End of an era: UNITY dissolves, but its mission remains


UNITY, Journalists for Diversity, has decided to begin the process of dissolving as an organization with a target date of folding on March 30. The vote to take such action was unanimous. 


UNITY has struggled to carve out a financially sustainable path since the departures of NABJ in 2011 and NAHJ in 2013.

“Without a national convention every four years ago, and with so many strong programs going after the same shrinking pool of funders, it just doesn’t seem feasible to continue,” said Neal Justin, media critic for the Minneapolis Star Tribune and the current UNITY president. “This is a heart-breaking decision, but we’ve decided that the best way to move forward is to work within our respective groups and build on the incredibly strong bond we have built together.”

The board estimates that after costs associated with dissolvement, roughly $68,000 will remain in the UNITY reserves. Board members have voted to evenly divide these funds among the three remaining groups — AAJA, NLGJA and NAJA. Each group has pledged to earmark its share towards multi-cultural projects that continue the missions and goals of UNITY.

“We do not take this decision lightly and the original mission of UNITY weighed heavily on all of us in making this decision,” Justin said. “We are not severing ties, but looking forward with stronger bonds than ever before, and an absolute commitment to diversity in our industry, and that includes building stronger relationships with NAHJ and NABJ with each of our respective groups.”

Justin thanked the hard work and dedication of past and present board members. Any questions can be directed towards Justin through njustin@startribune.com.