Journalism students complete Cox Institute Mobile News Lab

A group of 19 journalism students completed the Grady College’s Fall 2018 Mobile News Lab with a projects showcase held Monday, Oct. 22.

The Mobile News Lab students experimented with a variety of mobile newsgathering tools and techniques and produced a multi-media story package optimized for mobile platforms. Students learned from Grady faculty and guest speakers before presenting their work during the projects showcase.

The extracurricular program is operated by the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership.  This year’s program was sponsored by the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.

The Fall 2018 participants included: Nicolette Brown, Dori Butler, Mauli Desai, Hannah Echols, Rachel Grace, Sarah Hammond, Donovan Harris, Margaret Holland, Kaley Lefevre, Christina Mattacotta, Kelly Mayes, Charlotte Norsworthy, Brittany Paris, Maddie Ray, Amy Scott, Sydney Shadrix, Alex Travis, Ashlyn Webb and Jessica Wurst.

The Mobile News Lab included smartphone techniques for news photography and videography and best practices for presenting news content in a mobile environment. Keith Herndon, director of the Cox Institute, led the program and was assisted by Journalism department colleagues, Amanda Bright and Mark Shavin.

The students also learned about developments in the news app market from Mellissa Long, the chief journalism officer at Ground. Blake Sabatinelli, the CEO of Newsy, spoke during the certificate ceremony following the project showcase and served as a guest judge along with Bright and Donnie Fetter, executive editor at the Athens Banner-Herald.

Alex Travis shows her project to Blake Sabatinelli. The students were encouraged to create and show their projects on their phones.

“It was really interesting trying to tackle different storytelling elements with just a phone,” said junior Amy Scott. “I can see myself incorporating these tools into my future stories.”

Two student teams were awarded medals based on the judges’ assessment of the projects:

All of the Mobile News Lab projects will be posted soon to GradyNewsource website.

Upon completion of the Mobile News Lab, participants received a certificate of achievement awarded by the program’s 2018 sponsor, the Georgia Association of Broadcasters.

“The Grady Mobile News Lab is set apart as a training program because of its relationships with industry partners. We appreciate the support of the GAB this year to help us bring this experiential learning opportunity to our students,” Herndon said.

Grady Sports Media students mentor high school students in sports broadcast program

The allure of a Friday night for teens and young adults is palpable.

It’s a time to celebrate the end of a long week, hang out with friends and anticipate the weekend ahead. Fridays in the fall also include the social experience that is high school football.

For a group of Cedar Shoals High School students and Grady Sports Media students this fall, Friday nights are an opportunity to come together and dedicate their time toward new skills that could become future careers—sports broadcasting.

The opportunity comes courtesy of “The UGA-Grady High School Sports Broadcast Program.”  Grady Sports Media faculty members created the program after receiving one of the University of Georgia’s New Approaches to Promote Diversity and Inclusion Grants earlier this year. The grants are intended to support the recruitment, retention and success of underrepresented, underserved and first-generation students at UGA.

Cedar Shoals student Jordan Dulcio frames his shot during the football game. Photo: Miranda Daniel

The sports broadcast program pairs high school students with Grady Sports Media students in an intensive training and on-the-job learning experience. Since the beginning of the school year, Grady Sports Media students have traveled to Cedar Shoals a few times a month for after-school training sessions focusing on all parts of sports broadcast journalism, from producing and camera work, to play-by-play announcing, building in-game graphics and tracking game statistics. Friday nights are spent in the stadium press box where the high school students, under the leadership of the college students, practice what they have learned by producing a live broadcast of Cedar Shoals football games.

The dedication that these students have put into the program with the hours of after-school training and the five-hour or more time commitment on Friday nights is the most impressive part of the program according to Marc Ginsberg, Cedar Shoals journalism advisor.

“College students on a Friday night hanging out with a bunch of high school students? That’s awesome. If the Grady Sports students weren’t invested, then my students wouldn’t be invested.”

That is testimony to the early success of the program.

