Cox Institute launches Grady Writing Lab with Nick Chiles

The Grady Writing Lab launched this semester to provide journalism students an opportunity to review and improve their writing outside of the traditional classroom.

Nick Chiles, a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and best-selling author, is the lab’s first writing coach. Chiles returns to Grady following his writing seminar for NEWSCRAFT 19 held during spring semester.

“We are now all married to these devices in our hands, for better or for worse, but what’s interesting is that phenomenon has made the art of storytelling even more important than ever. The site and the piece that tells the best story gets the most attention, the most clicks,” said Chiles. “I want to help Grady students become skilled at telling stories, at understanding how to use the many tools now at their disposal to create crisp, clear and compelling narratives.”

Students can make appointments to meet with Chiles on Wednesdays and Thursdays this semester from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments will take place in the Journalism Innovation Lab on the first floor of the Grady College inside Studio 100. Appointments can be made here. Students can also contact Chiles by emailing: gradywritinglab@uga.edu.

The James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership will operate the writing lab, which will be funded by the William S. Morris Chair in News Strategy and Management.

“Writing skill is the foundation to becoming the best journalist you can be,” said Dr. Keith Herndon, who is the Cox Institute director and holds the Morris Chair. “Having a chance to work directly on your writing with someone of Chiles’ stature is an opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.”

Over the course of his 33-year career, Chiles has distinguished himself as one of the nation’s foremost chroniclers of African-American life, culture and celebrity—both as a bestselling author and an award-winning journalist. He is the author or co-author of 14 books, including three New York Times bestsellers he wrote with R&B icon Bobby Brown, civil rights leader Rev. Al Sharpton and gospel legend Kirk Franklin. He is the co-author with Atlanta attorney Robbin Shipp of the book Justice While Black: Helping African-American Families Navigate and Survive the Criminal Justice System, which was a finalist for a 2015 NAACP Image Award.

Chiles was a newspaper reporter, magazine writer, and magazine and website editor-in-chief during his years in journalism, winning nearly 20 major awards—including a 1992 Pulitzer Prize as part of a New York Newsday team. He has served as a professor at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and taught at Princeton as a recipient of the prestigious Ferris Fellowship. Chiles is also a literary agent with the Manhattan-based agency, Aevitas Creative Management. He is a graduate of Yale University and lives in Atlanta.

Cox Institute and Newsy Expand Student Training Relationship

This article was originally posted to the Cox Institute site.

Newsy, a leading cross-platform television news network, has expanded its summer training relationship this year with the Grady College’s James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management & Leadership.

Two Grady journalism majors – Skylar Nicholson and Alexandra Travis – are interning at Newsy studios in Washington, D.C., and three Grady students – Jada Bowman, Mikaela Cohen and Caroline Windham – spent the first week of June at the Newsy training facility in Columbia, Missouri, before moving into seven weeks of online training.

“We’re really fortunate to have this relationship with the Cox Institute. While Newsy continues to break ground as America’s fastest-growing news network, the opportunity to add to the training of these already very skilled students from the Grady College fits right into where we’re going,” said Nathan Byrne, the supervising editor for academic partnerships at Newsy. “The timing couldn’t be better. I’m eager to see what these students do with the new talents they develop and hone in their time with Newsy.”

Jada Bowman, Caroline Windham and Mikaela Cohen with Nathan Byrne of Newsy at training facilities in Columbia, Missouri.

Nicholson said her summer “has been fantastic,” adding that she is writing two to three headline stories for the show “The Why” each night and helping with longer form packages. She also returned to Georgia with Newsy to help cover a story on the heartbeat bill, HB481, and the impact it is having on the state’s film industry. Nicholson said she has been assigned to some congressional hearings, describing hearings as one of her favorite things to help cover. “I am learning so much from the team here in Washington, D.C.,” she said.

Travis also said working with Newsy has been a great summer experience. “Their dedication to innovation has taught me so much already,” she said. “Interning on the Documentaries team has made me feel more prepared to enter the media field than ever before. The practice I have gained with pitching, and the creative freedom they have given me on my story ideas has taught me so much about topics I am passionate about covering and the best storytelling techniques.”

