Public Media Journalists Association (PMJA, formerly PRNDI), which represents local public media newsrooms around the country, has chosen two member stations to receive Workplace Integrity training free of charge. The initiative is part of a pilot project with the Freedom Forum Institute’s Power Shift Project to partner with stations to improve workplace cultures.
PMJA’s Executive Director Terry Gildea and Business Manager Christine Paige Diers announced today that St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis, Mo., and KUNR in Reno, Nev., were chosen to receive the training as part of a national competition. Gildea and Paige Diers are qualified as Workplace Integrity trainers, able to teach the one-day workshops for stations that contract for the service.
“We had a number of very deserving applicants interested in participating in this pilot project. It was a difficult decision to narrow it down to two deserving stations,” Gildea said. “Part of the purpose of this pilot is to help us develop a robust proposal to potential funders who might be interested in helping us get this training to many more stations in the future.”
Gildea and Paige Diers will travel to St. Louis and Reno to present trainings at the two stations before the end of the year.
Both stations were excited to be chosen for the pilot project.
“This innovative training aligns well with KUNR’s progress in establishing an inclusive and constructive newsroom and workplace,” said KUNR General Manager David Stipech. “Our team is eager to learn specific tools to empower every individual in shaping a positive team culture. When people feel happy, safe and valued, we can all achieve the work we aspire to.”
KUNR News Director Michelle Billman added, “KUNR has been building a bilingual reporting internship program in collaboration with our partner organization Noticiero Móvil, run by the Reynolds School of Journalism. As more Latinx journalists are being recruited into our newsroom, our coverage is deepening in powerful ways and it will be especially helpful to learn specific strategies for shaping and maintaining a supportive work environment for everyone.”
St. Louis Public Radio’s Executive Editor Shula Neuman said, “At St. Louis Public Radio, we are constantly striving to do better when it comes to diversity and inclusion. We see creating a culture of tolerance and respect as second in importance only to putting journalism at the center of what we do. Having the whole station go through the Power Shift training is a tremendous opportunity. Not only does it further our efforts to collectively understand what it means to be a truly inclusive news organization, but it also helps us serve our audience. The more inclusive we are internally, the better job we’ll do of truly representing our community through our journalism.”
The Power Shift Project created one-of-a-kind training to build stronger, healthier media organizations. The goal of the Workplace Integrity curriculum is encouraging environments free of harassment, discrimination or incivility, and full of opportunity, especially for those who have traditionally been denied it.
The workshops, custom-designed for media organizations, are positive and interactive, giving staffers a chance to have the kind of conversations they rarely have at work. Current, the publication about public media, featured the Workplace Integrity curriculum in a recent issue.
As part of the pilot project with the Freedom Forum Institute, PMJA will waive the workshop fee (customarily up to $6,000 plus travel) for the two stations. They were chosen based on a number of factors, including the desire to improve workplace culture and commitment to continuous learning for staff.
The Workplace Integrity training curriculum was designed by Loyola University Chicago’s Jill Geisler, a world-class leadership trainer and coach who is the Freedom Forum Institute fellow in Women’s Leadership.
Since the Workplace Integrity curriculum was launched in June 2017, more than 100 media leaders, staffers and journalism educators have participated in “Train the Trainers” workshops, which prepare individuals in the news industry and journalism education groups to deliver the curriculum in their own organizations.
“The Workplace Integrity curriculum changes cultures because it is built on the input of the staff and the support of top leadership,” said Geisler. “People of good will work together to eliminate harassment, discrimination and incivility.”
The curriculum is built around the three pillars of critical thinking, courageous conversations and creating cultures of respect and trust. During training workshops, participants use critical thinking, creative role playing and group exercises to learn ways to prevent sexual harassment and misconduct and the behaviors that can lead to these behaviors, such as incivility and bullying.
In 2017, CBS Corporation awarded a grant to the Power Shift Project to expand the reach of its Workplace Integrity training and build capacity to work with minority journalism organizations and advocates for underrepresented populations to advance the goals and lessons of the curriculum to diverse audiences.