The High School Sports Broadcast Program

“We are grateful that this idea we’ve had in our minds for a while is coming to fruition because of this grant,” said Vicki Michaelis, the John Huland Carmical Chair in Sports Journalism and Society and the director of Grady Sports Media.

“The goal is to make them feel that UGA and Grady College are very accessible for them as they continue down their academic career paths.” — Carlo Finlay, assistant director, Grady Sports Media

All UGA undergraduates are eligible to apply for the six-course Grady Sports Media Certificate program, which launched in 2014. The Grady Sports professors have noticed that students who graduate from resource-rich high schools, many with their own sports broadcast programs, have an edge in experience and overall awareness of possible career paths in sports media. They want to bridge that gap for students from under-resourced and underrepresented communities.  Coupled with the fact that Grady Sports Media educates students for an industry in need of a diverse workforce, they saw an opportunity.

“From a system that’s feeding into our program, to a system that we are feeding into, we saw a real need to have this connection,” Michaelis said.

Michaelis and Carlo Finlay an academic professional and assistant director of Grady Sports Media, are using the grant to develop training modules and to buy a two-camera, high-definition broadcast kit that Cedar Shoals High School will be able to keep.

Journalism students volunteering for the UGA-Grady High School Sports Broadcast Program try out the equipment for the first time. Photo: Vicki Michaelis

They have also enlisted the help of other strong partners such as the NFHS Network, an online platform that broadcasts high school sports nationwide. The Cedar Shoals student broadcasts this fall are being live-streamed on the Grady Sports Media channel on the NFHS Network. The NFHS Network also loaned Cedar Shoals a starter broadcast kit, including a camera, switcher, headsets, microphones and cables, and provided initial equipment training.

Michaelis is planning to apply for external grants and/or seek support from corporations and individual donors in the future, allowing the program to expand to Atlanta and other communities. She decided to pilot test the program at Cedar Shoals High School because “we should serve the community that’s at our doorstep first.”

Finlay sees this program as being a real source of pride for Cedar Shoals and would like to see future events that bring the students on campus. “The goal is to make them feel that UGA and Grady College are very accessible for them as they continue down their academic career paths.”

The High School Students

Anyone who has been around teenagers knows that it can be a challenge to engage them in new activities, but participation at Cedar Shoals has been strong for the UGA-Grady High School Sports Broadcast Program.

“It’s cool to be able to provide them experience where they kind of have to independently problem-solve in real time for an audience,” Marc Ginsberg, journalism advisor, Cedar Shoals High School

When Ginsberg asked for volunteers to participate from his yearbook, newspaper and other broadcast classes, he wanted to make sure he had committed students who were dedicated to the program and would make it a priority. He had about 20 students volunteer.

He divided the group into two production teams, so that they don’t have to work every game and can enjoy the pleasures of rooting for the team from the bleachers.

“They have worked their butts off so far,” Ginsberg admits proudly of his volunteers.

Cedar Shoals students Tristan Lankford and Sachio Goodie work on some play-by-play calls during the football broadcast. Photo: Miranda Daniel

The production teams have to report to the stadium 2-1/2 hours before kickoff, but their responsibilities begin early in the week by researching background on the opponents, writing the scripts for their opens, building graphics and other prep work. The students take turns each week with their assignments.

A genuine interest in media is something that Finlay noticed when he first met the students.

“Some of the students aren’t necessarily crazy sports fans,” he said, “but they’re still doing this because they are excited about a new concept we are offering.”

Ginsberg claims his keys to success have been to “start with an open mind and be flexible at first.” When Michaelis and Finlay first approached him about participating in the program, he was hesitant, but once he was reassured that there would be training and teacher support from Grady Sports Media, he was all in.

“It’s cool to be able to provide them experience where they kind of have to independently problem-solve in real time for an audience,” Ginsberg said of his students.

For Cedar Shoals junior Victor Soto-Rosales, he sees this as an investment in his future. He aspires to attend the University of Georgia and major in journalism or film. He admits the program is tougher than he thought, but it has its advantages.

“It’s definitely worth it,” Soto-Rasales said. “You get to hang out with friends and learn something new.”

