Podcast: Exploring Grady’s new Certificate in News Literacy

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The current media landscape is full of unreliable and deceptive information, through deep fakes, click bait, conspiracies and more. With advancements in technology and the sheer amount of information out there, discerning between what is real and fake has perhaps never been more challenging. 

With this issue in mind, Grady College’s James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership has established the Certificate in News Literacy, open to any student at the University of Georgia. The program equips students with concepts and tools they need to recognize the difference between the truth and falsehoods.

To learn more about the program, including what courses are offered, what students gain, and how to get started, the Grady Research Radio podcast sat down with Dr. Keith Herndon, the executive director of the Cox Institute, the William S. Morris Chair in News Strategy and Management and director of the Cox Institute’s Certificate in News Literacy, and Charlotte Norsworthy, a part-time instructor at Grady College, the editorial director of The Red & Black, and the program coordinator for the Certificate in News Literacy. 

Below is a transcript of the conversation, edited for clarity and brevity. 

Grady Research Radio: Can you tell me what your roles are with the certificate program? 

Cox Institute Faculty: Keith Herndon (left), Amanda Bright and Lori Johnston.
Cox Institute Faculty: Keith Herndon (left), Amanda Bright and Lori Johnston. (Image: Sarah Freeman)

Keith Herndon: I am the executive director of the Cox Institute, and the certificate is an initiative of the Cox Institute. Specifically, as it relates to the certificate, I’m the director of the certificate.

Charlotte Norsworthy: And I’m the program coordinator. I help on the logistical side of things, making sure that students are enrolling properly, making it through the certificate, and being granted that certification at the end of the program. I’m also a part-time instructor at the university.

Grady Research Radio: Okay, great. Can you give me background on the certificate — its origins and why you determined there was a need to establish this certificate? 

Keith Herndon: Well, I think that I started to sense a need for the certificate through some of the interactions I was having with students in the intro class, which we call JOUR 3030. The full title is Media News and Consumers. That course is open to any major on campus. We have a wide range of students in that class, ranging from finance majors to sport management to a wide range of Grady majors, including advertising, public relations, EMST and journalism. 

When I started seeing the wide range of understanding of how the media actually operates and what we meant by this idea of misinformation and disinformation, it became pretty clear that there needed to be this broader approach to talking about news literacy with our broader student body.

Charlotte was my original TA when I took over teaching that class, and she also witnessed that firsthand. You can add something to that observation, right? 

Students in the Journalism Summer Academy visited The Red & Black where Charlotte Norsworthy shared details about what it's like to work at a student newspaper.
Students in the Journalism Summer Academy visited The Red & Black where Charlotte Norsworthy shared details about what it’s like to work at a student newspaper. (Image: Sarah Freeman)

Charlotte Norsworthy: Absolutely. Students are coming at media from all different backgrounds, perspectives and contexts. How they were raised and socialized — all of that plays into how they engage with the media. 

We realized, through doing that class, that they are also actively participating in the spread of information. And so, what is the quality of that information that they are engaging with and sharing by being active users in the digital space and on social media? It has a pretty hefty impact, and we were seeing that firsthand. 

Keith Herndon: It was natural to use that course (JOUR 3030) as the intro for the certificate. That course explains what the First Amendment is, why it’s important and what it does and doesn’t do. That’s a really good, you know, foundational course to build a certificate around.

The certificate is based on four courses overall. There are two intermediate courses, which are our ethics and diversity class and our news credibility class. We end it with a capstone course that was developed by Dr. Amanda Bright called Digital Savvy.

Grady Research Radio: Can you kind of do a quick overview of some of the things one would learn in those courses?

Keith Herndon: The ethics and diversity class looks at how the news media operates internally. What are the things that the news media would consider conflicts of interest? How does the news media think about sourcing? We also want to think in terms of inclusivity. Are we covering our communities holistically? That’s where the diversity part comes in. 

We also look at how our newsrooms operate in terms of making sure that we represent the communities that we cover. Do we have the right voices in our newsrooms? All those are part of the equation. So that’s what we mean by ethics and diversity. It’s more of an internal look at those kinds of issues.

The news credibility course is much more of an external look. That’s where we talk about this issue of trusting in news. How does the consumer interact with the news media? What are some of the key things that have affected trust in the media? What are some of the things that we have to address from political leanings? How do political leanings affect a person’s relationship with the news media? The news credibility course is looking at it more from an external perspective.

