Diverse and Inclusive: News of the Heartland, a joint initiative led by NLGJA and the Asian American Journalists Association (AAJA) to increase media coverage of minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities in Nebraska, is funded by a one-year $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation 

As part of the program, NLGJA and AAJA are collaborating with Nebraska news outlets and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) College of Journalism to produce original local, regional and national content on key issues faced by these communities. In addition, community members will receive training and needed tools to learn how to draft opinion pieces, including a sourcebook for Nebraska journalists that will help guide production of lasting and inclusive coverage.

Bobby Caina Calvan, a former national political writer in the Boston Globe’s Washington bureau, assumes the lead role as reporter for the Heartland Project. Calvan will be based at the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications. He will work with journalism faculty and students to produce stories and multimedia projects that involve LGBT communities and communities of color, focusing on four topic areas: access to health care, economic recovery, immigration and domestic violence.

Prior to his work with the Heartland Project, Calvan reported for the Boston Globe focusing on national political stories involving high-profile elected officials such as Sen. John Kerry, Sen. Scott Brown and Rep. Barney Frank. He reported from 13 states – from Colorado to Maine – as part of his coverage of the 2012 presidential elections. As a foreign reporting fellow for the International Center for Journalists, he traveled to Laos to report on the millions of unexploded U.S. bombs that still menace the country. At the Sacramento Bee, he wrote about the policy, politics and human consequences of health care. He also covered the war in Iraq for McClatchy Newspapers during the height of violence.