It’s a love of journalism that attracted junior Emma Dowling to the sports broadcast program. She gladly gives up her Friday nights to learn something new, including some hard lessons like struggling for an internet connection right before going on the air.

Dowling said it’s challenges like this that teach the biggest lessons: “Sometimes it’s fine that things don’t go perfectly. We need to say to ourselves ‘don’t freak out, breathe and get back on schedule.’”

The Grady Sports Media Students

One of the biggest surprises for most involved with the program is the close connection developing between the high school students and the Grady Sports Media students.

That connection started after the first training session. When the camera operation lessons were done, the high school students started asking Myan Patel and Taylor Maggiore, two of the four Grady Sports Media students working with the Cedar Shoals students, about college.

“They seem to enjoy it as much as we do because they come on Fridays, as well. It’s a really great example for them to set for us, especially because they have the opportunity to help someone else learn something new.”  — Victor Soto-Rasales, student, Cedar Shoals High School

“They were asking questions like ‘What were the best traits in high school that prepared you for college?’ and ‘What’s it like?’” Patel remembers. “Now, we go in there and they know us and they expect us to be there, so it’s almost that we have become integrated into their classroom.”

Carlo Finlay and Myan Patel provide guidance to Cedar Shoals student Trent Dennison during a football broadcast. Photo: Miranda Daniel

Patel and Maggiore are third-year journalism majors and they are each working toward earning  Grady Sports Media certificates. It was their work with the Grady Sports Bureau (which produces local high school sports broadcasts) last fall, and the fact that they are not far removed from their high school years, that made them well-suited for the high school program. Maggiore spent last summer as a UGA orientation leader, so she is prepared to answer questions about college, and the Cedar Shoals students enjoy talking with Patel about his internship last summer doing play-by-play announcing and beat writing for collegiate baseball.

“It’s really invaluable to see someone doing something that’s exciting and fun who is not that much older than you,” said Michaelis of the dynamic between her students and the Cedar Shoals students.

The Grady Sports Media students, with guidance from Michaelis and Finlay, have conducted all the training sessions with the students and they are there to answer questions and provide moral support during the football games.

“To be a high schooler and to be able to fully set up a production, execute it and break it down is more than most high schoolers could dream of,” Maggiore said of her experience working with the Cedar Shoals students over the past few months. “’From the beginning, they all came prepared and asked all the right questions. They were very professional and had great ideas. That was pretty satisfying from day one when they didn’t know what this thing was and now they are executing a full game. It’s been awesome.”

Taylor Maggiore, a Grady Sports Media student, works with Cedar Shoals students Daveon Montgomery and Pace Barkdoll. Photo: Vicki Michaelis

According to Soto-Rasales, the time the Cedar Shoals students get to spend with the Grady Sports Media students is one of his favorite parts of the program.

“They are really cool,” Soto-Rasales said. “They seem to enjoy it as much as we do because they come on Fridays, as well. It’s a really great example for them to set for us, especially because they have the opportunity to help someone else learn something new. I think it’s really cool they are doing that.”

Patel says the expectation of the future of the program is the biggest reason he is involved.

“It will be really cool to see the program grow,” Patel said. “I think we’ve got them thinking down paths that they might not have necessarily been thinking about. The world in the realm of sports media and broadcasting might not have been something they thought about or had access to before this, but if 10 years from now you can see that program become a feeder to the program at Grady or anywhere else, I think that would be really, really cool.”

Hammel Represented Grady Journalism as a 2018 NNA Foundation Fellowship

John Hammel, a fourth-year journalism major, represented Grady College in the National Newspaper Association Foundation’s 2018 News Fellows Program.

In its sixth year, the News Fellow program featured seven top journalism students from around the country who were nominated by their state press associations to participate during NNA’s Community Newspaper Leadership Summit held in Washington, D.C., March 14-15.

This year, the topic was how do the major political parties find ways to work together: “Red State, Blue State; What a State of Affairs!” The students had the opportunity to meet with policymakers, policy influencers and lawmakers during their time in the city. Hammel, for example, interviewed Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson and Rep. Rob Woodall.

Hammel’s work during the fellowship led to an article recently published in the Red & Black student newspaper.