I already mentioned JOUR 3030. That’s the foundational class. It’s where we explain to people what misinformation and disinformation is — how we think of that as almost like pollution in our ecosystem, the same way we think of plastic as polluting the ocean. We really get into some of those fundamentals in that class. 

And then it ends with the capstone course called Digital Savvy. That’s more of a practicum class, where the idea is, okay, how do we then spot false information? What are some tools that we can use to understand that this is not accurate information? This is not a photograph that depicts what it says it depicts. This is a video that’s not real. It’s been altered in some way. 

Grady Research Radio: I know this is open to any student at the University of Georgia. So, can you talk a little bit about the train of thought, the reasons for opening it up to the entire campus?  What would a student who isn’t directly involved in journalism on a day-to-day basis gain from this? 

A quote card from Charlotte Norsworthy that reads, "If you are . . . any sort of informed citizen of society, being media literate is a crucial skill. It's also a skill that is applicable across careers."Charlotte Norsworthy: Yeah, so I think our thought process on establishing the Certificate of News Literacy in a way that all majors and all students could access was from the perspective that news literacy is something that everyone participates in. Everyone should be aware because they are all active participants and sharing media and engaging with news. 

So, if you are, you know, any sort of informed citizen of society, being media literate is a crucial skill. It’s also a skill that is applicable across careers, right? So, in journalism, we are news gathering. We are creating news. We are producing and disseminating. So, it’s highly specialized and important to us in this field, as well as other Grady majors. 

But majors across the university could also find themselves benefiting from it, because companies across the globe and across factions and fields and industries are also online. They’re also digital. They’re also engaging with information and producing the spread of information. So are they doing so in a way that’s accurate, that’s fair and balanced, that’s not polluting the ecosystem even more?

Grady Research Radio: Great. Are there any prerequisites for this certificate, or can a student start this freshman year? 

Keith Herndon: The JOUR 3030 class has been designed from the very beginning to be open to any student at any point of their University of Georgia journey. We consider that to be an entry-level course. We have students in that class who take it in their freshman year, sometimes even their very first semester of their freshman year. We also have a group of sophomores who take it. Obviously that’s a required class if you’re a journalism major. It’s an elective for any other major. 

That would be the way this would work. If it’s a journalism major that’s doing this certificate, all of the courses and the certificate would count for their major. If it’s a student outside of the journalism major and they do this certificate, it would count as a part of their electives.

Grady Research Radio: Okay, great. So, a journalism student, they could easily embed this into their schedule while not adding any time to their graduation schedule? 

Keith Herndon: Yeah. That’s the way it works. 

Grady Research Radio: For a student who’s in Grady, maybe in Advertising or Public Relations or Entertainment and Media Studies, how much time could this potentially add to their schedule? 

Keith Herndon: I don’t think it would actually add anything if they’re building it in as part of their degree program. Most of the students in our College have plenty of room in their schedule for electives. 

Now, they have to make some decisions. They wouldn’t be able to do a double major and a minor and another certificate and still do this as part of their normal course. I mean, it would be one of the things that they would have to choose as part of their degree program. 

The journalism students, because this is part of their curriculum, can select these and it would just be embedded into their degree program. Others would have to figure out how to make it work within their body of electives that are available.

Grady Research Radio: Great. So you said there’s also a research component connected to this. Could you elaborate on that? 

Keith Herndon: Charlotte and I are working with one of my teaching assistants, Kate Hester, who is one of my graduate assistants in the Cox Institute. And we’re looking at this idea that news literacy is essentially a critical thinking skill. It’s essentially something, as Charlotte alluded to, that all these different industries are looking at as almost a leadership attribute. 

And so, we are doing some systematic review of literature, looking at the pedagogy that underlies the classes that we’re teaching, and then looking at how that pedagogy aligns with leadership education and other types of critical thinking training. We will document all of that. It’s called an innovative practice paper that we would then submit as a conference paper with the Association for Leadership Educators. Charlotte and I have collaborated on several of these types of pedagogy leadership framework papers in the past. 

Anything you want to add to that process?  

Charlotte Norsworthy: I think that the actual practice of going through and constructing these innovative practice papers is incredibly valuable to the research field. 

Research typically deals with qualitative and quantitative research methods, and I think that these types of papers bridge the gap from the traditional academic methods into the practicum side of journalism, which is unique to our specific industry. You have to actually do the thing and then you can study the thing. So, this Certificate of News Literacy is sort of us doing the thing. But then we’re also reviewing how it’s impacting those themes that Keith mentioned.

