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CCOM Symposium

Diversity In the Media is Important But It Is Not Enough

Tuesday, February 28  |  5:00–7:00 PM  |  Johnson Room  |  BCR Credit

As a producer and editor for CNN’s health, medical and wellness unit and a writer/producer for CNN.com Jen Christensen writes and produces stories and interactives for the web and helps manage the page and develop strategy for social media. As an editor she also helps shape the editorial direction of the unit vetting medical studies, doing in-depth data analysis and creating futures planning documents. She also works as a television producer creating segments and has worked on documentaries for Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Elizabeth Cohen.

Christensen has earned the highest awards in broadcasting –the Peabody and DuPont, producing Christiane Amanpour’s God’s (Jewish) Warriors a documentary series she helped create while working in the Middle East that covered fundamentalism in the Abrahamic faiths that the New York Times review called “ambitious” and “compelling,” and it was at the time the most viewed documentary in CNN history. For that documentary she produced interviews with two presidents and two Nobel Prize winners. She also produced several other award-winning documentaries including: MLK’s Words That Changed a Nation in which she got to hold the actual copy of the “I Have a Dream” speech that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave at the March on Washington; in Soledad O’Brien’s Black in America she wrote scripts and produced interviews with all the remaining leaders from Dr. King’s inner circle and flew all around the world to unearth clues never before known about the civil rights leaders assassination; in Obama Revealed she wrote the scripts and produced interviews with the future president Barack Obama and nearly all his family members and many in his inner circle. She’s won writing and features awards for her reporting work with CNN.com. She’s also participated in several highly selective leadership training programs including   Leadership Atlanta (class of 2016) and KEYS at Turner (2009) and was inducted into the Lyons Township Hall of Fame (2009). In her spare time, she has freelanced as a reporter and photographer for the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the Advocate Magazine and others.

Prior to CNN, Christensen ran WSOC-TV (Charlotte) and WTVQ-TV’s (Lexington) investigative units, she worked as a line producer at WTVQ and WXIN (Indianapolis) and also managed WXIN-TV’s weekend newsroom. Prior to journalism, Christensen was a public policy analyst at Chicago’s Board of Elections and at NATO (London) working on nuclear non-proliferation issues. She’s co-author on books Women Public Speakers (Greenwood Press) and Women Confronting Retirement (Rutgers Press).

Since 2013, she has served as the national board president of NLGJA, the Association of LGBTQ Journalists, in which she guides the direction of the organization and is invited to speak all around the world to talk about the importance of diversity and inclusion. She also served as NLGJA's interim director (2014), vice president for broadcast (2009-2013), and was on the board of directors (2001-2002, 2004-2009). She was president of the Georgia (2003-2004) and Carolinas chapters (2000-2001), and was the founding president of the Kentucky chapter (1998-2000). She launched and managed NLGJA’s national mentorship program for students and professionals and continues to be the program chair that designs the organization’s annual convention. She also serves on the Unity, Journalists of Diversity Board in which she continues to help newsrooms around the country better understand how they can create more inclusive newsrooms in which people of diverse backgrounds can thrive and just cycled off the board for the Girls Rock Camp ATL.

Christensen graduated from Butler University with a degree in Radio/TV and studied at London School of Economics. Jen received the Robert Todd Duncan Alumni Achievement Award by the Butler University Alumni Association in 2016. She is a past board member of the Butler University Alumni Association.