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An Apology from the Cronkite School

July 14, 2021

A few weeks ago the Cronkite School shared a press release on Twitter recognizing nine students who are working as fellows in the prestigious Carnegie-Knight News21 investigative reporting initiative this summer. Our intention was to congratulate and recognize the Cronkite students, who are included in a larger cohort of 35 students from different institutions.

This post drew criticism because of the lack of racial and ethnic diversity among the Cronkite fellows. It failed to reflect the variety of voices included in the News21 newsroom and the care the fellows take while reporting in communities across the country.

We did not want to exacerbate a hostile social media conversation. However, our handling of the situation left the News21 fellows feeling unsupported and betrayed by our lack of immediate public response. To know that our management of this situation has caused our students harm is devastating to us, and for that we are sorry.

We offer our deepest apologies to our students and the 26 fellows from our partner universities who are working together on this year’s project. We appreciate the News21 fellows from different universities for their diverse perspectives, racial and ethic backgrounds, and contributions to our program.

We want to be absolutely clear that we stand behind all 35 News21 fellows. They are an incredibly accomplished and dedicated group of journalists, who are working tirelessly to share important stories from communities across the country. We look forward to sharing their stories in August so that our colleagues and our communities can see how talented, dogged and insightful they are.

The events of the past few weeks have prompted deep reflection within the Cronkite School about how to prevent circumstances like this in the future and ensure that all students are supported and heard. We will strive to address student concerns immediately, substantively and effectively.

We continue to assess how we can best serve and reflect the communities we cover and the students we teach. The conversations prompted by this situation are part of the larger dialogue about racial and ethnic diversity within the Cronkite School as well as newsrooms across the country.

Our communities need the kind of reporting News21 fellows and others are doing, and we will do whatever it takes to support them in thriving throughout their careers.

Battinto Batts Jr., dean
Rebecca Blatt, senior associate dean
Vanessa Ruiz, director for diversity initiatives and community engagement