The Center for Investigative Reporting and The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education are pleased to announce the launch of the Dori J. Maynard Senior Research Fellows program.

Continuing and deepening the work of both organizations, the program is designed to bring together researchers from diverse backgrounds and disciplines to examine the intersection of race, power and media. Their research will be a resource for media organizations, academic institutions, foundations and others.

The program is named for Dori J. Maynard, the late president and CEO of the Maynard Institute who worked tirelessly to push the news media to accurately reflect the diversity of the nation. She died Feb. 24, 2015, in her home in Oakland, California, after a battle with cancer. She was 56.

The fellowship will be led by Lindsay Green-Barber, Ph.D., CIR’s director of strategic research.

We are pleased to announce the first cohort of senior fellows:

  • Meredith Clark, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Mayborn School of Journalism at University of North Texas and a graduate of the Maynard Media Academy for managers.
  • Jana Diesner, Ph.D., assistant professor at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign’s iSchool and affiliate at the Department of Computer Science.
  • Laura K. Nelson, Ph.D., postdoctoral research fellow in the Management and Organizations Department in the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and affiliate at the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems. In September, Nelson will become an assistant professor in Northeastern University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Joaquin Alvarado, CEO of CIR, said, “We are excited to collaborate with the Maynard Institute to honor and extend the legacy of leadership, learning and courage the institute has provided in journalism. I can think of no better way to celebrate Dori than by pursuing the mission she was so dedicated to. CIR is committed to these principles and values and models them every day we come to work.”

“We admire the work and the leadership of The Center for Investigative Reporting, and we are thrilled to be partners with them in advancing innovative research and thoughtful discussion of  race, power and media,” said Evelyn Hsu, executive director of the Maynard Institute.

Maynard board member Martin G. Reynolds said, “This research collaboration with CIR reflects a new strategy for an invigorated institute that seeks to develop research that shows, unequivocally, the value of achieving diversity in staffing, coverage and revenue.”

Of the senior research fellowship initiative, Jonathan Kaufman, director of Northeastern University’s School of Journalism, said, “This project demonstrates the growing intersection of data, data analysis and journalism. Collaboration between universities, nonprofits like CIR and the Maynard institute and media partners is the future of deeply-reported, high-impact journalism. Northeastern is proud to be at the cutting edge of this new field.”

Starting this month, CIR and the Maynard Institute will host a series of Equity Exchanges with key stakeholders and potential collaborators to discuss the project and get feedback on research questions the fellows will examine.

The Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education is the nation’s oldest organization dedicated to helping the news media accurately portray all segments of society, particularly those often overlooked, such as communities of color. The institute has been the pre-eminent organization working to support journalists of color, while pushing newsrooms across the nation to achieve diversity in coverage, hiring and business. The organization is coming out of a strategic planning process to reimagine itself to serve media in the 21st century. Part of that service centers on research to help support the need for diversity and equity in media.

Founded in 1977, The Center for Investigative Reporting is the nation’s first independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization dedicated to public service journalism. CIR empowers the public through groundbreaking investigative storytelling that sparks action, improves lives and protects our democracy. Over the last three years, CIR has convened academic researchers, media makers and others to undertake collaborative research projects and advance the field.

The announcement of this collaboration coincides with the anniversary of the Washington, D.C., memorial honoring Dori Maynard. Hundreds gathered at the Newseum on May 4, 2015, to remember her as a champion of diversity and a friend and mentor to many. This fellowship is a tribute to her memory and her work.

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