Who We Are

Freedom Forum

The Freedom Forum, based in Washington, D.C., is a nonpartisan foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people. The foundation focuses on three priorities: the Newseum, the First Amendment and newsroom diversity.

The Freedom Forum is the main funder of the operations of the Newseum, an interactive museum of news in Washington, D.C.; the First Amendment Center; and the Diversity Institute. The First Amendment Center and the Diversity Institute are housed in the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. The First Amendment Center also has offices in Washington. The Diversity Institute also has offices and operates programs in Washington and at the Al Neuharth Media Center on the University of South Dakota campus in Vermillion.

The Freedom Forum was established in 1991 under the direction of Founder Al Neuharth as successor to a foundation started in 1935 by newspaper publisher Frank E. Gannett. The Freedom Forum is not affiliated with Gannett Co. Its work is supported by income from an endowment of diversified assets.

James C. Duff is the chief executive officer of the Freedom Forum, Newseum and Diversity Institute.

Diversity Institute

The Diversity Institute was established and funded by the Freedom Forum to be a school dedicated to recruiting, training, mentoring and retaining a diverse workforce in the newsrooms of the United States. The Diversity Institute is committed to helping media companies develop a workforce that reflects the multicultural makeup of the communities they serve and was inspired by the challenge from Freedom Forum Founder Al Neuharth: “The First Amendment guarantees a free press. We in the media must make sure it is a fair press.”

The Freedom Forum Diversity Institute, Inc., is a Tennessee public charity corporation with offices, staff, programs and classes at the John Seigenthaler Center in Nashville, at the Al Neuharth Media Center in Vermillion, S.D., and at the Freedom Forum headquarters and Newseum in Washington, D.C.

All Freedom Forum journalism diversity programs are operated by the Diversity Institute. In partnership with Belmont University in Nashville and the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, the Diversity Institute offers undergraduate-level courses for college credit. The institute also runs three journalism internship and scholarship programs, provides mentoring and coaching to rising journalists, and host workshops, conferences and other training programs for journalism students and professionals. The school’s curriculum emphasizes First Amendment responsibilities, ethical and professional practices and teaches story-telling skills needed in multiplatform and multimedia journalism.

The Diversity Institute admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration or its educational policies, scholarships and other school-administered programs.

For more information about the Diversity Institute, contact Gene Policinski, president/coo, at gpolicinski@freedomforum.org or 1207 18th Avenue South, Nashville, TN 37212.