Brandeis University Social Justice Journalism Grant Excludes White Men

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Ian Miles Cheong Contributor
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Brandeis University is offering a new $10,000 journalism grant for journalists interested in social justice issues. But there’s a catch — white men aren’t allowed to apply.

“Applications from women and journalists of color working in any type of media — print, audio, video, online — will be considered,” the university wrote in a news release on July 27 announcing the grant’s call for submissions. Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 prohibits discrimination based on sex.

The grants are a collaboration between Brandeis University’s Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, the Fund for Investigative Journalism, and the Ford Foundation. Founded in 1952, the Ford Foundation was first created to advance civil rights and is now a leading proponent in advancing social justice work across the United States.

This is the second year in a row that grants and fellowships are being given out to “journalists of diverse backgrounds — widely recognized as underrepresented ranks of US independent investigative reporters — to report and write important stories about unreported or underreported social justice issues.”

“Without greater diversity in journalism, some very important stories are never pitched, some assignments never made, facts never gathered, and serious abuses of power never uncovered,” read the university’s previous call for applications in 2016.

Like the previous year, the eligibility for prospective applicants in 2017 restricts white men from any consideration whatsoever. Selected journalists will receive up to $10,000 to pay for research expenses, traveling, document fees, and so on.

Beyond financial support, approved applicants will receive free access to university resources from Brandeis University, including paid research assistance, editorial guidance. Grant winners will also receive media-related legal advice from a “major” New York law firm pro bono — among a host of other benefits.

Because Brandeis University is a private non-profit school with students who receive federal assistance, it has to abide by Title IX. As reported by the College Fix on Wednesday, Sandy Bergo, the executive director for the Fund for Investigative Journalism, said that only independent journalists can apply for the grant.

To date, no one has lodged any official complaints against the university, the Schuster Institute, or the Ford Foundation for discrimination.

Ian Miles Cheong is a journalist and outspoken media critic. You can reach him through social media at @stillgray on Twitter and on Facebook.