Nikole Hannah-Jones, an award-winning journalist responsible for the stellar The 1619 Project for the New York Times, was on track to join the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s faculty, seeking tenure in the process. After haggling with the university, Hannah-Jones has elected to go with famed HBCU Howard University and has received tenure to boot.
Hannah-Jones was a guest on CBS This Morning with host Gayle King on Tuesday (July 6) where she made her first interview stating that she will be joining Howard as the Nikole Hannah-Jones as the inaugural Knight Chair in Race and Journalism. Joining Hannah-Jones at the Washington, D.C. establishment is author and MacArthur Fellow Ta-Nehisi Coates and the pair will help form the Center for Journalism and Democracy at the school.
“I’ve decided to decline the offer of tenure. I will not be teaching on the faculty of the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. It was a very difficult decision. Not a decision I wanted to make,” Hannah-Jones said to King during the chat.
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“This was a position that since the 1980’s came with tenure. The Knight Chairs are designed for professional journalists, who when working in the field, to come into academia. And every other chair before me who also happened to be White received that position with tenure… I went through the tenure process and I received the unanimous approval of the faculty to be granted tenure,” Hannah-Jones said. “To be denied it and to only have that vote occur on the last possible day, at the last possible moment, after threat of legal action, after weeks of protest, after it became a national scandal, it’s just not something that I want anymore.”
Hannah-Jones helped to raise $15 million for the new center, which she says will be aimed at training up-and-coming journalists and also comes with donations from the MacArthur Foundation.
It was thought that Hannah-Jones would join UNC as that was her Alma mater but given the resistance from the likes of Walter Hussman Jr. who founded the school at UNC, along with the treatment of students demonstrating in support of Hannah-Jones, her decision was essentially made easier.
Check out the interview with Nikole Hannah-Jones below. We offer our warmest regards and cannot wait to see what great minds emerge from the new venture.