CPB-backed training aims to diversify ranks of programming leaders

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The application window is approaching for a training opportunity focused on increasing diversity among high-level programming executives in public media.

The Next Generation Leadership initiative, supported by CPB, is a collaboration between WGBH in Boston and The Partnership, a Boston-based nonprofit that specializes in executive-level training for people of color. WGBH previously hosted the Producers Workshop, which also focused on diversity.

Applications will be accepted for six weeks starting Sept. 1 for eight senior editorial fellows. Each will embed within a national public media organization to learn programming leadership skills and will receive executive-level coaching from The Partnership. NGL is looking for applicants representing diversity in a wide sense, including race, ethnicity, geographical location, socio-economic background, physical ability and other factors.

The project is supported by a $939,000 grant from CPB. The funder ended support in 2013 for Producers Workshop, which taught production skills to budding filmmakers, and shifted the funds to the new initiative.

NGL is in talks about embedding fellows at about a dozen stations and producing organizations, including PBS NewsHour and Frontline, said Judith Vecchione, co-executive director of the initiative along with independent filmmaker Carlos Sandoval.

Vecchione said she approached The Partnership with the idea for NGL after Producers Workshop ended. Several public media executives are alums of The Partnership program, she said, such as Chris Hastings, e.p. and editorial manager for the World Channel.

Also partnering on the work is the Association of Independents in Radio. “If we wanted to really find the best cohort of candidates, we needed AIR’s help,” Vecchione said.

More information about Next Generation Leadership is available on its website.

Correction: This post has been updated to reflect the initiative’s broader definition of diversity.

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