Six students in the Cox Institute’s Journalism Writing Lab will work this semester with students in India to produce multimedia stories published in both countries in the inaugural U.S./India Reporting Project at the University of Georgia.
The project was brought to UGA by Sujoy Dhar and Laura Ungar. Dhar is the founder of India Blooms News Service, which provides content to news outlets across India. Ungar is a medical and science reporter on the global health and science team for The Associated Press.
Two teams of five students — three from the U.S. and two from India on each team — will produce stories about sustainable fashion and financial technology. The partnership aims to link the two countries and cultivate friendship and international perspectives among the 10 students — six in the U.S. and four in India, Dhar and Ungar said.
“You come to know about each other better, because from a distance, we have a lot of ideas about other cultures, other people,” Dhar said. “But when you collaborate and work on this kind of a project, you understand that we all have so much of common ground to kind of share and learn from each other.”
Dawn Sawyer will be working on the financial technology team. Sawyer, a senior journalism major, produced stories last year for The Oglethorpe Echo and The Atlanta-Journal Constitution through Covering Poverty. After covering stories on a local level, Sawyer wanted to strengthen her skill in reporting on different communities and how business affects their everyday lives.
“I thought it was going to be a great opportunity to learn about different cultures and about the other side of the world, and how it relates to business in America as well,” Sawyer said.
The students will be edited by professional journalists and leave the partnership with their stories published in both India and the U.S.
“They’ll walk out with an international clip, which is a pretty cool thing to have on a résumé,” Ungar said. “The international perspective is really important, no matter what career they go into. It’s great to have kind of a wider perspective on life and on all that we share.”
Dhar and Ungar have previously set up U.S./India Reporting Projects at the University of Kentucky and the University of Missouri School of Journalism. This is the first time the program will be run through Covering Poverty, which is a project under the Cox Institute’s Journalism Writing Lab directed by Lori Johnston.
Johnston said she looked for students with prior experience in student or professional media who were ready to strengthen their reporting skills and expand their coverage to an international level. She expects them to leave the project with global clips, new mentors and broader perspectives.
“That cross-cultural relationship I think is going to be incredibly beneficial to students as they are reporting the stories and working with students in India,” Johnston said. “That’s something that will give them a greater sense of the world, and so I feel like it’s both professional and personal development all kind of wrapped into one.”