The Scripps Howard Foundation has awarded a grant to the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership for a poverty reporting initiative.
The grant of $7,500 will fund the Cox Institute’s plans to use reporting on poverty as the topic for its student projects in the Fall 2020 Journalism Innovation Lab.
“The coverage of poverty and underserved communities touches communities and news organizations across the country. This program can provide students with meaningful experiences, lead to excellent journalism, and serve as a model and resource,” said Dr. Battinto L. Batts Jr., the Director of Journalism Strategies with the Scripps Howard Foundation.
Dr. Keith Herndon, Director of the Cox Institute, explained the funding from the Scripps Howard Foundation provides a new path for continuing a Covering Poverty online initiative that began more than a decade ago.
The work to update content, create original new content and relaunch the Covering Poverty resources will be done by a team of six journalism students under the direction of Lori Johnston, a lecturer in the Journalism Department.
“I look forward to this tremendous opportunity to engage motivated, creative and talented journalism students who will explore innovative multimedia approaches, newsgathering techniques and storytelling on a meaningful real-world project,” Johnston said. “With the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 election and social issues, there has never been a better time to equip journalists to report about underserved communities.”
The students will be selected for the Journalism Innovation Lab through faculty nominations early in the Fall semester. The selected students will receive Cox Innovation Fellowship scholarships for their participation in the program.
The original Covering Poverty project launched as a website in 2009. It was created with a grant awarded in 2008 by the University of Georgia Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, sponsored by the UGA Research Foundation. John Greenman, professor of journalism, emeritus, and Diane Murray, Director of Alumni Relations and Outreach, directed the program. Upon Greenman’s retirement in 2015, Murray continued to direct the program. Carolyn Crist (ABJ 09, MA ’14) started with the project as an undergraduate honors student and later was administrator of the website.
Since its inception, Covering Poverty provided reporting resources to more than 500 journalists annually who were covering poverty and related stories for news media organizations ranging from local newspapers to network television.
“We are very appreciative of the Scripps Howard Foundation for recognizing the importance of this resource and for providing the funds needed to continue it in a meaningful way,” Herndon said. “We are eager for our talented students under Lori Johnston’s leadership to once again provide this resource for our industry peers.”
Johnston also assisted the Cox Institute with the grant application process, which was led by Matt Pruitt, Associate Director of Foundation Relations in UGA’s Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations.