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Vox Media and UM announce new partnership with the American Advertising Federation as part of Breaking Media program

In its second year, the program continues to facilitate entry of underrepresented groups into advertising and media through free industry education, mentorship and bespoke programming

Today, Vox Media, the leading modern media company and UM, the global media agency network of IPG Mediabrands, announced the latest programming update and a new partnership with the American Advertising Federation (AAF), as part of Breaking Media, an education and mentorship program designed to break down barriers in media and entertainment and build bridges for historically underrepresented communities.

Previously called Media 101, the Breaking Media program provides students in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) access to invaluable industry education and networking opportunities in advertising and media. The program is the latest initiative within UM’s campus engagement initiative, CurriculUM, which partners with colleges and universities to attract talent and cultivate the next generation of marketing and advertising leaders. As part of the partnership, the AAF will help make connections between the program and HBCUs.

“Breaking Media is showing the depth of commitment needed to break down systemic barriers in media and advertising, and the AAF is proud to connect Vox Media, UM and our HBCU partners to broaden the network of the students who will shape the industry’s future,” said Ayanna Jackson, EVP, AAF’s Mosaic Center & Education Services. “As the new semester kicks off, I hope others are inspired to use their resources in order to elevate underrepresented talent and build them as the next generation of leaders.”

In its second year, the addition of an on-demand video series will continue to provide insight to students with diverse backgrounds and access to doors historically closed to them. The new semester takes place from February 7 until April 11, 2022, and students can participate in free, nine 90-minute 101-level training sessions designed to educate college students on the media and advertising landscape, hosted by UM and Vox Media business leaders. Examples of programming include learning the fundamentals of the media agency business, portfolio management, the journey from RFP to IO, digital trends, analytics and more.

“We’ve seen great interest, attendance and excitement around our Breaking Media program, and we look forward to building on that momentum as we continue our second semester of programming,” said Jeff Marshall, Chief Diversity Officer, UM. “It is incredibly important that we continue to innovate around reaching and recruiting diverse talent, and our augmented syllabus will create even more opportunities to develop meaningful connections with nextgen leaders.”

The goal of the program is to leave students with knowledge – such as understanding a media brief, how to build a personal narrative, what goes into reporting, and the fundamentals of data tracking – that could give a competitive edge in joining the industry. Successful completion of the course includes a digital badge on LinkedIn, exclusive access to networking events, and other resources. The sessions will be recorded and available on-demand for students to view with the goal of accommodating busy schedules. In the first semester of the program, over 250 students signed up for the courses.

“Correcting for injustices of our times starts with the product and the experience and how it was designed. When systems or programs are built on exclusion of different voices, inequity or don’t foresee the gaps that deeply impact every part of our lives - like the media,” said Chris Clermont, Head of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion at Vox Media. “How things have been made in the past have upheld many facets of systemic oppression — from the content, the context and the environment in which one experiences it. Our goal was to use an inclusive design approach as a way to break media, to reimagine and create accessible opportunities that don’t yet exist. Breaking Media is created for differences.”

“CurriculUM gave me the opportunity to explore different sectors of media I never knew existed. I was most intrigued by the media planning process, and this course gave me the foundation to begin a career in this field.” - Kasandra Ramirez, Associate, Integrated Media and Breaking Media Alum

If you have interest in joining the advertising and media industry, we encourage you to learn more and apply here.

About Vox Media

Vox Media is the leading modern media company, reaching audiences everywhere they are.

Known for editorial properties including Vox, SB Nation, New York Magazine, The Dodo, and NowThis, the company’s portfolio features the most relevant, respected, and engaging editorial properties and voices. The company is also home to award-winning storytelling businesses such as Vox Media Studios and the Vox Media Podcast Network, as well as innovative technologies that support the entire media industry, including the Concert advertising marketplace.

Vox Media proves that quality can scale.

Vox Media’s Corporate Citizenship

Is built on the belief that, as the leading modern media company, it is our responsibility to build a better media industry.

At Vox Media we are committed to building and sustaining a company and an industry that is diverse, inclusive, and safe for our people and our audiences. As a community of journalists and storytellers, business professionals, creators and technologists, we believe it is a moral and business imperative to amplify voices, share our best practices, and give back to our industry and the communities we live and work in.

About UM

UM is a global media agency committed to Futureproofing our clients’ businesses for the now and the next. We leverage the transformational power of rich business analytics and real-time intelligence to maximize growth and activate the full consumer journey across content and connections. Our consultative approach and agile model, rooted in diversity, equity and belonging, drive better business outcomes for brands. As the leading global media network in IPG Mediabrands, UM operates in over 100 countries, with more than 3,000 people innovating on a roster of global clients including Accenture, American Express, ExxonMobil, GoPro, Johnson & Johnson, Levi Strauss & Co, Mattel, Sony and Spotify. For more information, please visit

About the American Advertising Federation (AAF),

Established in 1905, the American Advertising Federation (AAF), acts as the “Unifying Voice for Advertising.” Its membership is comprised of more than 50 corporate members made up of the nation’s leading advertisers, agencies, and media companies; a national network of 150+ local clubs representing 40,000 advertising professionals; and more than 140 college chapters with 4,000 student members. The AAF operates a host of programs and initiatives, including Advertising Day on the Hill, the Advertising Hall of Fame, the Advertising Hall of Achievement, the American Advertising Awards, the National Student Advertising Competition, the Mosaic Awards, the Most Promising Multicultural Students Program and AdCamp for high school students. Follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.