The Journalism Institute for Media Diversity, an honors program at Wayne State, was founded over 30 years ago by the Department of Communication and editors of The Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press. Each year, the Institute hosts an award ceremony to honor students and professionals called the Spirit of Diversity.
The award of the night, the "Spirit of Diversity Award" is bestowed "on a journalist whose professional contributions have been national in scope and have advanced the cause of diversifying the issues covered in America’s news media," said Alicia Nails, journalism professor and director of the Institute.
This year, Dean Baquet, 60, the executive editor of the New York Times will be accepting the award on April 7. Baquet is the first black executive editor of the NYT and has held the position since 2014.
Prior to being honored at the ceremony, students are invited to join a conversation with Baquet at 4-5:30 p.m. in room 171 of Alex Manoogian Hall.
Past awardwinners include Curt Guyette in 2016 for his work on the Flint water crisis with the ACLU of Michigan and Wesley Lowery in 2015 for his work on the "Fatal Force" project with the Washington Post.
Local journalists are also honored for their work in diversifying the industry. In 2015, Detroit Free Press reporter Cassandra Spratling was honored, along with Alyssa Martina and Pulitzer Prize winner Angelo Henderson.
This year, Chastity Pratt-Dawsey of Bridge Magazine will also be accepting the prestigious "Working in the Spirit of Diversity Award" for reporting on issues including education and the Flint water crisis.
The award winners will be honored at a reception 6-8 p.m. April 7 at the WSU's Saint Andrews Chapel. Tickets are $100 or $50 for students and graduates of the Institute.
More than 250 WSU journalism students have graduated from the program and have launched careers locally, nationally and internationally. Funds from the celebration go towards institute member's scholarships.
"The Journalism Institute for Media Diversity is proud to host the highest ranking African-American in print journalism and to be able to expose Wayne State students to a man whose job puts him in the eye of the storm while the very integrity of the profession and of the 'paper of record' is being questioned by the president of the United States," Nails said.