The Howard Stirk Holdings Journalism Foundation and Coastal Carolina University announced Friday an initial commitment of $50,000 to sponsor 14 undergraduate students in the Armstrong Williams Media Interns program.
"This partnership with Coastal Carolina University represents a major commitment to strengthen and expand opportunities for young people that are so critical to our nation’s future," said Armstrong Williams, CEO of Howard Stirk Holdings.
Williams, owner of local broadcast television station WWMB CW21 in Myrtle Beach — the largest black-owned television broadcaster in the U.S. — said the undergraduate program will help advance the FCC and President Barack Obama’s goals of increasing minority ownership and viewpoint diversity in the media.
In addition to providing internships for 14 undergraduates at the television station, the program funding will also expand the academic course offerings at Coastal Carolina University to include a concentration in journalism.
"It will enable us to continue in the great tradition of South Carolina State Senator Clementa Pinkney, who used his position of influence to create countless opportunities for young people in our state," Williams continued, referring to the senior pastor at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. in Charleston who was recently slain in a mass shooting.
"We want to pick up where he left off and do our part to cement a legacy of progress by creating opportunities for young people who have traditionally been excluded from the media industry."
"I am especially grateful that my friend and colleague David Smith, CEO of Sinclair Broadcasting, has joined in this effort by pledging a further $100,000 for ongoing efforts to develop media talent across our television broadcasting footprint, which now constitutes local broadcast stations in five markets," Williams continued.
"With commitments from mainstream corporate leaders like David Smith, as well as C Boyden Gray who sits on the board of the newly formed Howard Stirk Journalism Foundation, we are assured of having broad industry support for this noble endeavor. Our other board members, including famed journalist Juan Williams, former NBA superstar and Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, and media lawyer Colby May, bring invaluable talents, relationships and perspectives that will enable us to provide world-class programming and open doors at the highest levels in media."
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