Keith Herndon: And so I think that a lot of what we do in the Cox Institute, you know, our full name is the Cox Institute for Journalism, Innovation, Management and Leadership. So we think that the certificate is innovative, but we also think it has a component of leadership embedded in it. A key attribute of being a leader, in my estimation, is to be truthful and to be trustworthy. 

The idea that we have to think of it in terms of the things that we share on social media, the things that we produce out there in the world — it goes beyond just journalism production. It’s anything we do on social media. Are we sharing a post? Are we liking something that may not even be remotely accurate? But the very act of liking it has put it out in your information dissemination. 

We want students to think, “Well, is that putting me in the best light?” That’s learning to be discerning about how you live your life. And that’s a critical thinking skill. That critical thinking skill of how we look at all of this information, that is definitely a leadership attribute. 

Through this research, we’re trying to look at leadership theories, some critical thinking frameworks, and how other industries might approach similar types of training. We want to document all that and see how it comes together. 

We’re at the very beginning of putting together this research material. So check back in with us this time next year and we’ll have a little bit better of an understanding of how it all came together. But we’re really excited about that aspect of it. We’re also excited about bringing in one of our top graduate students to help us with that project as well.

Grady Research Radio: Great, so to wrap up here, what if a student wants to embed this certificate program in their schedules? How can they go about doing that? 

Charlotte Norsworthy: The best thing to do is to first talk with your advisor and make sure the 12-hour program that it takes to complete the certificate is manageable and doable with the goals that you have based on your majors, minors and certificates that you may be balancing on top of this program. I would definitely advise you to talk with your academic advisor and make sure that that’s going to work 

I would then say, when you’re on Athena, whenever you’re establishing your majors and your minors, you can also click the drop down and add the Certificate of News Literacy as your certificate to formally establish that. 

After you do that, we’re notified of that formal enrollment and you can start taking your courses starting with JOUR 3030 and work your way through the program from there. 

Keith Herndon: Right. I do want to emphasize one thing that this is different from some certificate programs at the university. It is open enrollment. There’s no application process for our certificate. It’s four courses and all of the courses are always available. There are plenty of seats. There’s no need to have an application process. 

We want to make this simple and easy for any student that has an interest in learning about the news media, news literacy, understanding the leadership attributes around that, and understanding its importance. 

All they have to do is go to Athena and enroll. So as long as you’re a student in good standing at the university, then you can do the certificate. We’re really excited about that. 

We’re in the process now of meeting with advisors at the various colleges and talking about it in classes. We’ve built out a website as part of the Cox Institute so that there’s more information out there. Charlotte has put together a really robust frequently asked questions page. So, you know, anybody can find the information they’re looking for. But it’s an enrollment, as opposed to an application, certificate. 

Charlotte Norsworthy: And it’s a do-it-at-your-own-pace kind of program, which I think is also unique to other certificates. You don’t have to complete it within a semester or a series of semesters. 

There’s a specific order that you take the courses in. But if you start with JOUR 3030 your first semester freshman year, you can wait until your senior year to finish up the three courses if that’s the only space in time that you’ll have. 

We’ve set it up so that it does have an intro course. There are two intermediate courses. Those can be taken in any order. We do prefer that you take the JOUR 3030 Media News and Consumers first. But then you can take News Credibility or Journalism Ethics and Diversity in either order. Once you’ve completed those, you finish it up with the capstone, the Digital Savvy course.

Grady Research Radio: Great. Well, thank you both for your time here today. 

Charlotte Norsworthy: Thanks for having us. 

Keith Herndon: Yeah. Thanks a lot.

Cox Institute adds new directors, initiatives to benefit students and industry

A new organizational and leadership structure will expand the training mission of the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership.

The Cox Institute, which operates as a unit of the Journalism Department at the University of Georgia’s College of Journalism and Mass Communication, will offer expanded skills development and training opportunities programs for students and professionals through the newly-restructured Journalism Innovation Lab and Journalism Writing Lab.

The Cox Institute’s Journalism Innovation Lab will assume operation of the Digital Natives program, which brings UGA journalism students with digital news expertise into Georgia newsrooms to help local journalists and news organizations accomplish specific digital goals.  This program was launched by Dr. Amanda Bright, a member of the journalism faculty, who will continue to manage this project along with other digital innovation initiatives to develop the products, practices and people of journalism’s future in a new role as Director of the Journalism Innovation Lab.

