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MJP History


  • It all began as an idea by Professor Marian Huttenstine and then graduate student Marie Parsons to recruit and develop minority students for careers in journalism.



  • Formal Minority Journalism Program begins with Marie Parsons as director.



  • First Minority Journalism Workshop conducted, eight students participating, six of them from Tuscaloosa.

  • First ASNE Job Fair trip. The program continues to sponsor at least one job fair trip per year. More than 1,000 students have participated.

  • Student support group, Minorities for Careers in Communication, begins, becomes Capstone Association of Black Journalists in 1993. CABJ is still going strong today, with current MJW director Meredith Cummings serving as the advisor.



  • UA, Dow Jones Newspaper Fund, Freedom Forum, individual Alabama newspapers and broadcast stations, Alabama Press Association Journalism Foundation, Alabama Broadcasters Association Foundation, New York Times Foundation, John F. and James L. Knight Foundation, Scripps Howard Foundation, Gannett Foundation, Mercedes-Benz USA International, The Tuscaloosa News, Mobile Press-Register and others contribute to program.

  • Endowed scholarships totaling $70,000 designated for minorities during University's capital campaign.

  • Annual summer workshops attract an average of 15 students. Professional journalists visit, teach, mentor students as they publish workshop newspaper.

  • Minority percentage rises to 12% in the department and college

  • Noted Black journalist (New York Times) Paul Delaney becomes chairman of department in 1992. He had been a frequent guest lecturer at workshops. Delaney resigned in 1996 to take a position at Howard University.

  • Department graduates 10 print journalism and 6 broadcast journalism majors in 1992, an all-time high. These numbers continue to rise at the Capstone.

  • Department develops a database of minority students going back to 1982, begins tracking them from the annual workshop, through college and throughout their career. This service is now a main feature of the program.



  • The program receives the largest single contribution, $100,000, from John S. and James G. Knight Foundation, half for endowed scholarships, half for program expenses.

  • Program support from Dow Jones, Scripps Howard, APA Journalism Foundation, Alabama Broadcasters Association and individual Alabama newspapers and other groups rises to about $12,000 per year. Workshop attendance edges upward with increased support.



  • Minority Journalism Workshop attracts an all-time high of 28, coming from all over Alabama as well as a number of other states.



  • Thirty students are recruited for the 14th annual workshop.



  • The 2001 MJW is the last workshop to be directed by MJP co-founder Marie Parsons, who retired before the 2002 program.

  • In 2004, the Minority Journalism Program becomes Multicultural Journalism Program, recognizing the fact that for several years, all races have been invited to attend the workshop.

  • In 2006, veteran journalist Merv Aubespin, the godfather of our MJW program, makes his 14th visit to the Capstone.

  • In 2008 Meredith Cummings is hired as director of MJW and ASPA.

  • In 2011 MJW receives the Diversity Award, given by the Journalism Education Association.

  • In 2012 Founder Marie Parsons receives the Lifetime Achievement Award given by the Journalism Education Association. MJW students cover the Gulf Coast oil spill two years after the environmental crisis.

  • In 2013 the workshop celebrates its 30th-anniversary milestone by covering the 50th anniversary of various Civil Rights events in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham.

  • In 2015 Dow Jones News Fund pulls its funding of many workshops around the country, including MJW, a sign of the downturn in financial support for news outlets across America. The Department of Journalism and Creative Media, Alabama Scholastic Press Association, Alabama Press Association Foundation and Alabama Broadcasters Association continue to fund the workshop. The workshops limits students to 10-15.

  • In 2020 MJW students were planned to once again head to the Gulf Coast to cover the effects of the BP oil spill 10 years later. COVID19 disrupted this class from completing the workshop. Accepted participants got to defer to the next year.

  • In 2021 MJW hosts its first virtual workshop due to the COVID19 pandemic, with 11 students from seven states.

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