Look Forward Georgia examines Pulitzer Prize winning work and civil rights in Georgia

As the country remembers Martin Luther King Jr. and his impact on the civil rights movement, a new website examining his influence and that of many other Georgians has been launched. “Look Forward: A Digital Exhibition on Civil Rights and the Pulitzer Prize in Georgia,” a grant project produced by a team from the University of Georgia Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, has unveiled LookForwardGA.org.

The project documents Pulitzer Prize-winning journalism and literature from Georgia that promoted civil rights. The project was created in partnership with Georgia Humanities and was funded by a grant from the Pulitzer Prize Centennial Campfire Initiatives, a joint venture with the Federation of State Humanities Councils, in  recognition of Pulitzer’s centennial celebration.

Journalist and Pulitzer Prize winning historian Hank Klibanoff will speak at the official launch of the exhibition on Jan. 13 at 11:15 a.m. in Studio 100 at Grady College. Klibanoff, a contributor to Look Forward Georgia, will speak about “The Past is Never Dead: Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases and Why They Matter.” The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will follow.

The team instrumental in the creation of the Look Forward Georgia project include Jamil Zainaldin, president of Georgia Humanities; Kelly Caudle, vice president of communications for Georgia Humanities; Laura McCarty, executive vice president for Georgia Humanities; Jason Lee Guthrie, PhD candidate in Mass Communication at Grady College and Look Forward project curator; and Janice Hume, Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism at Grady College and Look Forward general editor.

Over the past 100 years, about half of the Pulitzer winners with ties to Georgia won for work that specifically promoted civil rights, making it a natural focus of the project.

“We believed civil rights was the most important focus and the most important connection between journalism, in particular, and the Pulitzer project and the state,” said Janice Hume, the Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism at Grady College and general editor of the Look Forward project. “We had this idea for a digital exhibition that would be a permanent exhibition for students and for scholars and that was the genesis of the project.” 

LookFowardGA.org includes a multi-media collection of oral histories, photographs, videos and information about the civil rights movement in Georgia, all of which are tied to Pulitzer Prize-winning work. The website features a timeline, visual artifacts and a map of Georgia connecting events together geographically.

"Dignity, freedom, equality — they all find their way into the Pulitzer stories represented on the Look Forward site," said Jamil Zainaldin, president of Georgia Humanities. "For certain, these Georgia stories are national stories, even global stories. The power of such a resource is evident."

The project curator was Jason Lee Guthrie, a Grady College Ph.D. student who conducted most of the interviews, pulled together all the material and designed the website.

"The way we've designed it is to be very accessible to the social media generation,” Guthrie said. “Everything is multi-media and sound bite clips."

The project also draws on the expertise of several people with close ties to Grady College including E. Culpepper “Cully” Clark, dean emeritus, who talks about Ralph McGill’s Pulitzer for editorial writing won in 1959; Valerie Boyd, associate journalism professor and the Charlayne Hunter-Gault Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, who talks about Alice Walker’s Pulitzer for “The Color Purple;” and Akili-Casundria Ramsess, director of the National Press Photographers Association housed at Grady College, who discusses Moneta Sleet Jr.’s Pulitzer for photography in 1969. Boyd also served as cultural editor and Clark served as historical editor for the project. LaShonda Eaddy, a Ph.D. student, contributed material about the desegregation of UGA.

Video content was gathered from the WSB-TV collection in the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and the Peabody Awards Collection. Archival holdings at the University of Georgia Special Collections Libraries and Emory University’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library were also featured in the project.

Other interviews with Pulitzer Prize winners included Klibanoff, who co-wrote “The Race Beat: The Press, the Civil Rights Struggle and the Awakening of a Nation”; Cynthia Tucker, who won a Pulitzer in 2007 for commentary; and Mike Luckovich, who won Pulitzer Prizes in 1995 and 2006 for his editorial cartoons in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Events, like the publication of “Gone with the Wind,” and organizations, like The Columbus Enquirer-Sun, are also presented through the Look Forward website.

“It really is like a little museum,” Hume added.  “Around every corner there's a little nugget of something that is really interesting and cool.”

“My hope is that we can get the word out because I really do feel that this is kind of our gift to high school and undergraduate history and journalism students,” Hume continued. “It really shows what journalistic courage is all about.”

Guthrie echoes that sentiment. “There's a certain level of empathy that you can only achieve by knowing the history of an issue. I hope that we have done something significant to take the massiveness of that history and really just find a way to communicate it to the next generation in their language in a way that's meaningful to them. I hope we have been able to do that and maybe inspire them to read Pulitzer Prize winning work and maybe a few of them to go on to write some Pulitzer winning work.” 

