MU alum donates $1 million for journalism education on LGBTQ issues

2 years 7 months 3 weeks ago Friday, April 24 2015 Apr 24, 2015 Friday, April 24, 2015 3:19:00 PM CDT April 24, 2015 in News
By: Phil Bergman, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - An MU alum donated a $1 million estate gift to support journalism education and research in regards to the advancement of the LGBTQ community. 

Timothy Blair, an alumnus of the MU School of Journalism, gave the donation to his alma mater in order to help educate students on an issue that's been extremely important to him. 

"Examining journalism as a force of social change in our democracy is an essential academic pursuit," Blair said. "I don't think there's anybody that can do it better than the Missouri School of Journalism. They can tell that story and I think there's a story to tell." 

The donation, which is the first of its kind, will help to make journalists more aware of issues in regards to covering the LGBTQ community. 

"This donation is going to give students the tools to actively cover our community and I think it's really important that people see the real-life stories that we have to tell," said Struby Struble, Coordinator of MU's LGBTQ Resource Center. "Journalism is able to give those real examples and tell those true stories and by having the tools and the language to tell the stories accurately, journalists could really help break down the stereotypes of the LGBT community." 

According to a press release from MU, Blair's gift will create the Timothy D. Blair Fund for LGBTQ Coverage in Journalism. The fund will support the faculty and students of the MU School of Journalism in the pursuit of understanding the media's role in shaping perceptions about gender stereotypes, HIV/AIDS as a force of rapid social chance, the advancement of LGBT civil rights within the context of same sex marriage, and the integration and acceptance of gay people and families into the fabric of American life. 

April also marks Pride Month at MU, a time where the LGBTQ community brings up issues regarding the community and ways in which the university does a good job promoting LGBTQ issues. While this donation did not have to do with April being Pride Month, Struble said this donation is still important for the goals of this month. 

"Because of pride month we've seen a lot of journalists covering our community and we've seen some of the wholes where they aren't getting that training quite yet," Struble said. "I think having a targeted-specific training and is going to make all this coverage that much better."

[Editor's note: This story has been updated to fix the misspelling of "education."]

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