“Being a National Newspaper Association Foundation Fellow and traveling to Washington was an amazing experience. I had the opportunity to meet some great student journalists from other parts of the country and to interview legislators. It was an honor to represent Grady in our nation’s capital,” Hammel said. “I was able to speak to our representatives on some of today’s most pressing and contentious issues, including gun control, which is the focus of my story. After working for The Red & Black in various roles for most of my time here at UGA I’m extremely proud that the last story I have published while an undergrad at Grady will be with The Red & Black.”

Hammel, who is from Lawrenceville, Georgia, was nominated for the program by the Georgia Press Association and sponsored by Grady’s James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership.

“The News Fellow program is a wonderful training opportunity for promising journalism students and we are extremely happy to work with the Georgia Press Association and the NNA to see that students such as John get to participate,” said Keith Herndon, director of the Cox Institute. “John represents our third NNA Fellow in six years and we look forward to supporting future Grady students who qualify for this program.”

Lauren McDonald, now a reporter at The Brunswick News, was Grady’s NNA Fellow in 2016 and Kelsey Kent, a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas Law School, was Grady’s NNA Fellow in 2013.

The program provided the student with a full schedule. On their first day, the students had a news briefing with Diane Randall, executive secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation at the group’s headquarters. After that, they met with Donna Murphy from Better Angles, a citizen’s group focused on facilitating communication across political differences. The next day, the students traveled to the Newseum for a briefing by Jan Neuharth, chair and chief executive officer of the Freedom Forum, and for a tour of the Newseum by Shelby Coffey III, vice chair of the Newseum.

After the tour, the students went over to Capitol Hill for their scheduled visits with their representatives or their staffs. Later in the day, they attended a briefing by Reps. David Trott, R-MI and Debbie Dingell, D-MI, at The Capitol Club. Once the briefing concluded, they returned to their congressional visits. That evening, the students gathered at the National Press Club for dinner and to hear the summit’s keynote speaker—Lally Weymouth, senior associate editor of the Washington Post, and the daughter of former Washington Post publishers Donald Graham and Katherine Graham.

The next day, the students made their way to the Gallup building for a briefing about data on how and where the nation is split but also on issues where it seems more united.

They finished their time in Washington with a lunch meeting with the NNA board to talk about their experiences with the News Fellows Program.

Stan Schwartz of the NNA contributed material for this story.

Norsworthy named to the ONA Student Newsroom for fall conference

Charlotte Norsworthy, a senior journalism major at Grady College, has been selected as one of 20 Newsroom and Innovation Lab students for the 2018 Online News Association Conference and Awards Ceremony.

The Student Newsroom and Innovation Lab immerses undergraduate and graduate college students in a digital media environment by providing hands-on experience during the three-day ONA conference held in Austin, Texas, in September.

Norsworthy successfully completed her undergraduate thesis in virtual reality journalism in December 2017.

Norsworthy has served as an investigative reporter, city news editor and news editor for The Red & Black newspaper. She has also served as president of the Online News Association and Society of Professional Journalists student chapters. This summer, Norsworthy has interned for NPR’s business news desk as a UGA Honors D.C. Program Scholar. She has served as an Innovation Fellow for the Cox Institute for the past year and will continue her fellowship this school year as the host of the podcast, “The Lead.”

Supported for the ninth year by Google News Initiative, the students will produce content and tools for the ONA18 Student Newsroom website before and during the conference under the personal guidance of professional mentors.

As part of the application, students and mentors were asked what they would like to implement as part of their role in the Student Newsroom and Innovation Lab. This innovation ranged from unexpected story ideas, to creative storytelling techniques, to new tools built by participants themselves — these are ideas that live at the intersection of content and product.

Students get the chance to attend conference programming led by experts in digital journalism, network with attendees and acquire and flex new digital media skills. All expenses — lodging, travel and registration fees — are paid.

A complete list of students selected for this honor can be viewed on the ONA conference website.