For more information about LookForwardGA.org, please visit the website, or view its social media feeds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @lookforwardga.

Panel commemorates 50th anniversary of Foxfire

In honor of its 50th anniversary, a panel will discuss “Foxfire at Fifty: Stories of Culture” on Oct. 26, at 11:15 a.m. at the University of Georgia’s Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries.

The panel is sponsored by the Office of Outreach, Engagement, and Service in the College of Education; Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication; and the Special Collections Libraries.

“The Foxfire Magazine” is a bi-annual publication written by students at Rabun Gap High School in Tiger, Georgia, about the community, culture and citizens in southern Appalachia. The magazine was created 50 years ago to engage English students in writing about subjects of interest to them. Over the years, Foxfire has expanded to include a book collection of anthologies and a museum, as well.

“At the Grady College, we talk a lot about the power of story and about the importance of community,” said Janice Hume, the Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism and the moderator of the Foxfire panel. “Foxfire is a perfect example of both, and also shows how oral history can preserve our cultural history.”

Panelists will discuss the importance of the program and its innovative techniques grounded in learning from community resources and its impact on audiences that extends outside the Rabun County region. They will also cover how Foxfire has evolved and grown in the past decades.

Panelists include:

Carl Glickman is professor emeritus of education at UGA. He is the founder the Georgia League of Professional Schools, a nationally validated network of kindergarten to 12th-grade schools devoted to democratic learning of all students. Glickman serves on the Foxfire Board and co-chairs the Education Committee. He has authored thirteen books and more than one hundred articles, including the recent essay in “Phi Delta Kappan,” entitled “Whatever happened to Foxfire?”

Christian Lopez is the lead Oral History and Media Archivist at the Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies at the Special Collections Libraries. Lopez is an active member of the Oral History Association and also serves on the editorial board of Oral History in the Digital Age, a clearinghouse of practice, theory, and evolving methodologies contributed to by practitioners across the country.

Katie Lunsford is a senior at UGA majoring in athletic training. A Rabun County native, Katie wrote for the “Foxfire” magazine throughout her high school career and continues to work with “Foxfire,” contributing to the 45th Anniversary Book and writing for the 50th Anniversary Book. Katie plans to further her education in the medical field to become a physician and return to Rabun County to serve her home community.

“We are delighted to help celebrate the anniversary of this unique and influential program,” said Hume.

Parking for off campus visitors will be available in the Hull Street Deck across from the Special Collections Library. For more information on the panel, contact Janice Hume at jhume@uga.edu or 706-542-5980.

The Walter J. Brown Media Archive & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia Libraries is also home of the Foxfire collection of videotapes. There are about 1,100 tapes in this collection, which includes interviews and photographs. The Special Collections Libraries are also hosting “Foxfire: 50 years of Cultural Journalism Documenting folk Life in the North Georgia Mountains,” through December 16, 2016. This exhibit uses photos and artifacts, including textiles, homemade toys and tools and a moonshine still, to illustrate how Foxfire has documented folk life and customs.

Visit www.foxfirefund.org to learn more about Foxfire.

Journalism department announces winners of 2016 ‘Best Stories of Summer’ contest

Student journalists who— during their summer internships—reported on youth poverty, credit card fraud and the trend of retiring with debt have been selected as winners of the Grady College Department of Journalism’s second annual “Best Stories of Summer” contest.

Seniors Daniel Funke, Dillon Richards and Will Robinson each will be awarded a $250 prize.

“Grady Journalism students spend their summers working for all sorts of news organizations, and from reports I get from supervisors, they do a fantastic job,” said Janice Hume, department head. “We wanted to honor the top summer stories to celebrate their success. These three winners represent the best of a whole lot of terrific work. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

Though daily reporting wasn’t part of Daniel Funke’s job description as a web intern at the Los Angeles Times, he pitched a story to the metro editors anyway. “I wanted to go out of my comfort zone and report on an issue that I saw to be of great importance to the LA area —youth poverty,” said Funke, who was also a winner of the 2015 “Best Stories of Summer” contest. “In particular, I was interested in writing a story about the state of LGBT youth homelessness in Southern California through the lens of someone who experiences it every day.”

For the piece, Funke interviewed Kaleef Starks, a transgender African-American woman, at a transitional housing facility in Hollywood.

“Her story served as the springboard for the rest of my reporting,” Funke said, “which found that services catered specifically to LGBT youth are lacking in LA—despite the fact that they make up a large proportion of that population.”

At the Atlanta Business Chronicle, Will Robinson wrote a standout story about how Dave Polstra, co-founder and partner of Brightworth, used his finance skills to help a ministry become debt free.

