The Cox Institute, as part of its enhanced mission into journalism innovation, launched a mobile news lab for selected journalism students during the 2014 Fall Semester. This initiative provided students training in the latest mobile newsgathering and storytelling techniques and allowed them to experiment through collaborative projects hosted by leading media organizations. Our initial partners included The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CNN, LSN Mobile and Vert Mobile. We worked with Louis Gump, president of LSN Mobile, as our advisory board chair, to incorporate our efforts into two initiatives of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce (higher education and mobile workforce development). The initial pilot program was a semester-long extracurricular activity, but we are evolving the offering into an academic program over time as we expand our industry partnerships and the specific skills needed by news outlets are better understood.
We are using “Mobile ReFLEx” to describe the undertaking. The acronym, with credit to Mark Johnson, senior instructor of photojournalism, means Research, Facilitate, Learn and Experiment. The Cox Institute will RESEARCH the skills our students need by collaborating with industry partners during a discovery process. We will FACILITATE instruction using qualified Grady faculty, industry practitioners and professional training programs. Our students will LEARN the required techniques and EXPERIMENT with real-world projects developed by our news media partners and our mobile advertising and marketing partners.
We believe this will lead to deep relationships between the Cox Institute and its partners, provide our students with exposure to industry leaders and create applied research opportunities based on the successes and failures of our collaborative mobile news experiments.