Newsy, a subsidiary of The E.W. Scripps Company, delivers its content on cable television; on over-the-top services including Hulu, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Sling TV, and Pluto TV; and on connected television including Xumo. Newsy is also available through its mobile apps and at newsy.com.

Keith Herndon, director of the Cox Institute, said it is important to sponsor training programs with organizations that are committed to helping students succeed in their early careers. This year, the Cox Institute supplemented funding for the Newsy program with support from the William S. Morris Chair in News Strategy and Management.

Herndon, who also holds the Morris Chair, said the training programs with Newsy grew from conversations with its CEO Blake Sabatinelli, who has been the keynote speaker for the last two Grady Mobile News Lab project showcases. The Newsy relationship will continue with Sabatinelli returning in October for his third Mobile News Lab product showcase and more Grady journalism students participating in Newsy training next summer.

“Our students benefit so much from the relationship we enjoy with Newsy,” Herndon said. “It is important for them to experience an organization attempting new things and new approaches at a time when so many older models are struggling.”

Windham, who is participating in the Newsy skills training, said the week on site before moving into the remote work was important because it allowed her to experience Newsy firsthand.

“Being able to hear from all levels of company employees, from the CEO to the animation head, really showed me the great culture surrounding Newsy,” she said.

 

Inaugural class of Levin Leaders recognized at Cox Institute’s Spring Leadership Dinner

The James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership at Grady College recognized its inaugural class of Levin Leaders on March 4, 2019, presenting the 15 aspiring media leaders with the Cox Institute’s Leadership Medal. The Cox Institute’s Industry Fellow award and five departmental scholarships representing outstanding achievement were also presented.

The Levin Leaders were selected for the leadership program from a pool of faculty nominations based on their commitment to professional development through work in student media, internships and other student activities. They are: Collin Huguley, Danny McArthur, Taylor Maggiore, Christina Matacotta, Kelly Mayes, Skylar Nicholson, Brittany Paris, Myan Patel, Casey Rose, Kelsey Russo, Erin Schilling, Alexander Soderstrom, Alexandra Travis, Ashlyn Webb and Rebecca Wright.

These students, family, faculty and guests gathered at the University of Georgia’s Special Collections Library for a dinner ceremony where the students heard from the Amy Glennon, Grady class of 1990, who has served this year as the Cox Institute’s Industry Fellow.

“In the end, this is an exceedingly human business,” said Glennon, who had a 24-year-career with Cox Media Group and was the first woman to serve as publisher of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “And leading in this industry requires connecting to people.”

During the scholarship presentations, Erin Schilling and Rebecca Wright were awarded Conrad C. Fink Scholarships; Alexander Soderstrom received the Todd M. Bauer Memorial Award and Casey Rose received the first Barry Hollander Award. Charlotte Norsworthy, who will graduate in May, was named the Morris Media Fellow, which includes an assistantship for continuing her studies at the master’s level at Grady.

Janice Hume (left) and Keith Herndon (far right), congratulate the Cox Institute departmental scholarship winners (from l-r.): Erin Schilling, Casey Rose, Rebecca Wright, Alex Soderstrom and Charlotte Norsworthy. Photo: Sarah E. Freeman

Since its inception seven years ago, the Cox Institute’s leadership training program has taught 100 of Grady’s best journalism students about leadership principles. This year the program was renamed the Levin Leaders Initiative to reflect the generous support provided by Adam Levin, his wife Heather McDowell, and the Philip and Janice Levin Foundation. The Levin family’s support provides for curriculum development, training materials, speaker expenses, experiential learning opportunities and the annual awards banquet. Levin is a nationally recognized expert on cyber security, privacy, identity theft, fraud, and personal finance. He is chairman and founder of CyberScout and was co-founder of Credit.com. He authored the critically acclaimed book, “Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves.”

The students participating in the leadership program met weekly during January and February with Dr. Keith Herndon, professor of practice in journalism and director of the Cox Institute. The sessions featured student discussion leaders guiding conversations about leadership principles drawn from the “Your Leadership Edge” book published by the Kansas Leadership Center.

The students said they found value in leadership discussions with their peers, especially in the context of news and media professions.

“The best part, hands down, was getting to have down-to-earth chats as a group about great topics that forced us to think,” said Myan Patel. Alexandra Travis said, “This program has taught me that there are so many ways to be a leader, and my style is just as valid as others.” Danny McArthur said being a Levin Leader has given her more confidence. “While the stereotypical idea of being a leader is often about how many important positions you hold, this program taught me that . . . I can be a leader with whatever I do,” she said.

