Gray Launches Media Training Center at WLBT to Improve Industry Diversity and Train the Next Generation of Media Leaders

JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) – Gray Television, Inc. has announced plans to create the Gray Media Training Center in partnership with WLBT, the top-ranked NBC affiliate in Jackson, Mississippi.

The groundbreaking media education program will prepare students for today’s unique operating environment, while simultaneously improving diversity, equity and inclusion in the media. The center will educate and train students attending colleges and universities in Mississippi, with an emphasis on historically black colleges and universities in the state, namely Jackson State, Alcorn State, Mississippi Valley State, Rust College and Tougaloo College.

Students selected to participate in the Center’s programs will learn current best practices in broadcast and digital journalism. They will also receive hands-on training in production, sales, operations, IT, engineering, coding, and marketing. Training Center fellows will create a weekly public affairs show that will be shot, edited, produced, directed and hosted by students. A newly created position of Media Training Center Operations Manager will oversee the program.

“We want to teach and train today’s students in a real-world environment, so they can become the future leaders of our industry for decades to come,” said Gray’s Executive Chairman and CEO, Hilton H. Howell. “We are excited about this project and the opportunities it will create for students and for our industry.

Gray chose WLBT to host and manage the Center in recognition of the vast changes that have occurred at this station. More than 50 years ago, the FCC revoked the station’s broadcast license because its licensee failed to serve the public interest and specifically failed to serve the black community in the Jackson area.

“We are truly honored to host this training facility,” said WLBT Vice President and General Manager Ted Fortenberry. “Over the past decades, WLBT has been a local institution that affirmatively serves the entire local community. Beginning this year, the WLBT team and resources will be directly involved in expanding media opportunities for Mississippi students and especially for students at HBCUs across the state through immersive training programs. cutting edge right here in Jackson.

The Gray Media Training Center is set to officially launch when it hosts its first batch of internships in conjunction with the start of the fall semester in late August. Gray plans to invest more than $1 million to establish the training center this year.

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