Cox Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management & Leadership
Cox Institute for Journalism
Innovation, Management & Leadership
About The Cox Institute
The James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership at the Grady College prepares students and professionals for leadership roles in the news media. By sponsoring intensive training programs and funding applied research, the Cox Institute is at the forefront of addressing the strategic challenges faced by contemporary news organizations.
The Lead Podcast
How to get ahead in the news industry, told by the people who did. Hosted by Jacqueline GaNun and executive produced by Charlotte Norsworthy for the Cox Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management & Leadership at the University of Georgia.
Faculty and Staff
Department Head, Associate Professor
ABOUT Dr. Jonathan Peters is the head of the Department of Journalism and holds a faculty appointment in the School of Law. He teaches and researches media law and policy. […]
William S. Morris Chair in News Strategy and Management; Executive Director, James M. Cox Jr. Institute and Professor of Practice in Journalism
About: Dr. Herndon teaches the introductory course Media, News and Consumers, Business of News, Financial Journalism and Food Journalism as a special topics course and as independent study. He holds […]
Senior Academic Professional; Director, Cox Institute Journalism Innovation Lab
ABOUT Amanda Bright teaches capstone journalism and news literacy classes and digital design. She serves as the managing editor for Newsource’s digital products and is the instructor and assistant editor for The Oglethorpe […]
Lecturer; Director, Cox Institute Journalism Writing Lab
About: Lori Johnston teaches a variety of journalism classes, including reporting and writing across platforms, religion reporting, home and garden reporting, critical writing, feature writing and investigative reporting. View Curriculum Vitae […]
Charlotte Norsworthy Varnum
Part-time Instructor; program coordinator, News Literacy Certificate
Charlotte Norsworthy Varnum (ABJ ’19, MA ’20) is a part-time instructor at Grady College and serves as program coordinator for the Cox Institute’s News Literacy Certificate. Varnum is also executive […]
Anettra Mapp serves as Business Manager for Grady College Journalism Department, Cox Insititute, Carmical and Carter chair programs as well as Grants Coordinator for the college. Anettra is a double […]
Conrad fink’s legacy
The Cox Institute was established in 1990 by the late Conrad Fink, a legendary journalism professor in the Grady College. It is named for the late James M. Cox Jr., who headed Cox Enterprises and Cox Broadcasting Corporation from 1957 until 1974.
A beloved professor for 30 years following a successful career as an international journalist and news executive, Fink taught generations of journalism students how to report the news and manage journalism businesses ethically, responsibly and profitably. A no-nonsense professor with formidable bushy eyebrows, Fink trained students to write for and manage news companies from Amarillo, Texas, to London and Beijing.
Fink, who held the William S. Morris Chair in Newspaper Strategy and Management at Grady College, created a unique newspaper management curriculum, developed a residence program for visiting professional journalists and recently spearheaded the creation of an endowed program in sports journalism.
“Grady College mourns the passing of Conrad Fink,” said E. Culpepper Clark, then dean of the UGA Grady College. “Conrad was a lion of journalism, respected and beloved by generations of students, alumni, colleagues and media leaders. He reported during the golden age of newspapers but also embraced the brave new world of digital journalism. He was a citizen of the world with intense devotion to every student who sat across a table from him.”
Fink was appointed professor at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication in 1983. In 1990 he became the director of the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Newspaper Management Studies. He was named William S. Morris Professor of Newspaper Strategy and Management in 1995 and held the Morris Chair at his death.
- Dr. Amanda Bright named the Director of the Journalism Innovation Lab.
- Lori Johnston named the Director of the Journalism Writing Lab.
- Cox Institute relaunches the Covering Poverty toolkit at CoveringPoverty.uga.edu.
- Nick Chiles, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and best-selling author, was named as the Industry Fellow for 2020.
- An eBook featuring excerpts of interviews from The Lead podcast was released by Kendall Hunt Publishing.
- The Journalism Writing Lab launched with Nick Chiles, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist, as its featured instructor.
