Join the MASTHEAD, A New Effort to Aid Alabama Student Media
My name is Victor Luckerson and I’m a 2012 University of Alabama graduate, as well as a former editor-in-chief of The Crimson White. I’m reaching out to ask for your help in launching a new alumni organization that aims to make student media at Alabama more diverse and equitable than it has been in the past.
Over the last four months I and other UA alumni have been talking with the leaders in student media about the best ways we can support them. Any infrastructure project requires money, man-hours and professional expertise, and that’s what we’re here to provide. We are forming a mission-driven alumni group focused on promoting a more inclusive environment for students of color in both student media and the broader UA community. The group is called Media Alumni Seeking to Highlight Equity and Diversity, or MASTHEAD. Briefly, here’s what we’re about:
- Read more about MASTHEAD’s organizational structure in this FAQ.
- Make a tax-deductible donation to MASTHEAD at givebutter.com/masthead2020 using your credit card, Venmo, or Paypal.
- Volunteer to aid MASTHEAD’s mission by reaching out to us.
- View all the key MASTHEAD documents in this Google Drive folder.
This has been a year for re-examining the institutions that govern our lives today and shaped our worldviews in the past, and student media should hardly be immune from such scrutiny. Historically, The Crimson White has often relied on narrow, predominantly white social networks to recruit staff and done minimal outreach to underrepresented groups. I was one of a handful of Black journalists on the CW staff as an underclassman, and I discovered how difficult it can be to write complex stories about race or seek support for ambitious ideas without mentors who share your experience. Later, as editor, I saw the flipside of this dynamic—it’s really easy as a manager to lean on the infrastructure that’s already in place to guide your hiring and coverage decisions, even if that infrastructure perpetuates a biased and unfair system.
What’s exciting about the current moment is that UA students have the vision and courage to do something earlier generations did not—transform the infrastructure. A brand new student publication called Nineteen Fifty-Six is providing a space for coverage of and perspectives by the Black community at UA with never-before-seen depth. At The Crimson White, the editorial board is enacting a number of concrete operational changes aimed at improving diversity and equity, such as tracking the sources quoted in news articles by race and gender, as well as launching a race and identity desk that will impact reporting throughout the newsroom.
MASTHEAD has great potential to be a valuable resource for student journalists and provide some clarity on how alumni can meaningfully give back to our alma mater in a variety of ways. But we want to start with straightforward and actionable steps based on the immediate needs of current students.
- For Nineteen Fifty-Six, we want to help send this year’s editorial staff to a variety of professional conferences (coronavirus allowing) to learn about both journalistic practices and entrepreneurship, such as the AfroTech conference focused on Black startups and digital media.
- We are also developing a mentorship program so that the publication’s editorial staff can get one-on-one advice and guidance from media professionals of color.
- For The Crimson White, we want to provide funding to staff the race and identity desk with five staffers for the 2020-2021 school year: a features reporter, a data reporter, an opinion columnist, a historian, and a dedicated editor.
In order to achieve these goals we are seeking to raise $10,000 from alumni and others who believe in this cause by the end of the Fall 2020 semester. You can donate right now via our Givebutter account. Donations are tax-deductible.
How Else You Can Help
Share our fundraising campaign with other UA alumni right now on social media or via email. We are planning a broader public outreach campaign for Oct. 19 with the launch of MASTHEAD Instagram and Facebook accounts, as well as a website, which will make sharing even easier. We could use help from many of you as we try to make sure MASTHEAD’s initiatives reach thousands of potential donors and volunteers. If you are interested in contributing your time or expertise, please review our list of current needs.
Thanks for reading and feel free to reach out to me with any questions, comments or concerns at email@example.com. We’re excited to welcome you to MASTHEAD and can’t wait to really get started.