AIRblast | January 2015
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Raised on the Radio

Can a new generation of talent solve public media's diversity problem?

by Andrew Lapin

Editor's note: Ten years ago, the average age of an AIR producer was 42.7. Over the past five years, our network of independent producers has been fed by young talent that reflects changes in the United States: Thirty-six percent of AIRsters now are beginners in the craft between the ages of 21 and 34, and nearly one in five are people of color. This isn’t an accident. AIR has become more assertive in helping build the pipelines for new and diverse talent and, as such, become part of a loosely coordinated group of media programs devoted to cultivating youth. In this month's AIRblast, Andrew Lapin explains why training programs matter, and should increase.

Public radio has a diversity problem.
NPR’s audience skews heavily toward white, college-educated listeners, while CPB wants to support projects that “meet the information needs of, and connect with, a much more diverse America.”
How can the system reach a more diverse America? Through a program honed and successfully implemented on a small scale over the last two decades, but not used to its full extent: youth media education.
Take Danielle Motindabeka, a 20-year-old New York City resident.
Motindabeka, who is Congolese, immigrated to NYC when she was 13. As a teenager, she spent three years living in homeless shelters. She joined WNYC's Radio Rookies in 2012, after seeing recruiters at a YMCA. Her finished piece, a personal narrative in which she struggles to tell her best friend about her living situation, won an award from the Child Welfare League of America.
Someone who knew nothing about the public radio system before was now hooked for life. [READ MORE]

"Listen Like a Teacher" by Emily Kwong
"Don't Find a New Audience; Teach One" by Jocelyn Robinson


NEH America's Media Makers production grants
Deadline: Jan. 14
Details: Awards that range from $100,000 to $800,000 for one- to three-year projects that "explore stories, ideas, and beliefs that deepen our understanding of our lives and our world."

Nieman Fellowship for Journalism at Harvard University
Deadline: Jan. 31
Details: A $60,000 stipend (plus tuition and fees, and housing and childcare allowances) for 12 American journalists to study tuition-free at Harvard for 10 months. Fellows and their partners have the run of Harvard, MIT, and Boston-area universities. Several specialized grants are available.

Knight-Wallace Fellowship at Michigan
Deadline: Feb. 1
Details: $70,000 stipend, plus all tuition and fees, for journalists in all disciplines, with international excursions over the 10-month, residential fellowship. Multiplatform training and a "backpack" of equipment supplied to help each fellow expand his or her craft.

• Full list of upcoming deadlines (login required). 
• AIR's public wiki of awards and fellowships

Meet the Newest AIRsters

Steven Bodzin | Montreal, Canada
Mariana Dale | Glendale, AZ
Blanche Girouard | London, UK
Kate Gonzales | Sacramento, CA
Mitch Hanley | Belmont, MA
Brit Hanson | Omaha, NE
Maryam Jameel | Washington, DC
Ndiata Kalonji | Rennes, France
Johnny Kauffman | Atlanta, GA
Camila Kerwin | Miami, FL
Daniel Kisslinger | Chicago, IL
Andy Kruse | St. Paul, MN
LN Lurie | Troy, OH
Anna Rose MacArthur | Nashville, TN
Kathleen Masterson | San Francisco, CA
Ellen Payne Smith | Montreal, Canada
Suzanne Pekow | St. Paul, MN
Anne Pope | Brooklyn, NY
Thomas Reid | East Stroudsburg, PA
Shoshi Shmuluvitz | Tel Aviv, Israel
David Edward Sims | Chicago, IL
Morgan Springer | Penobscot, ME
Lea Thau | Los Angeles, CA
Silvia Viñas | Provo, UT
Mia Warren | Marfa, TX
Arielle Zionts | Highland Park, IL
Steve Nelson | Minneapolis, MN
Joseph Dobzynski Sr. | Sarasota, FL
David Zvi Kalman | Philadelphia, PA
Christie Flemming | Gales Ferry, CT
Anne-Sophie Carpentier | Montreal, Canada
We've got talent. Peruse AIR's producer directory.
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