UGA journalism student awarded internship funded by Scripps Howard Foundation

Editor’s Note: This feature was originally posted on the Cox Institute website.

Janelle Ward, a rising senior at the University of Georgia, will intern this summer with the Athens Banner-Herald as part of a program funded by the Scripps Howard Foundation.

The internship will be administered by the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

“I am truly honored and humbled to have been selected for this reputable internship and am elated to spend this summer improving my craft in the Athens Banner-Herald newsroom,” Ward said. “I’m thankful to the Scripps Howard Foundation, the Banner-Herald, the Cox Institute and my professors and mentors at Grady College for making all of this possible.”

Ward, who is pursuing dual undergraduate degrees in journalism and history, is expected to graduate in May 2022. She has worked as a reporter for The Red & Black producing general news and stories on topics including business and the arts. Her role in the spring 2021 semester as the independent student newspaper’s race reporter included event coverage and historical pieces. She has also served as the newspaper’s calendar editor. Ward was also the Charlayne Hunter-Gault intern at Chess and Community where she created material for the non-profit organization’s website and newsletter.

Caitlyn Stroh-Page (ABJ ’15), editor of the Athens Banner-Herald, said the newspaper is honored to host Ward this summer as part of the Cox Institute’s Journalism Innovation Lab program.

“Her storytelling, enhanced by her skills and passion, will no doubt be a service to the community,” said Stroh-Page.

The Scripps Howard Foundation’s sponsorship of the internship continues a relationship began last year when the foundation provided seed funding for the Cox Institute to relaunch and expand the college’s Covering Poverty initiative, which is also part of the Journalism Innovation Lab.

Keith Herndon, director of the Cox Institute, said Ward’s internship is another example of how the Journalism Innovation Lab works with industry partners to provide students with experiential learning opportunities.  He said more students will work in the lab this fall under the direction of Lori Johnston, a journalism lecturer. Their work will be published in the Athens Banner-Herald and OnlineAthens.com as part of the Covering Poverty project.

Stroh-Page said the newspaper is committed to providing training opportunities for student journalists through the Covering Poverty initiative.

“We hope to tackle some of the important issues facing the Athens area through a continuing partnership with the bright students and UGA faculty at the Cox Institute,” Stroh-Page said.

Scripps Howard Foundation awards grant to fund Cox Institute’s reporting project

The Scripps Howard Foundation has awarded a grant to the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership for a poverty reporting initiative.

The grant of $7,500 will fund the Cox Institute’s plans to use reporting on poverty as the topic for its student projects in the Fall 2020 Journalism Innovation Lab.

“The coverage of poverty and underserved communities touches communities and news organizations across the country. This program can provide students with meaningful experiences, lead to excellent journalism, and serve as a model and resource,” said Dr. Battinto L. Batts Jr., the director of journalism strategies with the Scripps Howard Foundation.

Keith Herndon, director of the Cox Institute, explained the funding from the Scripps Howard Foundation provides a new path for continuing a Covering Poverty online initiative that began more than a decade ago.

The work to update content, create original new content and relaunch the Covering Poverty resources will be done by a team of six journalism students under the direction of Lori Johnston, a lecturer in the Department of Journalism.

“I look forward to this tremendous opportunity to engage motivated, creative and talented journalism students who will explore innovative multimedia approaches, newsgathering techniques and storytelling on a meaningful real-world project,” Johnston said. “With the coronavirus pandemic, the 2020 election and social issues, there has never been a better time to equip journalists to report about underserved communities.”

The students will be selected for the Journalism Innovation Lab through faculty nominations early in the Fall semester. The selected students will receive Cox Innovation Fellowship scholarships for their participation in the program.

The original Covering Poverty project launched as a website in 2009. It was created with a grant awarded in 2008 by the University of Georgia Office of the Vice President for Public Service and Outreach, sponsored by the UGA Research Foundation. John Greenman, professor of journalism, emeritus, and Diane Murray, director of alumni relations and outreach, directed the program. Upon Greenman’s retirement in 2015, Murray continued to direct the program. Carolyn Crist (ABJ 09, MA ’14) started with the project as an undergraduate honors student and later was administrator of the website.

Since its inception, Covering Poverty provided reporting resources to more than 500 journalists annually who were covering poverty and related stories for news media organizations ranging from local newspapers to network television.

“We are very appreciative of the Scripps Howard Foundation for recognizing the importance of this resource and for providing the funds needed to continue it in a meaningful way,” Herndon said. “We are eager for our talented students under Lori Johnston’s leadership to once again provide this resource for our industry peers.”

Johnston also assisted the Cox Institute with the grant application process, which was led by Matt Pruitt, Associate Director of Foundation Relations in UGA’s Office of Corporate and Foundation Relations.