PMJA Board President Shula Neuman announced today that she will resign her position with the organization in order to focus on issues within St. Louis Public Radio. Her resignation is effective immediately.
As public media continues its important self-examination on how to elevate diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion in our system, Public Media Journalists Association continues its commitment to be an agent of positive change. Many local stations are having challenging and difficult internal conversations with the goal of ending cultures of systemic racism and exclusion. St. Louis Public Radio is one of those stations and their Executive Editor Shula Neuman also serves as PMJA’s Board President. In order to focus on the important work happening within St. Louis Public Radio, Neuman is leaving PMJA.
“This has been a humbling and thought-provoking experience for me,” said Shula Neuman. “Despite my efforts to educate myself about the problems of white supremacy, I still failed to recognize how my own actions and words have adversely impacted the journalists of color in my newsroom. I need to step away from my obligations to PMJA so I can focus on my obligations to STLPR. I have more learning and improving to do. In the meantime, I remain committed to PMJA and to the culture of journalism … something I hope we all keep in mind as we hear and learn more about the problems in public media.”
“I am grateful to Shula for her contributions to PMJA and understand that she must turn her full attention to her station,” said PMJA Executive Director Terry Gildea. “Our system is facing significant challenges surrounding systemic racism. PMJA is and will continue to be an organization that contributes to efforts to strengthen diversity, equity, accessibility and inclusion in public media. We support the difficult and necessary conversations occurring at many stations.
”In June, the PMJA board and staff issued a statement on building a more inclusive public media system. It acknowledges the challenges that exist and includes goals the organization is working toward to meet these challenges. That statement can be found here.
Shula Neuman was elected to the PMJA board as the organization’s large station representative in 2019. In June of this year, she was elected president. Per the procedures outlined in the organization’s bylaws, the PMJA board will begin the process of appointing a new president. That person will serve in the post until the next regularly-scheduled election - currently expected to be at the annual conference in 2021. At that time, members will elect a president who will fulfill the unexpired term left open by Neuman’s resignation.