- Five journalism students served as the inaugural group of Morris Media Fellows.
- Cox Institute recognized its inaugural class of Levin Leaders.
- Cox Institute Director named William S. Morris Chair in News Strategy and Management.
- The Cox Institute Leaders program became the Levin Leaders initiative following a gift pledge from Adam Levin and the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation.
- Welcomed NPR’s Marilyn Geewax as the Institute’s second Industry Fellow.
- Welcomed CNN’s Richard Griffiths as the Institute’s first Industry Fellow.
- Keith Herndon, Professor of Practice, Journalism, was named Director of the Cox Institute.
- Author and consumer advocate Adam Levin pledged $150,000 to support the Cox Institute’s leadership development program.
- Launched a training partnership in economic journalism with Society of American Business Editors and Writers (Cox-SABEW Fellowship)
- Launched “Cox Institute Presents,” an industry professional lecture series
- Renamed the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership
- Presented the first Betty Gage Holland Award recognizing excellence in college journalism
- Established and hosted an industry executive-in-residence program
- Created the Cox Fellowship as an industry leader/student mentoring program
- Founded by Professor Conrad Fink as the Cox Institute for Newspaper Management Studies
Board of Advisors
The Cox Institute is engaged with a variety of partners and collaborators. We appreciate the support we receive from everyone involved with our work. We also want to recognize the special contributions of the following industry and academic professionals who serve as advisers to our programs.
Bob Sullivan is a veteran journalist and the author of five books, including New York Times Best-Sellers, Gotcha Capitalism and Stop Getting Ripped Off! He has won the Society of Professional Journalists Public Service Award, a Peabody award, a Carnegie Mellon University CyLab Cybersecurity Journalism Award, and the Consumer Federation of America Betty Furness Consumer Media Service Award. He spent nearly two decades working at MSNBC.com and NBC News, and he still appears on TODAY, NBC Nightly News, and CNBC. He’s now a syndicated columnist and frequent TV guest. He is the host of AARP’s The Perfect Scampodcast, co-host of the podcast/audio documentary Breach, which examines history’s biggest hacking stories, and co-host of the podcast So, Bob, which tackles stories about the unintended consequences of technology. His latest podcast is Debugger, which explores issues at the intersection of technology and democracy and is produced in cooperation with Duke University’s Sanford School of Public Policy and the Kenan Institute for Ethics.
Brittany L Adams-Pope, PhD
Richard T. Griffiths
Polina Marinova Pompliano
Mizell Stewart III
Please view Cox Institute news here.
Certificate in News Literacy
The News Literacy Certificate program enhances students’ ability to discern between credible information and information disorder through critical examination of how we access, analyze, verify, create, and share media messages with an emphasis on news
JOURNALISM INNOVATION LAB
The Journalism Innovation Lab creates innovation initiatives to develop the products, practices and people of the industry’s future. Contact Dr. Amanda Bright, director of the Journalism Innovation Lab, with questions.
Digital Natives pairs UGA journalism students with newsrooms to help local news organizations accomplish specific digital goals. Apply as a student or Georgia news organization for the one-week program in early January. Apply through the Digital Natives website.
Hackathon / Skills in Sixty
The Journalism Innovation Lab hosts Skills in Sixty, lunch sessions to jumpstart journalism knowledge, and Hackathons, 90-minute collaborations to ‘hack the code’ behind emerging journalism trends.
Journalism Innovation Fellows
Journalism Innovation Fellows partner with professional organizations to dive deep into product creation, strategy or emerging practice or research with local news organizations and stations, through Georgia Association of Broadcasters. We also have teams that compete within the Reynolds Journalism Institute Innovation Competition. Students should apply through Handshake, and interested news organizations can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Teams and Fellows innovate with news organizations in spring 2022
Listening to audiences, engaging younger users, and creating brand cohesion — these were goals UGA journalism majors accomplished during the launch of our innovation teams and fellowship programs.
