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K-State Today

August 10, 2016

Journalism and mass communications professor Kim Baltrip receives Knight Multicultural Award at national conference

Submitted by Louise Benjamin

Journalism professor Kimetris Baltrip received the 2016 Robert Knight Multicultural Recruitment Award from the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, or AEJMC

The award recognizes outstanding efforts to attract high school minority students to journalism and mass communications. Created in 1987, the award is presented annually to one organization or person by the Scholastic Journalism and Minorities and Communications divisions of AEJMC. The association presented the honor to Baltrip at an awards luncheon at its annual conference Aug. 4-7 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

"I am incredibly humbled by this national recognition. I didn't expect it, so I deeply appreciate that AEJMC has richly validated the time and effort I've put toward promoting diversity throughout my years at K-State," Baltrip said.

"We are thrilled that Kim is this year's recipient of the Robert P. Knight Multicultural Award," said Birgit Wassmuth, director of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communications. "It is a high-profile, prestigious award that recognizes academics with a commitment to diversity in scholastic journalism. Most deserving!"

Baltrip was the first female racial minority to serve as newspaper adviser for Student Publications Inc., which is now the Collegian Media Group. During her four-year tenure as adviser, K-State's Collegian newspaper gained its first Asian-American and African-American editors-in-chief, who were both women, and the culture of acceptance she helped to create later led to the newspaper hiring its first Indian male and African-American male top editors.

Although she has shown leadership and made a number of contributions in promoting diversity in higher education, Baltrip's award specifically recognizes her additional service beyond the university to reach middle and high school students. Earlier this year, she attended Career Jumping, an annual event sponsored by Prep-KC, a college preparation initiative for urban students in Kansas City. There, she introduced ninth-graders to career paths in journalism and mass communications.

In April, she presented a session, "Diversity decisions on deadline," in Los Angeles, California, at the national high school journalism convention sponsored by the Journalism Education Association.

"I can't reiterate enough what a big deal this is. The previous winners list reads like a who's who of people and institutions that have made a tangible impact on diversity in journalism programs around the country… This is an enormous honor for Kim and the school, but also a great testament to the work she does to recruit and nurture all of our students," wrote Kelly Furnas, immediate past Journalism Education Association executive director and a former journalism colleague.

Baltrip has been at K-State for 11 years and has been a featured speaker in events for diverse students at Manhattan High School, the Larry Dixon Center for Innovative Studies in Junction City and Highland Park High School in Topeka. She also established a collaboration that allowed students in Upward Bound, a federally funded educational enhancement program for economically and educationally disadvantaged high school students, to work alongside student journalists during a Flint Hills Publications Workshop, where she also helped to develop a "Diversity Discovery" module for underrepresented students in grades 6-8.

Baltrip came to K-State from the New York Times. She earned her bachelor's degree in mass communications from Prairie View A&M University, and her master's degree in mass communications and doctoral degree in higher education administration from the University of Akron.   

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