Walt Swanston. (Photo:Jason Miccolo Johnson)

The UNITY board wants to express its condolences following the passing of Walt Swanston-NuevaEspana, a long-time champion of diversity in newsrooms. Walt was a former executive director of UNITY, organizing its ’94 and ’99 conventions. She also served as UNITY’s interim executive director from 2012-14.

“Walt was always a fierce advocate for issues that mattered to us and to the industry,” said board member Jen Christensen who also leads NLGJA. “Walt was always a friendly face at a gathering; someone who was always open and willing to educate those in the newsroom, even those who may not value the coverage of diverse communities as much as we do, and she was impactful, constantly pushing to make our industry welcome to all. She will be much missed.”

Board member Kathy Chow considered Walt a pioneer.

“She worked tirelessly as a champion for all the Unity sister journalism associations,” said Chow, who is also AAJA’s executive director. “She will be deeply missed for her wisdom and passion as an advocate for more diverse newsrooms.”

Services are scheduled for Feb. 17. Details: http://bit.ly/2nqxGsw

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