These Journalism Innovation Teams and Fellows, based out of the Journalism Innovation Lab of the Cox Institute, create industry partnerships to bring emerging ideas and practices into Georgia news organizations by allowing select students to work at a precise and strategic level on innovation in today’s newsrooms.
Spring 2022 programs included:
• Association of Broadcasters Innovation Fellow
Funded by the GAB, our innovation fellow worked with Habersham Broadcasting. This locally owned and operated set of two radio stations — My Country 99.3 and 107.7 the Breeze — serves a large audience in northeast Georgia, and its leadership wanted to begin to reach a younger demographic through its digital products. UGA journalism major Ashley Balsavias worked with Habersham to grow and engage younger listeners through the My Country 99.3 Instagram page, creating strategies for that platform, cross-promoting to the station’s app, and creating a best practices guide for future use.
• Georgia Association of Broadcasters Innovation Team
A team of journalism majors — Victoria Gospodinov, Lily Baldwin and Haley Roberson — worked with Salem Media Group of Atlanta for our GAB-funded innovation team. Operating on the goals of increasing engagement and growing audience demographics, the team did audience research, created a robust brand style guide to improve digital product coherence, and crafted a forward-thinking content strategy for influencers, concepts and campaigns to continue diverse growth in both listeners and digital platforms.
• UX Research Innovation Team with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution
The success of the Unapologetically ATL email newsletter, a product of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, was the focus of study for a UX research innovation team made up of journalism seniors Maddy Franklin, Ally Gray, Nimra Ahmad and Yana Obiekwe. Through analytics, quantitative surveys and qualitative interviews with audience members, the team found what specific elements were contributing to the newletter’s strong performance, so that these could be employed with other digital products. Also, a few future recommendations for growth were presented to capitalize on what audiences prefer in the niche news product.
The Journalism Innovation Lab will build another GAB Innovation Team and pair another GAB Innovation Fellow with a Georgia broadcaster in the fall 2022 semester, as well as participate in the Reynolds Journalism Institute Student Innovation Competition. Contact Dr. Amanda Bright or see Handshake for details on how to apply starting in late summer.
JOURNALISM LEADERSHIP LAB
The Journalism Leadership Lab prepares students for leadership roles in the news media, addressing strategic challenges faced by contemporary news organizations. Contact Dr. Keith Herndon, executive director of the Cox Institute and director of the Journalism Leadership Lab, with questions.
Levin Leaders Program
The Cox Institute offers top Grady journalism students the opportunity to study leadership development principles during each Spring semester.
Participants, selected competitively, are immersed in a hybrid training experience that combines the best of online education with facilitated leadership development workshops. The program is designed to prepare students for leadership roles in a “digital first” era influenced by social media and an explosion in mobile platforms.
The program began in 2013 in partnership with the Poynter Institute. In 2017, the experience was revised to deploy the “Your Leadership Edge” program, which encourages participants to develop the skills to “lead anytime, anywhere.” In 2019, the program became the Levin Leaders Initiative after a new gift pledge from Adam Levin and the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation. The Levin family’s gifts and pledges to the program to date exceed a quarter million dollars.
Keith Herndon, professor of practice in the journalism department and director of the Cox Institute, leads the leadership workshops and coordinates the program.
2023 Levin Leaders
The 2023 Levin Leaders are: Keith Herndon (professor), Ashley Balsavias, Grace Mains, Ryan Kerley, Sidney Chansamone, Jacqueline GaNun, Stuart Steele, Dawn Sawyer, Eric Tiongson, Eve Hernandez, DonA Traylor-Askew, Dania Kalaji, Erin Kenney, Katie Tucker, Olivia Wakim and Charlotte Norsworthy (instructor)
2022 Levin Leaders
The 2022 Levin Leaders include Janelle Ward, Kyle Soto, Kathryn Skeean, Katherine Lewis, Brieanna Smith, Spencer Donovan, Julia Walkup, Nimra Ahmad, Emily Garcia, Madison Franklin, Caroline Kurzawa, Palmer Thombs, Thomas Ehlers, Deaundria Turner, Sydney Fordice.
