‘CoveringPovertyToolkit.com’ re-launches as journalism resource for covering community poverty issues

A website packed with resources, curated content and checklists for journalists has been redesigned and relaunched by Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

CoveringPovertyToolkit.com is an online directory of content related to writing and reporting about poverty in communities, as a service to journalists nationwide.  A weekly newsletter is also generated from the website highlighting new content.

The site, directed by Diane Murray, Grady’s director of alumni relations and outreach, and administered by Carolyn Crist, was created to answer a need in the industry. According to Murray, poverty is intertwined with so many topics covered by media outlets—education, health, crime— but due to shrinking staffs, there are few journalists who specialize in issues of poverty.

“Very few outlets have a poverty beat,” Murray said, “but, covering poverty applies to everyone in journalism.”

The original Covering Poverty website was created in 2009 by Murray; Crist, who was then a student; and John Greenman, professor of journalism, who retired in 2015. The relaunch of CoveringPovertyTookit.com, which has returned under a new domain name after a hiatus of about a year, was designed and is maintained by Crist.

“The website is a quick, weekly check-in where journalists from all beats can find a way to report on poverty,” Crist said, summing up the site.

Murray agrees: “When people have limited time and money to do things, I think it provides a good service.”

The website is financially supported through a renewing grant from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, an organization dedicated to supporting children, families and communities.

“Covering Poverty is a great resource for journalists because it offers ideas in a thoughtful, practical way.” — Jaclyn Cosgrove, reporter for the Los Angeles Times

Through the years, the website has benefited journalists from around the country including Jaclyn Cosgrove, a metro reporter for the Los Angeles Times, who has used the site in the past.

“Covering Poverty is a great resource for journalists because it offers ideas in a thoughtful, practical way,” Cosgrove said. For reporters new to the topic, it provides a host of ideas to get started. For veterans, Covering Poverty will help you find ideas or angles that you haven’t explored or maybe missed in the hectic world of day-to-day beat reporting.”

The website features easy-to-scan, bulleted content including:

  • Tutorials: eleven topics including education, politics and race to name a few highlight statistics and step-by-step approaches for story ideas in each chapter.
  • Blog: updated regularly, this blog features info-graphics and statistics on issues related to poverty
  • Resources: includes links to key websites and statistics for journalists, tipsheets, case studies and more.

Journalists and other interested citizens are invited to subscribe to the Covering Poverty newsletter, or to view the September 19, 2018, issue of Covering Poverty.


Journalism students named 2017 McGill Fellows

Twelve undergraduate and graduate students have been named McGill Fellows by the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

They were selected by a faculty committee “for their strength in academics, practical experience and leadership,” said Diane Murray, public service faculty and director of the McGill Program in Journalistic Courage, who chaired the committee.

The McGill Fellows are:

Sara Katherine Bowen (Tifton, Georgia) senior, journalism and finance

Kristin Bradshaw (Buford, Georgia) senior, journalism and international affairs

Mary Carol Butterfield (Greer, South Carolina) senior, journalism and political science

Lindsey Conway (Alpharetta, Georgia) senior, journalism

Emily Giambalvo (Easley, South Carolina) senior, management information systems, Grady Sports Media certificate

Zach Hansen (Cataula, Georgia) senior, journalism

Noelle Lashley (Cartersville, Georgia) senior, journalism

Saleen Martin (Norfolk, Virginia) graduate student, health and medical journalism

Nicolle Sartain (Lawrenceville, Georgia) senior, journalism

Maureen Sheeran (Atlanta) senior, journalism

Mollie Simon (North Druid Hills, Georgia) senior, journalism

Sammy Smith (West Point, Georgia) senior, journalism

The McGill Fellows will:

  • Participate in the McGill Symposium, which brings together students, faculty and leading journalists to consider what journalistic courage means and how it is exemplified by reporters and editors. The McGill Symposium will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. November 15, 2017, in the Peyton Anderson Forum at Grady College.
  • Later Wednesday, the McGill Fellows will attend and be introduced at the McGill Lecture, which will be presented by Souad Mekhennet, correspondent for The Washington Post’s national security desk and author of “I Was Told to Come Alone.” The lecture is part of the University’s Signature Lecture Series and will be held at 4 p.m. in Studio 100 at Grady College.
  • The McGill Fellows also will help select the ninth recipient of the McGill Medal, awarded annually to a U.S. journalist whose career has exemplified journalistic courage.
  • Finally, the McGill Fellows have first priority to enroll in a one-hour independent study on journalistic courage, to be taught by Murray in the spring.

This is the eleventh class of McGill Fellows. The first class was selected in 2007.

Joining Murray on the selection committee were Grady faculty Keith Herndon, Barry Hollander, Janice Hume, Mark Johnson and Vicki Michaelis.

For nearly 40 years, the McGill Lecture has brought significant figures in journalism to the University of Georgia to help us honor Ralph McGill’s courage as an editor.

McGill, while editor and publisher of The Atlanta Constitution, was regarded as the “conscience of the south,” using the newspaper’s editorial pages to challenge segregation in the 1950s and 1960s. McGill was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in 1958 for “long, courageous and effective leadership.”

Established in 1978, this University of Georgia annual lecture series addresses major issues impacting the American press.

The McGill Symposium is funded by the McGill Lecture Endowment.