“I’m thrilled to be able to create a space where students and professionals can collaborate and innovate toward the next iteration of journalism,” Bright said. “The Journalism Innovation Lab will be committed to encouraging students to think boldly about where our industry should go next, while meeting specific needs in the field to serve our audiences and a functioning democracy.”

The Cox Institute’s Journalism Writing Lab will expand its scope by operating the Covering Poverty project, which was relaunched earlier this year by students funded through a Scripps Howard Foundation grant. This fall, the project will recruit a new group of students and alumni to work in partnership with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and The Athens Banner-Herald.  Lori Johnston (ABJ ’95, MFA ’17), a lecturer in the Journalism Department who oversaw the relaunch of Covering Poverty, will become Director of the Journalism Writing Lab. She will continue to manage the Covering Poverty project along with other content initiatives.

“I am thankful to the Cox Institute for being forward-thinking and for the relationships we have established with these important media outlets, and others to come,” Johnston said. “I look forward to guiding students as they report, write and produce meaningful stories about issues, people and places. They will deepen their reporting abilities and delve into the craft of storytelling and service journalism to help newsrooms tell these stories now, and then take those newfound skills into their careers.”

In addition to the new structure and projects housed in the Journalism Innovation Lab and the Journalism Writing Lab, the Cox Institute will continue to provide students with leadership training opportunities through initiatives such as the Levin Leaders Program and skills development opportunities through a variety of fellowship programs.

“We are enhancing the core of what the Cox Institute has built over three decades to make our programs an even more integral part of the journalism education our students receive,” said Dr. Keith Herndon (ABJ ’82), whose title will change from director to executive director of the Cox Institute as part of the new leadership structure. “Adding two respected colleagues in Amanda Bright and Lori Johnston to our leadership is a win for the Cox Institute and for the students we serve.”

The Cox Institute was established in 1990 by the late Conrad Fink, a legendary journalism professor, as the Cox Institute for Newspaper Management Studies. Its current name was adopted in 2014 to reflect the news media’s digital transformation. The Institute honors the late James M. Cox Jr., who headed Cox Enterprises and Cox Broadcasting Corporation from 1957 until 1974. Its primary funding is from the Jim Cox Jr. Foundation.

The 2021 Levin Leaders receive their Cox Institute leadership medals

The James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership has recognized its 2021 class of Levin Leaders by presenting the aspiring media leaders with their Leadership Medals.

The Levin Leaders were selected for the program from a pool of faculty nominations based on their commitment to professional development through work in student media, internships and other student activities. The 2021 Levin Leaders are Shaelyn Carroll, Willie Daniely, Alex English, Olivia Mead, Mackenzie Miles, Zachary Miles, Tylar Norman, Laura Nwogu, Caroline Odom, Samantha Perez, Kyra Posey, Jack Sadighian, Augusta Stone and Lora Yordanova.

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.

“You represent the best of us,” Davis said, reflecting on the competitive selection process. “We want you to know how important you are to the college.”

The Cox Institute also announced the winners of several Journalism Department scholarships during the dinner. Augusta Stone and Lora Yordanova were awarded Conrad C. Fink Scholarships, which are presented annually in memory of the late journalism professor who founded the Cox Institute. Jack Sadighian received the Todd M. Bauer Memorial Award, which was established by the Bauer family to honor their son by helping young journalists establish themselves in their early careers. The Cox Institute also announced Savannah Sicurella, a 2020 Levin Leader, as this year’s recipient of the Barry Hollander Award, which was established by former students in memory of the late journalism professor known for his steadfast defense of open meetings and records.

The students participating in the leadership program met weekly for eight weeks with Dr. Keith Herndon, director of the Cox Institute. The sessions, held socially distanced in the large Studio 100 or over Zoom, featured student discussions about leadership principles drawn from the “Your Leadership Edge” book published by the Kansas Leadership Center.

“These students have been through a lot over the past year and have demonstrated enormous resilience,” Herndon said. “We wanted our program this year to be encouraging while also challenging them to be introspective, empathetic and adaptable as they prepare for immense change in the coming decade.”

Shaelyn Carroll said the program made her think about the importance of embracing change, especially in the media industry, and also said it gave her new perspectives on the meaning of leadership.

“This program made me think of leadership as a choice rather than an appointed position; it is something you can choose to do every single day,” said Carroll.

The 2021 cohort also indicated the training’s emphasis on personal integrity and acting empathetically resonated with them.

