The New York Association of Black Journalists issued a statement about last week’s dismissal of Robert Naylor from the Associated Press where he was the director of career development/news.
In the statement, NYABJ calls Naylor a “long-time diversity advocate” and makes the connection between the lay-off and the reintroduction of AP’s internship program, announced a day later. “Naylor was instrumental in shaping the careers of countless minority journalists through the AP’s internship program, which was reinstated last week after a yearlong hiatus due to budget cuts,” the release states.
The organization also notes the termination of two other African American managers – Dolores Barclay, East Coast entertainment editor and Andrew Fraser, assistant Pennsylvania bureau chief – in the last two weeks.
“NYABJ is deeply disappointed in the Associated Press’ decision to eliminate the positions of Robert Naylor, Dolores Barclay and Andrew Fraser,” said Michael J. Feeney, president of the New York Association of Black Journalists. “Now more than ever, we need people of color in management roles in our newsrooms to be champions for diversity, especially as it pertains to recruiting and cultivating the careers of black journalists.”
Gregory Lee, president of the National Association of Black Journalists, said in a statement that he would be reaching out to Associated Press president and CEO Tom Curley and executive editor Kathleen Carroll in hopes of finding a common ground on diversity issues in the company’s news division.
In an email to Richard Prince of Journal-isms, Paul Colford, AP director of media relations, said: “The AP remains committed to diversity. Nothing has altered that commitment. We are confident that a number of well-wired leaders in our newsroom and on the business side will continue to direct our efforts.”