NABJ Expresses Disappointment on the Layoff of Chicago Tribune Recruiter Sheila Solomon
Saturday, March 17, 2012
Posted by: Aprill Turner
Group Challenges Tribune to Follow Solomon’s Example and Maintain a High Value on the Standard of Diverse Newsrooms
WASHINGTON, DC (March 17, 2012)--The National Association of Black Journalists expresses its disappointment with the news that another champion of diversity has been dismissed from one of the country’s top mainstream media companies.
We applaud the Chicago Tribune’s Sheila Solomon for her tireless efforts as a veteran recruiter and mentor to hundreds of young reporters who have contributed mightily to richer storytelling though a variety of perspectives.
"Sheila Solomon spent years identifying the best and brightest journalists, particularly professionals of color,” said NABJ President Gregory H. Lee Jr. "Their work in newsrooms across the nation is the highest compliment to her legacy.”
Before her career was cut short at the Tribune, Solomon worked at the company’s (Newport News, Va.) Daily Press and brought scores of journalists of color – including many African Americans – into the chain’s Minority Editorial Training Program (METPRO).
"I’m sure I speak for many of my colleagues when I say that Sheila Solomon’s role in my career was critical to my start as a young journalist,” said Errin Haines, NABJ Vice President-Print and a 2002 METPRO fellow. "And her humble but determined dedication to a diverse intern pool every summer yielded results still evident in newsrooms today.”
Hampton University assistant professor Wayne Dawkins, Daily Press associate editor from 1998 to 2003, was recruited to the newspaper by Solomon from the (Gary, Ind.) Post-Tribune in 1997. He recalled her legendary career as a copy editor, public editor and talent recruiter.
"She's a pioneer – one of the first blacks in the Daily Press newsroom in the early 1970s,” Dawkins said. "It was odd then to see a black journalist – a young woman with a big Afro – in that Southern newsroom. Solomon did very good work at Newsday, The Charlotte Observer and on a return to the DP. Then, she went to the Chicago Tribune to do recruiting for the company.”
NABJ challenges the Tribune to follow Solomon’s stellar example and maintain a high value on the standard of diverse newsrooms that she built for the company.
An advocacy group established in 1975 in Washington, D.C., NABJ is the largest organization for journalists of color in the nation, and provides career development as well as educational and other support to its members worldwide.