Nonprofit organization American Documentary, which supports the acclaimed PBS series POV, has hired Erika Dilday as its first Black executive director.
Most recently CEO of the Futuro Media Group, Dilday also becomes executive producer of AmDoc’s POV doc series on PBS and America ReFramed on the WORLD Channel. “It was clear to the Board that Erika’s experience and commitment to independent voices were the perfect fit for AmDoc at this time. She’s a visionary and we believe that, as executive director, she will be a tremendous asset to the organization going forward,” said Margaret Drain, chair of AmDoc’s Board of Directors, in a statement.
Dilday will take the helm at AmDoc in May, and brings past experience as executive director of the Maysles Documentary Center, where she produced Albert Maysle’s final film, Transit. The critically acclaimed POV doc series, first premiering in 1988, is dedicated to highlighting contemporary social issues through a personal lens.
Docs going out under the banner have won numerous Emmys, Peabody Awards and three Oscars. Dilday’s appointment follows around 140 documentary filmmakers signing a March 29 letter to PBS executives that criticized the public broadcaster for being over-reliant on documentaries by Ken Burns, a white filmmaker, while showing a “systemic failure to fulfill a mandate for a diversity of voices.”
Dilday said in her own statement on news of her hire: “Ensuring that diverse voices and authentic narratives are centered as part of the public media landscape was a major reason I pursued a career in this industry in the first place. American Documentary is a place that has, since its founding nearly 35 years ago, elevates these stories. I’m thrilled to be joining an incredible team of creative professionals who passionately pursue the organization’s mission. I can’t think of a better place to call home.”
Dilday has also held management roles at The New York Times, National Geographic Television and CBS. She is a graduate of Harvard College, the Columbia School of Journalism and Columbia Business School.
In 2020 she was a Knight Nieman fellow at Harvard University where she authored a piece for the Nieman Reports on authentic journalism in communities of color. Her latest documentary production project is the film Civil War, a collaboration with director and producer Rachel Boynton.
Dilday is a 2016 recipient of the Columbia Journalism School Alumni Award and a 2017 National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Fellow.