One of the institute's aspirational goals is to increase the representation of people of color among working journalists in Philadelphia to at least 50 percent by 2025. In addition to creating the fund to support that goal, the institute is focused on improving communication and partnership within the city's news ecosystem; creating initiatives in digital training, talent development, and newsroom inclusion; supporting entrepreneurship; and accelerating the digital transition of individual businesses and news organizations.
To that end, the twenty-one winners of NextGen Awards will receive a stipend of up to $1,200 to attend a professional development conference of their choice. The recipients, all of whom are Philadelphia-area journalists or students of color, include Bobbi I. Booker, the technology culture reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune; Philadelphia Inquirer reporter Cassie Owens; and Rjaa Ahmed, a sophomore at the Temple University Klein College of Media and Communication who leads the Philadelphia Asian American Journalists Association student chapter. Later this month, the cohort will gather together to share their future plans, career needs, and professional development goals.
"This fund empowers journalists of color in the early and middle stages of their careers to grow professionally in the ways that make the most sense for them," said Lenfest Institute business and programs analyst Cheryl Thompson-Morton. "We're hoping that this program will help journalists of color achieve their goals and ultimately to take on leadership positions in local and national news."
For a complete list of Lenfest Next Generation Fund Award winners, see the Lenfest Institute website.