Saeed Jones, a brilliant poet and memoirist, wrote in January about the ritual of annual determinations: “We don’t make resolutions in this house; we make determinations.”
I don’t make resolutions, either. In 2017 I wrote in another newsletter:
“They have always felt too much like promises with no opportunity cost to breaking them…It's easier for me to do things, than to resolve to do them. Either I read more books or I don't; either I get over my fear of being the slowest and the weakest and go to bike training camp or I don't. I can schedule the time to read or I can lose another night to scrolling through Twitter; I can confirm my attendance to the coach or I can ignore the team email.”
But I have been setting intentions, which are broad themes around which I try to align the majority of my time and effort and energy. And my intention for 2020 is Deepen the Bench.
It’s easy for someone to say that they’re committed to bringing in underrepresented folks into the industries to which they have access and over which they have some influence. It’s harder to change the structures and norms of those industries so that those folks, once in, want to stay.
But I have never shied away from a challenge. And I have an intention to honour. And so this year, I’m once again raising funds to support scholarships and stipends (which attempt to address the reality and industry scourge of unpaid internships) for students at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism in New York.
I have many ties to this school — I’ve been an adjunct lecturer there, and I’m on their Foundation board. And I’ve been a hiring manager in media, and I’ve seen first-hand how their students compare when they enter a newsroom.
Got a corporate budget? There’s options starting at $15,000 at the annual fundraising gala (honorees this year: Errol Louis and Anna Wintour. Range, they’ve got it.)
Got a really nice bonus last year or have generational wealth bouying your bank accounts? $10k gets you a table for ten and all the associated tax documentation that will make your accountant happy.
Got $5? That counts too. No amount is too small (or, hey, too large).
Give directly to the school via this form or donate through Benevity or similar if your company offers matching gifts — the Foundation is a 501c3. (Please let me know if you do either of these, so I might thank you.)
So: help me help them. Help me deepen the bench. Help me make media worth the time and attention and money we ask for from our audiences.
I they he she we you were too concluded yesterday to
know whatever was done could also be done, was also
done, was never done—
The worst injury is feeling you don't belong so much
— Claudia Rankine, “Some years there exists a wanting to escape... (pp. 139-146)” from Citizen