On August 22, the Magazine Media division sent a letter to the AEJMC Board of Directors and the Council of Divisions expressing our concern about the lack of coordination between AEJMC and other professional organizations in the timing of conventions. Specifically, we noted that our 2016 convention overlapped with those of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), and the National Association of Hispanic Journalists (NAHJ), making it harder to achieve our stated commitment to diversity. (Magazine Media Diversity Letter to AEJMC Leaders)
On September 6, we received a response from Paul Voakes, President-Elect and Chair of the Board of Directors of AEJMC. He acknowledged that this has been a persistent problem, which he attributed to the five-year lead time required for booking a venue for the AEJMC convention, but pledged to better coordinate annual meetings in the future. (VoakesMagLtr) “I applaud the [Magazine Media] division’s emphasis this year on diversity,” he wrote. “This has been one of the ‘planks’ of my own presidential platform, so it’s encouraging to have divisional support.”
Voakes also made the following suggestions:
- Putting out a special Call for Papers with a diversity theme that “responds to the dearth of research on diversity in the magazine profession.”
- Publicizing the Emerging Scholars program and the Senior Scholars Research program, with diversity in magazine journalism topics.
- Considering a pre-conference session on a diversity-related topic.
Thanks to Jim Shahin, PF&R chair, for drafting our letter, and to everyone who read, commented and signed it. This is an important issue for our division to address. Please watch for a call for panels, coming soon.