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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Journalism school features black students, professionals

Lydia Stern/Daily Wildcat Jonathan Peck, Director and CEO of Tucson Urban League, speaks with students about the Trayvon Martin case and its relevance to other similar cases which do not get as much media attention. Peck was one of the guest speakers on Thursday at the induction of the new student chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists.

The School of Journalism officially announced the induction of a UA student chapter of the NABJ on Thursday.

The National Association of Black Journalists is a professional, nationwide organization, which students have been working to implement into the School of Journalism since the beginning of the semester.

The club’s interim adviser, Kevin R. Kemper, an assistant professor and the diversity and inclusiveness coordinator in the School of Journalism, said that adding the chapter was “the right thing to do,” and that there are some concerns about diversity in the journalism program.

“One of the concerns that we have is that the percentage of African-American students isn’t as high as we would wish,” he said. “In journalism we want journalists to look like the people they cover because they understand the issues in the communities where they come from.”

Kemper said this means the School of Journalism wants journalists of all types to help give voice to the media from underrepresented minority groups.

As a school, Kemper said it wanted things to get going with NABJ this year, but the students are the ones who really pushed to make it happen.

Tyler McDowell-Blanken, a journalism freshman, helped spearhead the student chapter. He said the idea to start the NABJ chapter began last semester. Since then, he said he, a handful of other students and Susan Knight, a journalism professor, have been working hard to launch the chapter.

Darien McKinley, a journalism sophomore said working toward the chapter’s launch was “quite an experience.”

“I feel we can do big things with this chapter because everyone gets along with each other and there is no reason why we all shouldn’t interact,” McKinley said.

McKinley also said he liked that there was a huge diversity of students who attended the opening of the chapter.

The whole point is that we don’t want to exclude any student, Kemper said. “You don’t have to be black to be a member of the NABJ.”

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