One of the nation’s most successful broadcasters and journalists, Armstrong Williams, Chairman of Howard Stirk Holdings Journalism Foundation, Inc., is teaming up with Coastal Carolina University to sponsor a new intern program aimed at helping students from disadvantaged backgrounds get their start in the field of journalism.
The foundation has pledged an initial commitment of $50,000 in order to help young people enter a field that has traditionally failed to include a broad cross-section of America’s young people. The program will expand the academic course offerings at Coastal Carolina University by including a new focus on journalism. In its first year, the internship program will hire approximately 14 undergraduate students to serve as interns at Armstrong Williams’s local broadcast television station at WWMB CW21 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Williams is the largest minority owner of full powered Broadcast TV stations in America, including Myrtle Beach & Charleston, SC; Flint, Michigan; Anniston, Alabama; and Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Pending FCC approval this Fall he will acquire stations in Las Vegas and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) approval of Howard Stirk Holdings (the station’s parent company) license applications in March 2015 paved the way for this historic partnership. Armstrong Williams Media Interns program will help advance the FCC and President Obama’s goals of increasing minority ownership and viewpoint diversity in broadcast media.
“This partnership with Coastal Carolina University represents a major commitment to strengthen and expand opportunities for young people that are so critical to our nation’s future,” said Armstrong Williams, CEO of Howard Stirk Holdings. “It will enable us to continue in the great tradition of South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinkney, who used his position of influence to create countless opportunities for young people in our state. We want to pick up where he left off and do our part to cement a legacy of progress by creating opportunities for young people who have traditionally been excluded from the media industry.”
I am especially grateful that my friend and colleague David Smith, CEO of Sinclair Broadcasting, has joined in this effort by pledging a further $100,000 for ongoing efforts to develop media talent across our television broadcasting footprint, which now constitutes local broadcast stations in five markets. With commitments from mainstream corporate leaders like David Smith, as well as C Boyden Gray who sits on the board of the newly formed Howard Stirk Journalism Foundation, we are assured of having broad industry support for this noble endeavor. Our other board members, including famed journalist Juan Williams, former NBA superstar and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, and media lawyer Colby May, bring invaluable talents, relationships and perspectives that will enable us to provide world-class programming and open doors at the highest levels in media.
In comments exclusively to Breitbart, Williams noted that he hoped to repeat this program in every city where he own television stations and said that he is uniquely positioned to help young people learn about journalism and the media
“We are uniquely positioned to make this offer and we are doing something about it,” Williams said in a phone interview. “When you put your money where your mouth is that makes all the difference.”
“I’ve been thinking about this for a year or so,” Willimas continued, “and then when Rev. Clementa C. Pinckney was brutally killed in that church shooting in Charleston it really made me think. You know he really believed in building the young community and you really have to ask yourself, if you’re blessed to do well, you have an opportunity to empower people. I realized that it’s just not enough to own the stations, you need to create some kind of synergy between the stations and some university. You need to give these kids real opportunity to learn real skills about broadcast journalism, abut using a camera, about editing, using the Avid system, or producing and being an on-air reporter. I started meeting with the university officials about a year ago to work out a collaboration and they gave me a price tag and I pondered it for a couple of months and just decided after Rev. Pinckney was killed this is what I want to do.”
The program will be rolled out on Friday, August 14.
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