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Dorothy Gilliam and Prime Movers program honored with the JEA Diversity Award

Dorothy Gilliam and Prime Movers program honored with the JEA Diversity Award

Diversity Award Press Release

The Journalism Education Association will honor Dorothy Gilliam and the Prime Movers program of the School of Media and Public Affairs of George Washington University with the Diversity Award on April 19 at the spring JEA/NSPA National High School Journalism Convention in Anaheim.

JEA’s Diversity Award honors a scholastic journalism teacher, student media adviser or scholastic journalism group demonstrating a commitment to cultural awareness and encouraging a multicultural approach with its student media staff, media production and/or community. The honoree must be in the forefront in promoting diversity in the scholastic media arena and must have taken steps to break down walls of misunderstanding and ignorance.

Nominated by Reginald Ragland, JEA Washington D.C. representative, the Prime Movers program supported by a grant by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation was developed in 2003 by Dorothy Gilliam, former columnist and reporter at the Washington Post. Gilliam was also the founder of the Washington Post’s Young Journalist Development Program.

Under Dorothy Gilliam’s guidance, the Prime Movers program partners older journalists, especially women and people of color with young journalists to start and revitalize high school media, especially in schools with high populations of students of color.

In Washington D.C., Prime Movers created or improved media outlets at 10 schools, with 17 professional mentors and 27 student mentors teaching. It has also helped develop a national high school radio curriculum. More than 900 students participated directly in Prime Movers and more than 12,000 students have been exposed to student media as readers, viewers and listeners according to Eric Newton, Vice President of the Journalism Program of the Knight Foundation.

This program is now entering its fourth year. It has been replicated in the San Francisco Bay Area and in Philadelphia. Prime Movers has taken hold in 28 schools in the District of Philadelphia creating media clubs or programs.

According to Ragland, since Prime Movers began, it has reached nearly a dozen schools, 350 diverse students and their media programs, more than 30 college interns and nearly 29 professional journalists representing prominent, major-market newspapers, magazines, and television and radio stations in the Washington, D. C. area. With the addition of the Philadelphia Prime Mover’s program, it would have reached 900 students just in the 2007-2008 year.

“High school is the last time the next generation of America’s citizens is gathered together. Prime Movers is using that opportunity to give them a living example of the role that media can play in informing and inspiring community while helping improve First Amendment awareness,” said Eric Newton and Denise Tom, journalism program specialist with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

“Hard working, energetic and focused. That’s Dorothy Gilliam. She always has the students’ education at the top of her list. First and foremost, Ms. Gilliam is the consummate professional with years of experience as a journalist. Her passion has not faded and proof is in how each day she helps high school students reach their goal of reaching their dreams of attending colleges for broadcast or print journalism,” said J.D. DiMattio, Ph.D., Ballou Senior High School, Washington, D.C.

Honorable Mention was awarded to Gilroy High School’s The Free Press of San Jose, California. Since 2003, The Free Press has included Spanish and Translations sections in their paper starting with two pages and increasing to five pages with a team of writers and translators. These sections have helped to break down socio-racial barriers in the high school and community. The Free Press was nominated by Editor-in-Chief Michael Leininger.

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