Grady Sports Media students work 2018 Winter Olympic Games

Twenty-three days, 90 nations, 102 events and 15 sports made up this year’s Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. In the midst of the history-making moments, numerous surprises and inspiring action were two students from the Grady Sports Media certificate program, Emily Giambalvo and Cat Hendrick, experiencing the Games in a way few can relate.

After a competitive selection process, Giambalvo and Hendrick were selected by the United States Olympic Committee to report on the games for the USOC’s various information channels including its website, TeamUSA.org.

Cat Hendrick and Emily Giambalvo at the opening of the figure skating events. (Courtesy of Cat Hendrick)

“It was the best, longest, most trying and amazing experience of my life,” Hendrick, a second-year journalism major, reflected. “Every emotion you could possibly feel, it was in there. But, overall I just feel so lucky that we got to experience something that most sports reporters go their whole lives without experiencing.”

Giambalvo, a fourth-year management information systems major, agreed. “Overall, it was really awesome and it was such a cool environment to be in a worldwide setting that has a ton of chaos and a ton of exciting things with journalists from all over. I got to see and learn about a lot of new sports and cover really cool moments where history was being made.”

Over the course of three weeks, both Giambalvo and Hendrick worked under tight deadlines each producing more than 20 stories covering the different mountain and snow sports. These sports ranged from ice skating to snowboarding, hockey, speed skating, luge, bobsledding and many more. It was a chaotic and exhilarating environment where they not only worked closely with athletes but also with seasoned journalists.

“I was way more excited to meet journalists than athletes,” Giambalvo admitted.

Throughout this experience, both Giambalvo and Hendrick’s days were filled with traveling to the different sports venues, interviewing athletes and attending press conferences, working in the main press center and writing daily articles. It was not an easy task and each relied on the skills they acquired from their Grady Sports Media classes.

“Considering the fact that a year-and-a-half ago, I have never written a sports story, Grady Sports has helped me a lot,” Hendrick said. “The sports media certificate favors a trial-by-fire approach, but that has made all the difference in the world. I have Grady to thank for everything, because I was clueless a year-and-a-half ago. It wasn’t easy, but the professors care so much and have gone out of their way to help us.”

This opportunity was made possible with the support of Vicki Michaelis, John Huland Carmical Chair in Sports Journalism & Society and director of Grady Sports. Michaelis was the lead Olympic reporter for USA Today from 2000-2012 and her relationship with the USOC opened the door for students to attend.

 To view a complete collection of the features that Giambalvo and Hendrick wrote at the Olympic Games, please see Grady Sports Media students cover Olympic Games

While Michaelis was a valuable resource and pushed them “to find stories outside of the easy scope,” the Olympics was not without its challenges. Both Giambalvo and Hendrick battled freezing cold temperatures and the pressure to consistently crank out creative stories.

“Any journalist can feel good about writing a story in one day, but after getting into the 14th consecutive day writing a story, it was challenging,” Giambalvo said. “There is no way for [Grady Sports] to teach you every situation, but it can give you the confidence that no matter what the situation is, I can handle it.”

The most challenging part was keeping our stamina up,” Hendrick echoed. “I was nervous going into the Olympics as a first-time writer, but I just had to trust my training. Grady gave me everything that I needed to know, it was just a matter of executing at that point, but I had all the tools that I needed.”

Emily Giambalvo interviewing an Olympic athlete. (Courtesy of Emily).

By the end of the games, both Giambalvo and Hendrick walked away with countless memories, stories and experiences.

Giambalvo said she most enjoyed watching figure skating, and covering the U.S. gold medal curling game. “The curling gold medal game, was the last event I covered and the last story I wrote. The overall significance of what it meant for the sport and the athletes made it the perfect story. It was a nice way to end it.”

“You see the Olympics through a certain lens your entire life, so to actually be there behind the scenes and see all the work that goes into every single clip was really fascinating,” Hendrick concluded. “I’ve read a thousand stories in my life, but to be in the press conference and see the answers to the question I’ve asked on CNN, Fox and ESPN was really neat. This was literally the Olympics of sports journalism. I am super grateful to Professor Michaelis and the rest of the sports media certificate for working so hard to get us the opportunity of a lifetime.”