The program’s emphasis on introspection resonated with the participants. “It was a good time for reflection, to think about who I am, how I do things and why I do them,” said Kelly Mayes. Kelsey Russo added, “It has been an incredible program where I have learned so much about myself.”

Check out more pictures from the banquet here.

Watch the full video here.

NEWSCRAFT 19: A Grady College Workshop on the Craft of Reporting, Writing, Pitching and Selling News

Please join us for two days of immersive training in the craft of journalism from three world-class instructors: Nick Chiles, Jamie Lauren Keiles and Bob Sullivan.

This event is free for students. Students must email Charlotte Norsworthy to register.

Professionals are $10. Registration is required for all professional attendees. Register here.

Agenda

Feb 8:
Bob Sullivan will host two sessions on developing reporting skills and the art of interviewing. Both sessions will take a multi-platform perspective.

  • Session 1: 9:05 a.m. – 9:55 a.m.
  • Session 2: 10:10 a.m. – 11 a.m.

Nick Chiles will conduct two sessions of a writing workshop focused on creating clean, concise and compelling copy.

  • Session 3: 1:25 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.
  • Session 4: 2:30 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.

Feb. 9:
Jamie Lauren Keiles will lead participants through two sessions about the business of writing for money (in print and online), as well as how to formulate story ideas as pitches that editors read and accept. The workshops will also discuss how to negotiate pay and other practical skills for building a career as a freelance writer.

  • Session 5:  9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
  • Session 6:  1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.

 

Glennon to serve as Cox Institute’s 2019 Industry Fellow

Amy Glennon, a former publisher with Cox Media Group, will serve as an Industry Fellow with the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership during the spring 2019 semester at the University of Georgia.

Glennon, a 1990 graduate of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, was publisher of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and later publisher of Cox Media Group’s Vertical Businesses, a portfolio of pure-play digital content sites that included DawgNation.com, several national sports sites, a national Hispanic news and entertainment site, as well as a lifestyle e-commerce site devoted to Southern cooking and entertaining.

As the Cox Institute’s Industry Fellow, Glennon will be a training resource for students taking the Managing News Organizations course and will present several lectures for the students, four of which will be open to other students, faculty and members of the UGA community.

Glennon’s open Industry Fellow lectures for 2019 will be held in the Grady College’s Peyton Anderson Forum at 2 p.m. on Jan. 31, March 5 and 21 and April 9.

“I’m honored to be returning to Grady for this program, particularly because its roots link back to Professor Conrad Fink. He was a tremendous mentor to me and I hope to pay that forward in some way,” Glennon said.

Keith Herndon, director of the Cox Institute, said Glennon’s management and leadership experience during a time of significant digital disruption in the news industry will be invaluable to the student journalists as they study shifting business models and consider innovative paths forward for the news industry.

Glennon was the first female publisher in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s 150-year history. The publisher position topped a 24-year career at the newspaper that involved numerous roles in both the news and the business sides of the AJC. Glennon began her professional career at The Gwinnett Daily News.

“Amy is a media industries pioneer and will bring practical lessons from industry to these students who are about to embark on their careers,” Herndon said. “The Industry Fellow program is designed to connect senior industry leaders with emerging young journalists, and we’re very excited to welcome Amy back to Grady and into this role.”

Glennon is a Grady Fellow and the recipient of the 2014 Henry W. Grady Mid-Career Alumni Award. She has held board seats with the News Media Alliance and the Inland Press Association; and is an active member of the Georgia chapter of the International Women’s Forum. Glennon is married to Mike Glennon, also a UGA grad. They live in Atlanta with their daughters Kate and Abby.

Glennon said she treasures her time at UGA — both time spent in the classroom at Grady and her three years at The Red & Black, and fondly remembers her classes with Professor Fink.

Fink founded the Cox Institute and initially created the Industry Fellows program, which was on hiatus for a few years and reinstituted in 2017 with Richard Griffiths, former vice president at CNN serving as the Industry Fellow that year. Marilyn Geewax, former senior business editor at NPR, was the Industry Fellow in 2018.