August 05, 2004
Retailer joins other groups working to increase diversity in the newsroom.
BENTONVILLE, Ark. (August 5, 2004) - Today Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. announced a scholarship program for minority college journalism students in an effort to increase the level of diversity in newsrooms around the country. This initiative was designed to fill the gap identified in recent surveys by two news industry groups, the American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Radio and Television News Directors Association. The announcement was made at the UNITY 2004 Convention in Washington, D.C.
The program, offered through the Wal-Mart/SAMS CLUB Foundation, will run three years for a total financial commitment of $500,000. Wal-Mart will award $50,000 to 10 select journalism programs at universities nationwide: Arizona State University, Columbia University, Hampton University, Howard University, Northwestern University, Syracuse University, University of Florida, University of Missouri at Columbia, University of Southern California, and University of Texas at Austin. The universities were selected based on the quality of their journalism programs and student demographics.
"Like all of us, journalists are shaped by their own culture and past experiences, and this helps determine how they see the world. Currently there simply are not enough news reporters, editors and producers whose thinking reflects their experiences growing up as minorities in this country," said Mona Williams, vice president of Communication for Wal-Mart. "We have the opportunity to help make a difference by ensuring that talented college students who aspire to be journalists are not disappointed simply because they are short on money."
Each university with an undergraduate journalism program will select four minority journalism students to receive $2,500 scholarships in their junior year. Preference will be given to students with a financial need and a grade point average of 3.0 or above on a 4.0 scale. The scholarships are renewable in their senior year if students maintain a 3.0 grade point average. At Columbia University, students enrolled in the graduate journalism program will qualify for the scholarship. The first round of scholarships will be awarded for the Fall 2005 school year.Education is a cornerstone commitment for Wal-Mart. Last year the company contributed more than $40 million to support a wide range of educational initiatives.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAMS CLUBS in all fifty states. Internationally, the company operates in Puerto Rico, Canada, China, Mexico, Brazil, Germany, United Kingdom, Argentina and South Korea. The companys securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT. Last year, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. contributed more than $150 million to support communities and local non-profit organizations. Customers and associates raised an additional $70 million at stores and clubs.