NPR and stations team up again to recruit minority journalists

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Attendees at the 2016 Public Media Village during the NABJ/NAHJ conference.

NPR and stations are expanding their recruitment of talent among minority journalists by adapting the Public Media Village concept for several conferences this summer.

Last August the network and stations teamed up for the first time to recruit attendees during the joint National Association of Black Journalists/National Association of Hispanic Journalists conference in Washington, D.C. NPR had home-field advantage with that conference and the opportunity to recruit between two large journalism organizations.

This year, they’ll unite again, but local stations will take more prominent roles in Public Media Villages to be mounted at three different conferences scheduled through early September.

Public radio will continue to celebrate the large village presence, “but we really want to make sure we’re spreading the love among other affinity groups,” said Hugo Rojo, NPR manager of social media communications.

Last year’s Public Media Village launched a Think.Public.Media website and hashtag where Twitter users continue to share job openings.

This year, NABJ is holding a separate conference and NAHJ has teamed up with other associations. Public broadcasters, including television stations, will have villages at both of these events, and are adding a third conference to their schedule.

NPR and stations will recruit at the Asian American Journalists Association conference, July 26-29 in Philadelphia, with WHYY as the host station, then share a presence at NABJ’s conference, August 9-13 in New Orleans, to be hosted by WWNO. The Excellence In Journalism conference, September 7-9 in Anaheim, Calif., brings together the Society of Professional Journalists and Radio Television Digital National Association, in collaboration with NAHJ and the Native American Journalists Association. American Public Media will host that village.

With conventions across the country, NPR wants to empower local stations as hosts, Rojo said. He expects each station to put a local flair on the village.

Previously, NPR and stations recruited in separate spaces at journalism conventions. Last year was the first time they united under one banner, following the practice of their commercial broadcasting counterparts. The Public Media Village was a separate 1,400 square-foot space represented by more than two dozen public radio and TV outlets.

Convention-goers mingled with station staffers and personalities, collected swag and received feedback on their work. The Village collected more than 500 resumes and contact information, which was shared among the 29 participating stations. NPR did not track how many people landed jobs through last year’s recruitment effort.

NPR expects 50 stations to participate across all conferences. Some stations may participate in one conference, or several. NPR has secured about 600-square feet at NABJ and EIJ, according to Stacey Foxwell, NPR senior director of content administration and one of the main herders of the Public Media Village effort.