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Sheila Solomon to speak on diversity in journalism

Sheila Solomon, an editor/producer of Rivet News Radio and 2014 Ida B. Wells award recipient, will give an address entitled, “Journalism’s Diversity Legacy,” Tuesday, March, 4, at 5 p.m. in the McCormick Tribune Center Forum.

The lecture is Medill’s inaugural Ida B. Wells address. Solomon was given her award at a gala in January, but students now get a chance to hear her story, said Associate Professor Ava Thompson Greenwell.

The Ida B. Wells award, given by Medill and the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), was first introduced in 1984 to honor journalists who displayed illustrious leadership in increasing opportunities for people of color in newsrooms and coverage of diverse communities.

“For many, many years, [Solomon] was involved with recruitment of journalists, particularly journalists who were just starting out in the business, and mentoring them,” Greenwell said. “She has played a pivotal role in diversifying a lot of newsrooms around the country today.”

Greenwell will kick off the event with a brief history of Ida B. Wells and the award. Following Greenwell, Professor Loren Ghiglione, who is a co-curator of the award and the 1987 award recipient, will talk about what the honor has meant to him. Finally, Professor Charles Whitaker will introduce Solomon.

 Solomon has been in the journalism business for 30 years, starting at Newsday in 1984 during a time when women and African Americans were just starting to have a presence in mainstream news organizations, Greenwell said.

“These were some of the first people who began to integrate the newsrooms,” Greenwell said. “She’s going to talk about what her experience was like, and what she believes diversity’s legacy is in the news business.”

After the lecture, there will be a Q&A session and then a reception in the McCormick Tribune Center lobby, where students and faculty can interact with Solomon.

“I think students will get an opportunity to get a sense of history from many perspectives,” Greenwell said. “[They will see it] from a technological perspective, from a gender perspective, a race perspective and then from a journalism perspective just overall.”