At its 2019 Annual Board Meeting, the NPPA Board of Directors adopted a diversity and inclusion initiative and focused their attention on membership growth in the year ahead. The meeting was held January 25-27 at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in Athens, Georgia, where the association is headquartered.
The new diversity and inclusion policy, which was approved unanimously by the Board, includes several goals and steps for better ensuring the inclusion of people of color, women and non-binary individuals as NPPA faculty, speakers and contest judges.
“This is about NPPA really embracing an ‘inclusion-first’ mindset,” said NPPA President Michael P. King. “We should be asking ourselves at every stage of planning if we’re being inclusive in our events and contests. Because NPPA is an association for everyone. Everybody can and should be a part of our visual journalism community. We’ll only be stronger because of that.”
“I really applaud the NPPA for implementing this diversity and inclusion initiative,” NPPA Board of Directors member Eric Seals said. “Sometimes with life, some things can get taken for granted or not even given a second thought. When it comes to teaching or learning at various photo or video workshops and you’re a person of color, when you’re sitting there looking out, seeing others who look like you, it’s something we don’t take for granted, we look at it as a strength.”
“There is this feeling of a common bond or life experience as minorities,” Seals continued. “That connection helps make the teaching or learning experience that much more special, powerful and meaningful,” Seals said.
Among the resolution’s guidelines:
- Strive for panels including at least 50% women and non-binary individuals, and at least 30% people of color.
- Strive to include people with non-traditional backgrounds and varying experience levels.
- Encourage all members, directors and officers to recruit such individuals for elected and volunteer leadership positions in NPPA.
- When requested, commit the Executive Committee and Board of Directors to assist event and contest chairs in recruiting such individuals.
- Event and program chairs will report annually on their efforts, successes or challenges in meeting the above goals to the Board.
“This resolution is a decisive move to be sure we are current and inclusive of all people. It is beyond time for the NPPA board and faculty to reflect the audiences, members, and potential members who look to us as industry leaders and educators,” said NPPA Vice President Carolyn Hall Jensen.
Also at the meeting, the Board developed a comprehensive plan for membership recruitment and retention efforts in 2019, received a report on advocacy work done by attorneys Mickey Osterreicher and Alicia Wagner Calzada, and heard updates on the Best of Photojournalism Contest from BOP Chair William Snyder. The Board also passed a $1 million budget for the 2019 fiscal year.
Appointments were made to The Video Competitions Committee – a small group formed in 2018 that will oversee categories, rules and practices across all NPPA video contests including BOP Video, SVC, and TVQCC. Scott Jensen was elected to be the chair of the committee, and directors Katie Schoolov and Catherine Steward were chosen as members. Two additional members who are not on the Board will be chosen by Jensen at a later date.
Marlena Sloss, a grad student at the School of Visual Communication at Ohio University, was sworn in as NPPA’s student representative and student chapters chair. Newly elected Board members Eve Edelheit and Steward, Presidential appointees Eric Seals and Patrick Fallon, and recently-elected Secretary Marie D. De Jesús all attended and were sworn in at the meeting. Fallon, a Los Angeles-based independent photographer, was chosen by King to fill the seat previously held by Jensen, who stepped away from the role in December.
At the conclusion of the meeting, King was re-elected for a second term as the president of the association. Carolyn Hall Jensen was also re-elected as the vice president, and Kyle Grantham was re-elected treasurer.
“In almost a decade of serving NPPA in some capacity, I can’t think of a better leadership team than the one we have today,” King said. “Of course we face some challenges as a nonprofit association, but this is exactly the right group at the right time for the job, and there’s nobody I would rather serve with than them. NPPA is in great hands.”