“This program made me think of leadership as a way to live,” said Lora Yordanova. “It’s about living everyday with integrity, courage, empathy and vision even when no one is watching.”

Samantha Perez described leadership as “an opportunity to collaborate,” while Laura Nwogu said it means “amplifying the voices of others and giving them a stage to be leaders themselves.”

Since its inception nine years ago, the Cox Institute’s leadership training program has taught 127 of Grady’s best journalism students about leadership principles. The program was renamed the Levin Leaders Initiative in 2019 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 and other expenses of running the program. Levin is a nationally recognized expert on cyber security, privacy, identity theft, fraud, and personal finance. He was chairman and founder of CyberScout and was co-founder of Credit.com. He authored the book, “Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers, and Identity Thieves.”

Cox Institute’s eBook from The Lead Podcast Wins Gold Medals

This story was originally published on the Cox Institute page here.

An eBook featuring excerpts of interviews from The Lead podcast won two gold medals in the 2020 eLit Book Awards competition, which recognizes excellence in digital publishing.

The eBook entitled News Leadership: Conversations about Journalism and its Future was released by Kendall Hunt Publishing in December as a project of the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership, which also produces the podcast.

News Leadership received its first gold medal in a current events category for political, economic, legal and media topics. The eBook received its second gold medal in the category recognizing best use of multimedia.

“It was a pleasure to be able to synthesize important leadership and ethical concepts into an interactive tool for journalism students and educators,” said Charlotte Norsworthy, the Cox Institute’s Morris Master’s Fellow, who was the eBook’s lead editor. “By making these concepts more accessible, we are able to better equip students entering a fluctuating news industry.”

The eLit Books Awards, in their eleventh year, are a global awards program open to all members of the electronic publishing industry. The contest is presented by Jenkins Group Inc., a Michigan-based book publishing and marketing services company that has operated the popular Independent Publisher Book Awards contest since 1996. Electronic books written in English and created for the global marketplace were eligible for entry in 65 categories.

News Leadership features insights from established professionals and emerging thought leaders gleaned from their candid conversations with student hosts, including Norsworthy. Their insights offer advice, provide context, and create a sense of optimism for an industry grappling with transformative disruption.

The Lead podcast debuted in the Fall 2016 semester with Daniel Funke as its original student host for the first two semester-length seasons. Nate Bramel and Noelle Lashley took over hosting responsibilities for seasons three and four and Norsworthy led seasons five, six and seven.  In the upcoming season eight, which will debut during the fall semester, Norsworthy moves into the producer’s chair and will direct the episodes featuring the new student host, Caroline Odom.

Guests from The Lead who are featured in the eBook include Pulitzer Prize winners Alex Jones and Nick Chiles, Peabody Award winner Bob Sullivan, local television news legend Monica Kaufman-Pearson and renowned journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault. They are among the dozens of guests who share valuable words of advice with the student hosts and their audiences.

“The Lead podcast has evolved into an important educational resource for presenting insights into the leadership challenges confronting the news media,” said Keith Herndon, the Cox Institute’s director and co-editor of the eBook. “We are excited for this work to be recognized with these eLit Book Awards.”

News Leadership can be purchased through Kendall Hunt at https://he.kendallhunt.com/product/news-leadership-conversations-about-journalism-and-its-future

Kendall Hunt Publishing is a family owned and operated publishing company celebrating a 75-years history. The company has an immense library of course content with over 10,000 print and digital titles. For more information about the publisher, visit: http://he.kendallhunt.com.

Norsworthy and Herndon recorded a special bonus episode of The Lead featuring a discussion on the book’s production, which was posted with the book’s release. The episode can be heard here.

‘The Lead’ podcast wins first place in SPJ Regional Awards

The Society of Professional Journalists recognized Grady’s The Lead Podcast and its host Charlotte Norsworthy as among the best of collegiate journalism for Region 3 in 2019.

The Lead podcast received first place in the Mark of Excellence Awards competition for the region, which comprises student journalists from Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. First-place winners will compete at the national level among other winners from the 12 SPJ regions.

“It’s been such a rewarding experience to take The Lead podcast to new heights over the past two years as host,” Norsworthy said. “I am so grateful to have grown as a journalist alongside the podcast.”

The Grady College’s James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership produces the podcast. It debuted in the Fall 2016 semester with Daniel Funke as its original student host for the first two semester-length seasons. Nate Bramel and Noelle Lashley took over hosting responsibilities for seasons three and four and Norsworthy led seasons five, six and seven, and continues as its current host.

