Folha Launches Training Program for Black Professionals

Online course will take place in the evening over 3 months; applicants must self-declare race

This Friday (19), Folha will open registration for its Training Program in Daily Journalism, aimed at Black professionals.

The course will target university students and people trained in any area of knowledge. Applicants must self-declare their race.

Lasting three months, the program will be administered online at night because of the pandemic. Interested parties from all regions of the country can apply. Registration closes on March 21st.

Trainees will take classes in journalistic practices, Portuguese, use of databases, and economics, among other topics. The course coordinator will be Flavia Lima, Folha's ombudsman. "It was through a trainee program that I entered journalism 20 years ago. I know the importance of the initiative and I consider it an honor to coordinate the Folha program, the first aimed at Black journalists. Certainly, the definition of diversity has been broadened."

There is no guarantee of employment at the end of the training, but Folha typically hires trainees as freelancers. Applicants will be selected through tests and interviews.

"We want to increase diversity in the newsroom to make it more representative and more competent," says Suzana Singer, the editor responsible for the training. For Alexandra Moraes, editor of Diversity, "the initiative will reduce the distance between the newsroom profile, which is mostly white, and that of the population in a country with a Black majority."

Folha created its Diversity editorial board in May 2019 with the aim of expanding diversity, one of the pillars of the newspaper's editorial project. On a daily basis, its function is to participate in hiring journalists, columnists, and collaborators and helping foster a greater diversity of sources and topics covered by the newspaper. The hope is that these measures will foster more diversity among the readers themselves.

This is not Folha's first initiative to foster diversity in the team. In 2016, Folha formed a trainee group of seniors over 40 years old. Several of them collaborate with the newspaper to this day.

Diversity has become a dominant issue in several countries. After the death of George Floyd, in May of last year, the Washington Post, in the USA, created the position of editorial director for diversity and inclusion, now occupied by Black journalist Krissah Thompson.

In 2019, the BBC, a British public broadcasting company, created the position of director of creative diversity, held by June Sarpong. Last year, it set a goal for its workforce to be at least 20% of professionals belonging to underrepresented groups in the media, such as Blacks, ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, and lower-income classes.

In Brazil, the journalism laboratory Énois created a diversity program in which ten journalists work in ten online newsrooms outside the Rio-São Paulo axis. In January, Nexo Jornal opened two internship vacancies exclusively for Black women.

Outside the journalistic environment, several companies have created initiatives to promote diversity. Magazine Luiza and Ambev launched exclusive trainee programs for Black candidates.

Bayer, a pharmaceutical multinational, created the Black Leadership Program and maintains inclusion and diversity committees focused on gender, race, LGBT community, generations (age), and people with disabilities. Goldman Sachs, a multinational financial group, has set a 2025 goal: 7% of all its vice presidents will be Black, 9% Latin American and 40% women.

The training program has the support of Nelson Wilians Group.

Translated by Kiratiana Freelon