Despite the pleas of UNITY: Journalists of Color, the Asian American Journalists Association, the Native American Journalists Association and the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Press has decided not to bring back its 26-year old internship program. AP chief executive officer Tom Curley confirmed to UNITY president Barbara Ciara that the program was as good as dead as of the end of 2010.
On his Journal-isms blog, Richard Prince notes that the program began primarily as a way to increase the pool of minority journalists. The loss of the internship program is a huge loss for diversity in the newsroom.
Tony Winton, president of the News Media Guild, told Prince that the program costs between $600,000 to $800,000 a year–not an outrageous sum–and that the interns are paid union scale. The program has paid dividends for the company, as many former interns now hold high ranking positions within the news organization. Former intern Anthony Marquez runs the AP’s LA bureau.
A tough blow for young journalists looking to break into an already shrinking biz.