Guests on The Lead have included Pulitzer Prize winners Alex Jones and Nick Chiles, Peabody Award winners Bob Sullivan and Randy Travis, local television news legend Monica Kaufman-Pearson and renowned journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault. They are among the dozens of guests who have share valuable advice with Grady’s journalism students who are the podcast’s target audience. 

“We created The Lead podcast to provide another platform for engaging with the many exceptional guests who visit Grady,” said Keith Herndon, the Cox Institute’s director. “This award, however, reflects how Charlotte Norsworthy has used the podcast to demonstrate and showcase excellent journalistic interviewing techniques.”

Norsworthy will be completing her master’s degree in the fall semester and is moving into the producer’s chair for the Fall 2020 season, which means the Cox Institute is searching for its next student host.  Applications for the position are open through April 10 on UGA’s Handshake. 

The SPJ also recognized the University of Georgia’s independent student newspaper The Red & Black as the region’s best all around non-daily newspaper, and one of its reporters, Grady student Anila Yoganathan, won first place in general news reporting for a series on diversity at the university. 

Grady’s SPJ Wins Outstanding Chapter for Region 3

This story was originally published by the Cox Institute. 

The Grady College’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) was recognized as the outstanding student chapter in Region Three for the 2018-2019 academic year.

The Society honors a select group of campus chapters for their outstanding work in supporting the group’s missions, members and journalism. Each year, SPJ’s 12 regional coordinators and directors select campus chapters that have shown overall excellence. UGA’s chapter was selected from a regional group of more than a dozen chapters in Alabama, Florida, Georgia and South Carolina.

“We are thrilled to receive such an honor,” said Ashlyn Webb, a Grady senior and the chapter’s president for the 2019 year. “Our executive board has been dedicated to bringing resources in for Grady student journalists to excel in their academic and professional careers.”

Savannah Peat, a 2019 Grady graduate who was the chapter president during the 2018 year, said serving in a leadership role “was a lot of work, and a lot of fun, and earning this title makes it all the more worth it.” Peat, who is now a news producer at KOAT-TV in Albuquerque, NM, said she hopes those who came to the meetings learned important fundamentals about journalism that they will carry with them throughout their careers.

Grady’s chapter is governed by a student executive board elected for a calendar year, while the SPJ award recognizes an outstanding chapter for an academic year. The executive board for 2018 in addition to Peat included: Amy Scott (vice president), Maddie Ray (executive planner), Ashlyn Webb (marketing director) and Casey Rose (social media director). The executive board for 2019 in addition to Webb includes: Kelly Mayes (vice president), Joshua Tillman (executive planner) and Amy Scott (social media and marketing director).

The Grady SPJ chapter is operated in partnership with the student chapter of the Online News Association (ONA) and both are financially sponsored by Grady’s James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership. Dr. Keith Herndon, who is the Cox Institute director, also served as the student chapter adviser from Fall 2016 through Spring 2019. Grady’s Dr. Amanda Bright is the current chapter adviser.

“The student leaders deserve all of the credit for this award,” Herndon said. “It’s not easy to plan and execute quality programming for a volunteer organization. They are to be commended for a lot of hard work and dedication.”

Webb said the chapter intends to keep up the good work the award recognizes by featuring programs on topics including technology trends, ethical issues, media law and more. Peat added, “I’m so excited, thinking about future SPJ members being part of such an outstanding chapter.”

Students interested in joining ONA and SPJ at UGA can contact the organizations at onaspj@gmail.com.

Keith Herndon named Morris Chair

Keith Herndon (ABJ ’82), a professor of practice in journalism, has been named to the William S. Morris Chair in News Strategy and Management by the dean of Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“Keith Herndon is an innovator, an academic entrepreneur who works tirelessly on behalf of Grady students,” said Charles N. Davis, dean of Grady College. “I am delighted to see him uphold the proud legacy of the Morris Chair, which traces its roots to the legendary Conrad Fink. This is an important time for building leadership in journalism, as we work with our colleagues in the profession to help create new ways of producing and monetizing the work we do—and I can’t think of a better person to spearhead these efforts at Grady College.”

Herndon is the third professor to hold the Morris Chair. The late Conrad Fink, a legendary Grady professor, was the initial Morris Chair. He was followed by Professor Kent Middleton, who was head of the journalism department and is now professor emeritus.  The program began in 1995 as a named professorship and was elevated to an endowed chair in 2005.

