AFRO columnist, MSU professor wins 2021 Bingham Fellowship Award

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Wayne Dawkins

By NLA (News Leaders Association)

Columbia, Mo. (Dec.10, 2021) – The News Leaders Association (NLA) announced today that Wayne Dawkins, professor of professional practice at the School of Global Journalism & Communication at Morgan State University, is the 2021 recipient of the Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship, awarded by the News Leaders Association.

The $1,000 award, given in recognition of an educator’s outstanding efforts to encourage students of color in the field of journalism, will be presented at the News Leaders Awards Ceremony during its annual leadership conference, being held May 19-20, 2022 (tentatively).

The NLA Awards are among the most prestigious in journalism and continue the long traditions of the previous ASNE and APME Awards. ASNE and APME began awarding the fellowship in 2016, after a merger with the Association of Opinion Journalists (AOJ).

NLA provides support and training that empowers news leaders and emerging news leaders to build diverse, sustainable newsrooms that use fact-based information to inform and engage the communities they reflect and serve.

The selection committee was particularly impressed by Dawkins’ facility at bringing his real-world journalism experiences to his students’ benefit. “Funny thing is I never actually took his class, but I learned far more from him than some of my other instructors,” wrote Austin Bogues, commentary editor at USA Today.

Arriana McLymore, an adjunct faculty member at the Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute at New York University, said, “Professor Wayne Dawkins is the smartest person I have ever met. What he does not have in brilliance, he makes up for in service and dedication to his journalism students.”

Ashia Aubrey, a former student, wrote, “Professor Dawkins holds a wealth of knowledge that he is not afraid to share. Once, Professor Dawkins told me . . . that I have tenacity. No one had ever said that to me before. Throughout my career, I have carried that statement with me, especially when I feel defeated and question my ability as a former journalist and communications specialist.”

Dawkins describes himself as “a late-20th century old-school journalist (4 dailies, 2 news services) and 21st century journalism and mass communications educator and digital journalist. I am interdisciplinary, extending my reach into the Humanities and STEM fields.”

Danyelle Gary, a former student and one of those who nominated Dawkins, elaborates.

“Wayne has a long history of being an advocate for and telling the stories of African Americans and other underrepresented groups, who are not often given the opportunity to narrate their lived experiences by mainstream outlets.”

He is the former managing editor of BlackAmericaWeb.com, a longstanding news source that centers the stories, perspectives, and viewpoints of African Americans around the country.

He is also the author of ‘City Son: Andrew W. Cooper’s Impact on Modern-Day Brooklyn’, an in-depth biography of the voting rights activist, journalist, and newspaper owner.

Wayne’s books ‘Black Journalists: The NABJ Story’ and ‘Rugged Waters: Black Journalists Swim the Mainstream’ provide a detailed look into the history of the largest association of journalists of color in the world. He continues to publish opinion pieces on critical topics of our time, such as the Black Lives Matter Movement, voting rights, criminal justice policies, and diversity in STEM fields.

Dawkins is also the unofficial historian of the National Association of Black Journalists. Dorothy Tucker, NABJ’s president, asked him to inventory and digitize NABJ archives, and now 7,000 items are accessible, with more to come. What a bountiful resource for students!

The News Leaders Association is proud to award Prof. Dawkins with this year’s Barry Bingham Sr. Fellowship Award, and look forward to seeing how he continues to encourage students of color to grow and develop in the field of journalism.


ABOUT NEWS LEADERS ASSOCIATION (NLA): The News Leaders Association empowers journalists at all levels with the training, support and networks they need to lead and transform diverse, sustainable newsrooms. NLA advances the cause of quality professional journalism, and welcomes journalists, news leaders, academics and others to be a part of supporting this critical mission. For more information on NLA go to www.newsleaders.org.