Newhouse to honor Brown Girls Doc Mafia with inaugural Lorraine Branham IDEA Award

Brown Girls Doc Mafia (BGDM) will be honored with the inaugural Lorraine Branham IDEA Award from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications June 9. The award, presented as part of the 15th annual Mirror Awards ceremony, will be accepted by BGDM founder Iyabo Boyd.

Iyabo Boyd Brown Girls Doc Mafia
Iyabo Boyd

BGDM fights inequality in the film industry by advocating for the more than 4,500 women and non-binary Black, Indigenous and other people of color (BIPOC) who are part of it. The organization’s mission is to bolster the creative and professional success of this community and challenge the often marginalizing norms of the documentary field.

“Dean Branham was a champion of diversity at the Newhouse School, and BGDM is a wonderful first recipient of this new award in her name,” says Newhouse dean Mark J. Lodato.

Formed in 2015, BGDM is made up of both emerging and veteran filmmakers from all areas of the industry: writers, directors, producers and cinematographers, as well as other industry professionals like curators, academics, corporate executives and funding administrators. They can be found in 10 countries and more than 20 U.S. states.

The IDEA Award recognizes a media organization that has worked to promote inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility over the course of the previous year. Specifically, the award acknowledges the hiring and development of leadership talent who create change, both to the organizations they oversee and the content they produce. The award was established in honor of late Newhouse dean Lorraine Branham, the first Black woman to serve as dean of the school, who died in April 2019.

“With this award, we wanted to honor Lorraine’s legacy of investing in innovative storytelling, supporting storytellers of color and serving as a role model for women of color, which made BGDM a clear choice for this recognition,” says magazine, news and digital journalism professor and chair Melissa Chessher, who chaired the IDEA Award committee.

About the Mirror Awards

The Mirror Awards are the most important awards for honoring excellence in media industry reporting. They were established by the Newhouse School in 2006 to honor the reporters, editors and teams of writers who hold a mirror to their own industry for the public’s benefit. Finalists in the 2021 competition were announced April 29.

The 2021 Mirror Awards ceremony will be held online Wednesday, June 9, at 7 p.m. ET. Lodato will preside over the ceremony, and Newhouse alumna Michelle Marsh ’05 will serve as master of ceremonies. Six juried journalism awards and the Fred Dressler Leadership Award will be presented in addition to the IDEA Award.