The old Unity logo with the phrase "Journalists of Color" that included symbols of the original members: NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA and NAJA. (Photo: Unity)
UPDATE: An earlier version of this article did not provide proper attribution to Richard Prince's April 17 article on Unity.
One of the most popular minority news alliances known for “advocating fair and accurate news coverage about people of color” voted to drop the term “Journalists of Color” from its name.
On Tuesday, UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc. announced it will remove “Journalists of Color,” saying members of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association (NLGJA) "would not or would
seriously consider not attending the convention if 'journalists of color' remained as part of the name."
The decision was the result of an 11-4 vote on Monday. The “no” votes came from Janet Cho of the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA), Peter Ortiz of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), Tom Arviso Jr. of the Native American Journalists Association (NAJA), and Cecilia Alvear of NAHJ, reports Richard Prince in a recent Journal-isms column on media.
Founded in 1994, UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc. was created to advance the presence, growth and leadership of minority races in the news industry. The alliance included the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the Native American Journalists Association.
In 2011, the National Association of Black Journalists decided to withdraw from the organization, saying UNITY was “no longer the most financially prudent for NABJ and its membership.” In September, NABJ co-founder Joe Davidson said the admission of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association had changed the focus of the organization.
"Throughout UNITY's history, its mission has been to advance the interests of journalists of color, as its full name now, but perhaps not for long, indicates,” Davidson told Richard Prince at the time. “While I wholeheartedly support the aims of NLGJA, its inclusion in UNITY means UNITY no longer is an organization focused exclusively on journalists of color."
Though they are no longer members of the organization, current NABJ President Gregory Lee Jr. called the dropping of the term “of color” unfortunate. "UNITY dropping the portion of its name representing the core principle of its founding is most unfortunate. UNITY can change its name, UNITY can change its logo, this is just [makeup] covering the problems that still remain. The reasons NABJ left UNITY still exist," he said in an email to Journal-isms.
Last month Unity introduced a new logo replacing the previous one that included symbols of the original members: NABJ, NAHJ, AAJA and NAJA. The new logo, along with the organization’s mission statement that includes the goal to increase representation of people of color at all levels in the nation’s newsrooms, will also have to be changed.
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