CHICAGO – The board of directors of UNITY: Journalists for Diversity has unanimously voted to explore holding a joint national media summit in 2018 with its three alliance partners, and will examine inviting other journalism organization to participate.

After months of discussions, the board endorsed Saturday a proposal that would allow AAJA, NLGJA, and NAJA to hold concurrent conventions in the same city. The plan calls for each alliance partner to hold its own conventions while UNITY organizes plenary events and a UNITY gala.

The plan is subject to approval from the boards of AAJA, NLGJA, and NAJA. In addition, partners agreed that UNITY would extend invitations to key ally journalism organizations.

UNITY president Russell ContrUNITY Chicagoeras said the joint national media summit in 2018 could be one of the largest and most diverse gatherings of journalists in the country.

“This will different than anything UNITY has ever done,” Contreras said. “UNITY will be the convener for a national summit but each group will keep its uniqueness. More importantly, we will all be in the same place and the same time for the cause of media diversity.”

Contreras said the national UNITY summit would empower marginalized voices for the next generation.

AAJA Paul Cheung said today’s journalists operate from many identities, many skill sets, and many interests. A national UNITY summit in 2018 could address the changing media landscape for diverse voices.

“The era of the single-identity journalist is over,” AAJA Paul Cheung said.

The move comes after months of debate among UNITY board members about bring back a national, joint convention. Contreras said the national media summit would be different and UNITY will not work to interfere with the sovereignty of its alliance partners.

Baltimore, Minneapolis, and Seattle are among the cities UNITY will explore as a host.

UNITY held its first national convention in Seattle in 1999 as an official organization.


UNITY Journalists for Diversity is a strategic alliance that:

  1. Advocates fair and accurate coverage about diversity — especially race, nationality, ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation.
  2. Aggressively challenges that industry to staff its organizations at all levels to reflect the country’s diversity.

The UNITY board is made up of representatives from the Asian American Journalists Association, the Native American Journalists Association, and NLGJA: The Association of LGBT Journalists.

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