2021 Levin Leaders
The students received their medals during a private, socially-distanced dinner on March 15 at the Center for Continuing Education. Grady College Dean Charles Davis attended to recognize the accomplishments of these top journalism students.
2020 Levin Leaders
The Levin Leaders from the Cox Institute were recognized at their annual recognition dinner. The keynote speaker was Nick Chiles, the Cox Institute Industry Fellow. Athens, Georgia, on Wednesday, March 4, 2020 Dayne Young/Grady College.
2019 Levin Leaders
The Levin Leaders from the Cox Institute were recognized at their annual recognition dinner. The keynote speaker was Amy Glennon (ABJ ’90), the Cox Institute Industry Fellow. Athens, Georgia, on Monday, March 4, 2019 Sarah E. Freeman/Grady College
2018 Cox Leaders
The James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management & Leadership hosted Spring Leadership Dinner on March 8, 2018 at the UGA Special Collections Library. James M. Cox Jr. Leadership Medals were presented to the sixth cohort of Cox Institute.
2017 Cox Leaders
Richard Griffiths (Cox Institute Industry Fellow), Katelyn Umholtz, Taylor Cromwell, Lauren Sloan, Zachary Hansen, Denver Ellison, Anna Logan, Cory Cole, Reann Huber, Daniel Funke, Mollie Simon, Lauren Herbert, McKenzie Lewis, Miles Moraitis, Jaylon Thompson, Keith Herndon (director)
2016 Cox Poynter Leaders
Front row seated (l-r): Emily Selby, Erin Cavalli, Lauren McDonald, Evelyn Andrews, Jennifer Goldberger. Standing (l-r): Jamie Han, Sam Lack, Grace Donnelly, Keith Herndon (faculty), Haylee Silverthorne, Mariya Lewter, Kalyn Wilson, Macey Kessler, Alison Menhart, Gabriel Cavallaro, Katie Kraft.
2015 Cox Poynter Leaders
Front (L-R) : Melanie Watson, Deegan Mundy, Kathryn Roberts Standing (L-R): Elizabeth Grimsley, Jamari Jordan, Kendall Trammell, Taylor West, Eli Watkins, Stephen Mayes, Laura James, Jordan James, Allie Blinder, Brenna Beech, Keith Herndon, visiting professor of journalism
2014 Cox Poynter Leaders
L-R: Keith Herndon, visiting professor of journalism; Aashka Dave, Hilary Butschek, Jeanette Kazmierczak, Nicholas Watson, Brittini Ray, Nicholas Fouriezos, Meredith Thornhill, Kathleen LaPorte, Whitney Wyszynski, Hayden Field, Chris Conley and Cailin O’Brien.
2013 Cox Poynter Leaders
L-R: Mac Little, Megan Ingalls, Lauren Blais, Polina Marinova, Maura Friedman, Sofia Jesani, Christopher DeSantis, Keith Llado, Darcy Lenz, Kelsey Kent, Lindsey Cook, Amanda Dixon, Keith Herndon (visiting professor), Katherine Wolpert, Cody Schmelter.
Betty Gage Holland Award
The Betty Gage Holland Award, founded in 2005, annually recognizes excellence in college journalism and honors the late Betty Gage Holland, a long-time friend of journalism education at the University of Georgia.
The Betty Gage Holland Award, founded in 2005, annually recognizes excellence in college journalism and honors the late Betty Gage Holland, a long-time friend of journalism education at the University of Georgia. An award of $1,000 is presented to the winning student journalist and an additional $1,000 is given to the publication sponsoring the winning entry.
For more information, email Keith Herndon at email@example.com.
