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AAAS and EurekAlert! Spread the Word at Unity 2004 Convention
As 7,500 journalists of color gather in Washington D.C. this week for a historic conference, they will find AAAS there to meet them.
Judy Kass, director of AAAS's Public Understanding of Science program, and Jeffrey Mervis, deputy news editor at the journal Science, will host a Saturday luncheon for about 30 undergraduate journalism educators to discuss the new minority internship program at the journal Science. The fellowship program is funded by AAAS's William T. Golden Fund for Program Innovation.
The luncheon also will feature a panel, "Research: 32 Years After Tuskegee." The panel will focus on a federal experiment that promised free syphilis treatment to 400 African-American men in Tuskegee, in Macon County, Alabama, but which secretly withheld the promised treatment. The "Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male" lasted from 1932 to 1972, causing enormous suffering and death among its victims. It ranks as one of the most shameful episodes in the history of American medical research.
The slated panelists are Dr. Carl Bell, president and CEO of the Community Mental Health Council and Foundation in Chicago; Charmaine Royal, assistant professor and investigator in the GenEthics Unit of the National Human Genome Center at the Howard University College of Medicine; and Dr. Max Gomez, science and medical reporter for WNBC-TV in New York.
Among other AAAS activities at Unity 2004, its Education and Human Resources staff has a an information booth; EHR is involved with numerous studies and projects to increase diversity in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The EurekAlert! news service managed by AAAS also has a booth at Unity 2004. EurekAlert! is the premier service of its kind in the world, a site where reporters, editors, teachers, students and others come for the latest news in science and engineering fields. Nearly 5,000 reporters are registered52 percent of them outside the United Statesand the site logs 540,000 public visitors per month.
Unity 2004 is believed to be the largest single gathering of American journalists ever. Unity is a national alliance comprised of the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association.
The alliance works toward two principle goals: to promote improvements in journalism education and recruitment so that American newsrooms become more diverse, and to focus attention on issues that affect the accuracy and fairness of news coverage.
President George W. Bush, Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell are among those scheduled to speak at the conference.
Edward W. Lempinen
5 August 2004