Who We Are
The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education is the nation’s oldest organization dedicated to helping the news media accurately portray all segments of society, particularly those often overlooked, such as communities of color. The media plays a pivotal role in shaping our perceptions of each other. The distorted coverage of communities of color influences public policy and the decisions we make in our personal lives. Maynard seeks to help news media achieve both a diverse staff and provide the public with the most accurate and nuanced coverage possible.
We see media throughout the nation that consistently portray of people of color accurately, creating the climate necessary to enact public policies that allow all members, including people of color, to fully contribute to society.
Maynard breaks the cycle of inaccurate depictions by using a three-pronged approach: training media managers, journalists, and correspondents from communities of color; creating content to demonstrate nuanced coverage; and keeping media accountable through its Watchdog program.
Maynard’s training programs have literally changed the face of journalism. Its reporting, editing and management training programs have produced change at the organizational level by training and placing journalists and media managers who can influence hiring practices and produce and oversee content creation that is nuanced and accurate.
- Training of Media Managers and Journalists: Since 1977, the Institute has trained more than 5,000 media managers and journalists to create change in media organizations across the country. Alumni have gone on to influence change in organizations such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Al Jazeera, and The Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Maynard recognizes the changing landscape of journalism which puts content creation in the hands of people via blogs, social media, etc. In 2010, Maynard launched a groundbreaking program that taps into community members to tell their stories by leveraging digital media through partnership with local media:
- Community Voices: Maynard has expanded beyond its traditional training to partner with local media to train community members to produce stories from their communities – changing narrative at the local level. These stories shape narrative and change public perceptions (e.g., people of color as productive members of the community – fathers, doctors, teachers), while providing local media with an entrée into the community. Maynard successfully launched Community Voices in three initial cities and is currently running the program in two additional cities, Oakland, CA, and Sacramento, CA. The Institute is now poised to take the program to cities across the nation.
In its work to promote accurate portrayal of people of color in the media, Maynard also produces content to showcase nuanced coverage. America’s Wire publishes stories on the impact of structural racism in America. BrotherSpeak video series tells stories from the perspective of black men. Through partnership with The Washington Post, the series were distributed to a broad mainstream audience, fueling productive discourse and changing narrative at the national level.
Maynard’s Watchdog program is led by the industry’s premier voice on media diversity. The Watchdog program monitors and publishes articles that highlight inaccurate media portrayal of underrepresented communities. Maynard’s three-times per week consistent monitoring and its high-profile columnist allows the Institute to be highly effective in keeping media organizations accountable.