William S. Morris III established the chair in memory of his late father, William S. Morris Jr., who joined the Augusta Chronicle as a bookkeeper in 1929 and rose through the ranks to publisher. He became the controlling partner in 1945 and developed the company into one of Georgia’s leading communications organizations.

Herndon takes pride in the history of the chair: “We honor the legacy of those represented by this chair—its namesake, its creator and the professors who held it—by moving forward with the challenge of training a next generation of news leaders who are prepared to defend the news media’s vital role in our democracy.”

Funding provided by the endowment will be used to expand graduate education in the area of news strategy and management through new academic and applied research initiatives. These plans include a new doctoral research fellowship and a new master’s level graduate assistantship.  Plans also include expanding Herndon’s collaborations and projects with UGA’s Fanning Institute for Leadership Development in the areas of strategic and ethical leadership.

Herndon will continue as director of the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership where he leads the Cox Institute Leaders program and the Grady Mobile News Lab.   Herndon, a Grady alumnus from the class of 1982, first taught at Grady as a lecturer in fall 2011. He returned the following year as a visiting professor and held that position until joining the full-time faculty in 2016. Herndon earned a Master of Liberal Studies from the University of Oklahoma in 1997 and completed a Ph.D. in Media and Information from Australia’s Curtin University in 2011.

Prior to teaching at Grady, he ran his own media and technology consulting firm and taught part-time at Kennesaw State University.  Previously, he worked at Cox Enterprises’ Internet division, serving as Vice President of Operations and Vice President for Planning and Product Development. He managed strategic partnerships and led technical diligence on Cox’s new media investments, serving on the board of directors of an investment recipient. He was also Director of Operations at Cox Radio Interactive, a pioneer in streaming media. Herndon began his career while at Grady, working as a reporter for his hometown paper in Elberton, Georgia, and then as a sportswriter for the Anderson (South Carolina) Independent and the Athens Banner-Herald. After graduation, he was a Pulliam Journalism Fellow with The Indianapolis News.  He was a business reporter at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution before becoming assistant business editor, deputy business editor and administrative editor.  Herndon is the author of “The Decline of the Daily Newspaper: How an American Institution Lost the Online Revolution” (Peter Lang, 2012). He also has published two business books about entrepreneurship and innovation.

Fanning Institute and Grady Faculty Explain Collaboration in Innovative Practice Paper

Faculty from the University of Georgia’s J.W. Fanning Institute for Leadership Development and the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication presented an innovative practice paper at this year’s annual conference of the Association of Leadership Educators in Chicago.

Herndon and Walker watch as McCline presents during the Association of Leadership Educators conference.

The presentation resulted from an ongoing collaboration between the Fanning Institute’s Brandy Walker and Rich McCline and Grady’s Keith Herndon.  Walker and McCline developed Q-Perspectives®, a proprietary tool for teaching key leadership theories. Herndon was an early adopter of the tool in his course called Managing News Organizations.

“Teaching leadership theory in a management course can be a daunting undertaking because you want the students to grasp the scope and depth of the material, but you don’t want it to take over the entire semester,” explained Herndon, director of the James M. Cox Jr Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership. “The tool developed by my colleagues at Fanning presented an efficient solution for engaging the students in deeper reflection of the material.”

Walker, the principle architect of the tool, explained that sharing leadership theories is challenging given the vast amount of publications that propose to share guiding principles, best practices, intervention techniques and other insights on leadership development and training.

“We have taken the often under-utilized Q methodology and used it to create a leadership teaching exercise that actually encourages participants to construct their own sense of leadership theory,” Walker said. “They are drawing from the insights of established theories, but are unrestricted by just one framework they might choose to adopt or the instructor might favor.”

Fanning developed the tool with game theory in mind and offers it as a flexible and versatile tool that can be used in face-to-face, online or in flipped classroom settings. The tool provides real-time analyses of results and generates individual and group worksheets for encouraging further discussion.

“Our tool offers a powerful alternative to surveys and traditional statistical analyses of participants’ perspectives,” said McCline. “We allow participants’ voices to emerge and coalesce across the wide-ranging net of leadership theories.”

Walker, McCline and their team have further refined the tool and its processes over the past year, and Herndon is looking forward to using it again during the fall semester. “This tool allows for a dynamic construction of a student’s personal perception of important leadership competencies,” he said. “It will be the catalyst for another round of robust discussions.”

For additional information on Q-Perspectives® or to arrange demo of the online version, please contact Brandy Walker at bbwalker@uga.edu.