“The profile was the first story I was assigned at the Chronicle. A profile was also one of the first assignments I ever had for Grady,” said Robinson. “The way I conducted my interview, structured my article and decided on quotes were all affected by my News Writing and Reporting lab.”

In another story, Robinson tackled the issue of retiring with debt “because I found many sources who felt it was a rising trend,” he said. “My editors helped me understand what questions the Chronicle’s readers would have so I could make my article relevant to our audience. I also relied on experience from writing trend stories in my Public Affairs Reporting class.”

One of Dillon Richards’ first big assignments as an intern at WMAZ-TV in Macon was to profile new upgrades at the stadium where an Independence Concert was to take place.

“I knew, from all my training at Grady, that I needed to find someone who loved the stadium and worked hard to make it as good as it could be,” explained Richards. “Once I found him, I spent a day in the hot sun getting all the video I needed, but also making sure I got all the sound I needed —the sound of him rattling chains, cutting wood or unlocking a door—the things that make you feel like you’re there with him.”

Richards also covered hard news, such as his report on how consumers can protect themselves from credit card fraud.

“My professors taught me that news matters and that words matter, and that was something I learned over and over at WMAZ,” said Richards. “Because of Grady, I knew never to give up on a story, and, because of that, I was known for always bringing back a great story no matter what I was assigned.”

Hume named Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism

Janice Hume has been named the Carolyn McKenzie and Don E. Carter Chair for Excellence in Journalism at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Hume serves as the head of the Department of Journalism.

The purpose of the Carter Chair is to teach journalistic excellence to students entering the profession, emphasizing journalistic values of clarity, accuracy, fairness, balance and credibility—values that characterize the Carters’ professional careers. John Greenman previously held the chair until his retirement in 2015.

“Dr. Hume upholds the legacy of Don Carter, a journalist’s journalist,” said Charles Davis, dean of Grady College. “Her passion for journalism education embodies the values we seek to foster throughout the college, and we’re just so fortunate to have her leadership as a model for students today and tomorrow.”

Don Carter (ABJ ’38) began his career as the editor-in-chief at The Red & Black before working as a reporter and editor at multiple newspapers across the county, including positions in Atlanta, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Miami. He was the founding managing editor of The National Observer before serving as vice president for news at Knight-Ridder until his retirement in 1982.

<Don E. Carter shakes hands with Janice Hume as Kent Middleton looks on.
Janice Hume talks with Don E. Carter at the Carter Symposium during the Grady centennial celebration April 16, 2015.

“I am pleased—and I know Carolyn would be pleased—that Professor Hume holds the Carter Chair,” Carter said from him home in Sea Island, Georgia. “As Carter Chair and head of the Department of Journalism, she will be able to focus the resources of the chair and the Carter Endowment to advance journalism excellence as Carolyn and I envisioned.  It’s a good time for journalism at Grady.”

Carolyn Carter (ABJ ’40) was the first full-time female photographer for the Atlanta Constitution before working as a writer and photographer for the Atlanta Journal Sunday Magazine. She also worked at The Coca-Cola Company as a writer and editor. In retirement, she remained engaged in various civic organizations until her death in 2010.

The Carters, who were married for more than 67 years, met while covering the same story for competing newspapers—Carolyn for the Atlanta Constitution and Don for the Atlanta Journal.

“I’m both thrilled and thankful to be named the Carter Chair,” Hume said. “Don Carter and his late wife Carolyn exemplify journalism excellence. What wonderful role models for aspiring journalists. My goal will be to instill in our students the Carters’ passion for responsible, ethical and courageous journalism—the kind of journalism that makes a difference in our communities and world.”

“My goal will be to instill in our students the Carters’ passion for responsible, ethical and courageous journalism…”

— Janice Hume

“I plan to use this chair to increase experiential opportunities for students and to help faculty with research projects designed to help sustain excellent journalism. We will recognize the best student journalists at Grady, and we will connect them with our industry friends and our amazing alumni to make sure Grady graduates are well prepared to lead in this fast-changing news environment.”

Hume joined Grady College in 2001. She teaches magazine writing, management, and media history. Her research focuses on American journalism history, public memory, and media coverage of death.  Hume received her Ph.D., master’s and bachelor of journalism degrees from the University of Missouri.  Prior to joining UGA, Hume spent twelve years as a newspaper reporter and features editor. She was lifestyle and arts editor at the Mobile Register (Ala.) and she served on the faculty of the A.Q. Miller School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Kansas State University. She has authored three books including “Popular Media and the American Revolution.”