Cox Institute Launches 2nd Year of Digital Natives Program

Cox Institute Launches 2nd Year of Digital Natives Program

November 19, 2021
Cox Institute

Digital Natives, part of the Cox Institute of Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership’s Journalism Innovation Lab, is launching its second year of bringing UGA journalism students with digital news expertise into Georgia newsrooms for one week to help local journalists accomplish specific digital goals.

For this 2022 cohort, the Georgia Press Education Foundation has joined forces with the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, thanks to a generous gift from Richard T. and Deborah H. Griffiths, to expand the impact to 15 media organization/student pairs.

The following is a list of students and newsrooms in the state of Georgia who will be served by this program this year:

  • Alex Anteau — The Oglethorpe Echo, Oglethorpe County
  • Lily Baldwin — The Hartwell Sun, Hartwell
  • Michael Banks — The Newnan Times-Herald, Newnan
  • Hunter Beasley — Rome Radio Partners, LLC, Rome
  • Haley Chambers — The Oconee Enterprise, Oconee County
  • Mikaela Cohen — The Northeast Georgian, Cornelia
  • Liset Cruz — WTOC, Savannah
  • Sarah Donehoo — The McDuffie Progress, Thomson
  • Carlie Gambino — No Walls TV, Tucker
  • Olivia Gauthier — WTOC, Savannah
  • Troyce Grant — The Post Searchlight, Bainbridge
  • Allyn Haynes — Cordele Newsmedia, LLC, Cordele
  • Laura Lenz — Jacobs Media Group (WDUN/WGGA/, Gainesville
  • Erin Kenney — The Dallas New Era, Dallas
  • Breianna Smith — WRBL News 3, Columbus

The digital transition continues to be challenging for community journalism for reasons ranging from funding to time to expertise. Digital Natives will help bridge this gap by allowing digitally savvy journalism majors to research and prepare training for newsroom staffs regarding a variety of digital tasks like optimizing social media, creating digital content on various platforms, and experimenting with new technologies, as well as audience engagement, help with disinformation, and Trusting News concepts. Students will also benefit from learning from these organizations by spending a week in a working newsroom environment.

The program for 2021-2022 will run on site from Jan. 3-7, 2022, during the last week of UGA’s winter break. Georgia news organizations were chosen through an application process, and two organizations are returning from the 2021 program, which is one of the goals of this endeavor to build long-term and mutually beneficial relationships with Georgia news organizations. The students will receive $1,000 stipend for their preparation and weeklong training; food, travel and lodging will also be covered.

The director of Digital Natives, Dr. Amanda Bright, is also a faculty member at the College of Journalism and Mass Communication at UGA and will train the students before they start their week in the Georgia newsrooms.

“We were thrilled that we can be physically on site in the newsrooms for this second year of Digital Natives,” Bright said. “And, thanks to the generous support of Richard T. and Deborah H. Griffiths, we are nearly doubling the impact of the students’ digital knowledge for newspapers, radio stations and TV stations across the state of Georgia.”

For more information, contact: Dr. Amanda Bright,