December 2020.

2. Building the talent pipeline. By December 2019, through the Maynard 200 program that will train 200 diverse storytellers, managers and entrepreneurs over five years, create a cohort of at least 30 diverse news media changemakers. They will strengthen diversity in media by creating and/or encouraging more inclusive storytelling and being more successful in the news media environment.

Key objectives:

By December 2018 and by October 2019, develop and deliver two pilots of the Maynard 200 program training a total of 30 people.
By December 2019, determine whether and how to expand Maynard 200 to other sites.

3. Consulting to news outlets. By December 2020, consult directly to two or three news outlets and increase the number of outlets developing coverage more culturally competent and reflective of diverse communities.

Key objectives:

By June 2018, complete a three-month market analysis of news organizations’ willingness and ability to pay for wrap-around diversity services.
Pending results of this analysis, recruit and train a director of consulting to develop Maynard’s consulting services.

4. Communicating, Conversing, Convening. Position the Maynard Institute as an expert on diversity and inclusion in media.

Key objectives:

Create and execute a robust marketing and communications strategy to engage the news media and news consumers.
By June 2018, recruit and train a director of communications.
By April 2018, hire a digital engagement editor to spearhead development of a plan for Maynard to communicate best with its key stakeholders and constituencies.

5. Money. To achieve this plan, grow the Maynard financial model from $891,000 annually in FY 2017 to $1,570,000 annually by FY 2020.

6. People and Systems. Grow and develop the Maynard board, staff and alumni network necessary to deliver on the plan’s goals.

Key objectives:

Expand the board of directors from nine members in 2017 to 13 in 2020 with people who possess skills, experience and networks necessary to realize this plan.
Grow the Maynard staff from 2.5 FTEs in 2017 to nine FTEs in 2020, including new positions in administration, programming, development and communications/marketing.

Like this article? Share it here:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *