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WKAR’s Julie Sochay Graduates from Public Media Diversity Fellowship Program

Portrait: Julie Sochay

EAST LANSING, MI; June 10, 2022 – WKAR Public Media’s Julie Sochay, senior director of content and communication, is one of thirty-two public media leaders to graduate from the Public Media Diversity Leaders Initiative (PMDLI).

As public media leaders navigate how to best foster diversity and equity in their workplaces and boards while making content inclusive for a wide array of audiences, this program is providing them with tools and perspectives that they can apply in their efforts.

Sochay, along with 31 public media professionals from across the country, was a part of the third class to graduate on June 8 from the PMDLI, a program of the Riley Institute at Furman University. The program is offered in partnership with South Carolina ETV and modeled after the Institute's award-winning South Carolina Diversity Leaders Initiative.

Over the course of five months, participants took part in a highly interactive curriculum comprising scenario analyses and other experiential learning tools that supports public media leaders in their efforts to apply diversity, equity, and inclusion principles to behaviors, systems, and cultures within their organizations.

“I am grateful to the Riley Institute at Furman University for providing this opportunity to the public media community,” said Julie Sochay. “The information and discussions as part of PMDLI were wonderful and allowed us to explore ways to better serve our local communities.”

“Today’s heightened awareness of racial and other inequities in American institutions has magnified and accelerated organizational and stakeholder expectations that public media leaders establish diversity, equity, and inclusion as core values within their organizations,” said Anthony Padgett, president and CEO of South Carolina ETV. “Recognizing that, we are proud to partner with the Riley Institute to offer this unique virtual program to our peers from across the country.”

Graduates of PMDLI,  become Public Media Diversity Fellows and will help identify future program participants. Collectively, they reflect a vast public media ecosystem, representing both television and radio as well as a variety of geographic regions, audiences, affiliate organizations, and diversity dimensions. A fourth PMDLI class will start the program in September.

“The Riley Institute is proud to play a role in connecting a network of public media professionals who are committed to managing, leading, and meeting the needs of increasingly diverse workers, clients, and audiences,” said Dr. Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute. “We look forward to seeing the positive impact this program will have in communities across the country.”

For a full list of graduates and more information about PMDLI, visit furman.edu/public-media-dli.

About the Riley Institute at Furman University:
Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute advances social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond by building leadership for a diverse society, hosting expert speakers to broaden perspectives on critical issues, supporting public education, and creating knowledge through community solutions-focused research. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. Learn more at furman.edu/riley.

About WKAR Public Media:
WKAR Public Media is the Michigan capital region source for award-winning original television and radio, and the best from PBS and NPR. WKAR is part of Michigan State University College of Communication Arts & Sciences and includes WKAR TV, WKAR Radio, wkar.org, WKAR Radio Reading Service, WKAR Family, and WKAR Ready to Learn.

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