Read about recent Betty Gage Holland Award winners:
Indiana Daily Student wins Betty Gage Holland Award for 2021
The Red & Black Wins 2020 Betty Gage Holland Award
University of North Alabama’s Flor-Ala newspaper honored with Betty Gage Holland Award
The Sunflower at Wichita State University honored for excellence in college journalism
Investigative report on sexual misconduct on college campuses wins 2017 Holland Award
Investigative series examining Texas A&M’s investments wins 2016 Holland Award
Student reporter from the University of Memphis wins Holland Award for excellence in college journalism
California State University, Fullerton wins Holland Award for excellence in college journalism
The Cox-SABEW Fellowship program started in 2013 and honors students who have embraced business journalism and qualified for the recognition through professional experience and student media.
Covering Poverty is a resource for journalists, devoted to helping community, regional and national journalists cover poverty within their beats and to provide guidelines on how to appropriately write about people and poverty-related matters. The Journalism Writing Lab partners with professional news organizations, at right, for the benefit of students and the industry.
Reporting & Writing Resources
Watch tutorial videos on using style guides, quotation/attribution, interviewing and more: Skills for Storytelling and Reporting YouTube Channel.
- Book Recommendations
- Reporting and Writing Checklist
- AP Style: Most Common Rules
- How to Use the Online AP Stylebook
- Five Ways to Get In Touch with Sources
- Interviewing 101
- How to Write an Email to a Source
- Using Quotations
- How to Correctly Use Quotations and Attribution
- Guide to Person on the Street Interviews
- Your Guide to Covering a Speech, Event or Meeting
- The Art of Lead Writing
- Tutorial Graphics on Various Journalism Writing Styles
- Using Social Media to Report and Promote Your Work
- 10 Major Writing Takeaways
- The Polishing Process
Professor Lori Johnston moderated a discussion between photojournalist Steffenie Burns (ABJ ’17) (photojournalist) and writer Sonam Vashi about freelancing during an Entrepreneurial Journalism Symposium hosted by the Cox Institute.
Read the newest headlines from the Cox Institute, get updates and discover events happening at Grady.
Kamille Whittaker Named Cox Institute’s Industry Fellow for 2023
Kamille Whittaker (MFA ’21), the managing editor of Atlanta Magazine and co-founder of the award-winning, community-led journalism project Canopy Atlanta, is the 2023 Industry Fellow with the James M. Cox […]
Cox Institute’s Digital Natives program completes third year
Before classes began this semester, 14 journalism students spent the first week of January innovating with newsrooms across Georgia. Some students created newsletters, some developed existing social media accounts, and […]
Podcast: Students embrace community journalism through The Oglethorpe Echo, with Dr. Amanda Bright.
Listen to Grady Research Radio Apple Podcasts/Spotify/Stitcher In 2021, after hearing that The Oglethorpe Echo, the community paper of Clarke County’s neighbor, Oglethorpe County, was shutting its doors, Grady College […]
Cox Institute announces new University Certificate in News Literacy starting Fall 2022
The Cox Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership at the University of Georgia will launch a new academic Certificate in News Literacy during the Fall 2022 semester. The certificate, […]
Podcast: Exploring Grady’s new Certificate in News Literacy
Listen to Grady Research Radio Apple Podcasts/Spotify/Stitcher The current media landscape is full of unreliable and deceptive information, through deep fakes, click bait, conspiracies and more. With advancements in technology […]
Podcast: How Grady College will approach being one of nation’s first solutions journalism hubs
Listen to Grady Research Radio Apple Podcasts/Spotify/Stitcher At the beginning of August, the Solutions Journalism Network named Grady College one of the nation’s first solutions journalism hubs, a designation given […]
Grady College named one of nation’s first 4 solutions journalism hubs
The Solutions Journalism Network (SJN) has named Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia one of the nation’s four inaugural solutions journalism hubs. In this […]
Journalism Innovation Lab Team finishes in top six in nationwide competition
The first-ever Journalism Innovation Lab Team from the Cox Institute of Innovation, Management and Leadership finished in the top six teams in the nation, out of more than 50, in […]