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Published: March 4, 2019 Author: University Communications and Marketing

Members of the Athens community and diversity experts from the communications field discussed the lack of diversity and inclusion in the communications industry at a Feb. 26 panel at Ohio University in Schoonover Center.

Speakers included Dr. Eddith Dashiell of the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Natalie D’Apolito of Ohio University’s chapter of the Association for Women in Communications David Albritton of General Motors Defense LLC and Shanikka Flinn of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee of PRSA of Central Ohio.

Students organized the panel as a part of the “make it DIVERSE.” campaign, which aims to open discussion about the challenges communications professionals from diverse backgrounds face every day at Ohio University, a school whose faculty, administration and study body are majority white.

“Within our field of communications, there are not a lot of diverse people in executive or leadership positions,” Skanikka Flinn, PRSA of Central Ohio diversity and inclusion committee chair said, “and we in communications represent the community as a whole, and the community as a whole is a melting pot.”

Students, professors and professionals were also invited to take the “make it DIVERSE.” pledge, committing to educate others about the lack of diversity and inclusion in the communications industry as well as support professionals, students and faculty from diverse backgrounds.

Members of Ohio University’s Scripps Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) chapter organized the event as a part of the “make it DIVERSE.” campaign. The campaign aims to spread awareness about the lack of diversity and inclusion in the communications industry on Ohio University’s campus.

“We hope that this event equipped the attendees, both students and staff, with information on how to take actionable steps toward improving diversity and inclusion at Ohio University and in the communications field at large,” said Kate Ansel, “make it DIVERSE.” campaign director, “in order to be champions for diversity and inclusion, we have to be willing to listen to these stories and figure out what changes we can make so we don’t keep having the same conversations over and over again.”

The “make it DIVERSE.” campaign was created by the Bateman Competition team, the premier national case study competition for public relations students. The competition is in partnership with the PRSA Foundation, is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote diversity among communications professionals and companies so they can best serve the public good and address the needs of a diverse world.

The PRSA Foundation recently released “Diverse Voices: Profiles in Leadership,” a book designed to help communications leaders and professionals better understand the challenges faced by minorities in the field. The book, published in partnership with the Museum of Public Relations, features interviews with more than 40 multicultural corporate and PR agency leaders, including David Albritton who attended the panel.