Grady students recognized as 2017 Cox-SABEW Fellows

Six Grady College students were recognized in New York City during the fall conference of the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (SABEW) through a fellowship organized and sponsored by the college’s Cox Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership.

The students recognized as Cox-SABEW Fellows for 2017 were: Denver Ellison, Lisa Fu, Zachary Hansen, Reann Huber, Mollie Simon and Alex Soderstrom. The conference was held at the City University of New York on October 12 and 13.

This Cox-SABEW Fellowship was created to honor students who have taken the initiative to engage in business journalism through class assignments, student media and professional internships, explained Dr. Keith Herndon, director of the Cox Institute. This year’s group marked the fifth year of the partnership with SABEW, which was created in 2013 and has included 20 students to date.

“I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity being selected as a Cox-SABEW Fellow has given me,” said Soderstrom. “After being introduced to business reporting during my summer internship at the Atlanta Business Chronicle, the SABEW conference has allowed me to delve even further into the world of business journalism.”

Fu, who interned at Fortune magazine, called the Fellowship “a fantastic opportunity for me to network, learn and to explore the field of business journalism with my peers.” Simon, who interned in business news at NPR, said the Fellowship extended her training in an important aspect of news. “Business journalism cuts across so many fields that I know it will touch any topic I have the opportunity to cover in the future,” she said.

In addition to attending the conference, the Cox-SABEW Fellows met with working reporters and editors in the newsrooms of Fortune magazine, Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal. They also networked with Grady alumni and supporters currently working in business news and other news media organizations.

PILOT Sponsors UGA’s Grady Mobile News Lab for Fall 2017

The National Association of Broadcasters’ (NAB) PILOT innovation initiative will provide funding for VR equipment and training at the Grady College of Journalism.

 

NAB’s PILOT innovation initiative will sponsor the Mobile News Lab project at the University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication during Fall 2017. The sponsorship will provide the lab with new equipment for producing virtual reality content along with materials for training mobile-media best practices.

The Grady Mobile News Lab launched in Fall 2014 to provide students a forum to experiment with mobile production tools and design concepts. Students learn from Grady faculty, guest trainers and industry coaches as they engage in hands-on practice using mobile devices and applications to report and present news. This year, 18 students will work in three tracks: standard mobile video, social media and virtual reality video.

PILOT Executive Director John Clark said, “PILOT is delighted to support the work at Grady College and the Mobile News Lab students who are experimenting with VR to further develop next-generation storytelling.”

Charlotte Norsworthy and Mary Carol Butterfield brainstorm in the Grady Mobile News Lab.

Skip Pizzi, NAB’s Vice President of Technology Education and Outreach, added, “We’re proud to provide a PILOT sponsorship for this innovative program at the Grady College. It is a great opportunity to stimulate tomorrow’s journalists in learning about new tools that will help them better inform and engage their audiences.”

Ann Marie Jorgensen, a senior lab leader at Grady College, said the Mobile News Lab provides students with an environment to take risks and be creative with their story telling. “I’m grateful to work with my classmates in a fun and cutting edge way,” she said. Charlotte Norsworthy, a third-year lab leader, will incorporate her lab project into an undergraduate research thesis about virtual reality. “I am so excited that the Mobile News Lab has provided students such as myself the chance to engage in projects we can be proud of,” she said. “It gives us the opportunity to test the waters, try new things and build off of the strengths of our peers.”

The Grady Mobile News Lab is an extracurricular experiential learning opportunity presented by the college’s James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership.

Keith Herndon, director of the Cox Institute, said NAB’s sponsorship is vitally important because it allows the program to expand into virtual reality, a new area of training. “Students benefit greatly when exposed to emerging technologies in a lab setting,” he said. “It opens them up to thinking about what’s next. Students are engaged when they realize they will lead the next wave of innovation.”

About NAB

The National Association of Broadcasters is the premier advocacy association for America’s broadcasters. NAB advances radio and television interests in legislative, regulatory and public affairs. Through advocacy, education and innovation, NAB enables broadcasters to best serve their communities, strengthen their businesses and seize new opportunities in the digital age. Learn more at www.nab.org.

About PILOT

PILOT is a coalition of innovators, educators and advocates dedicated to advancing broadcast technology and cultivating new media opportunities. PILOT propels broadcast television and radio into the future. It provides a platform for innovation, an engine for incubation, a venue for testing new technologies and a forum for broadcaster education. Learn more at nabpilot.org.