Archive — Resources

2014 Challenge Fund winners: Experiments for maximum impact

When we put out the call to J-school educators for the first round of experiments to #hackcurriculum for the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, we already knew we were hitting a rich vein just waiting to be mined.

We saw the momentum in our Facebook Educators group, where a virtual cohort of nearly 600 digitally hungry and committed academics exchange rapid-fire ideas on favorite tools, curriculum tips, job openings, how-tos and student motivation. We heard it in the halls of our annual conference, where academic attendance is climbing and more and more mentors compete to work with the best and brightest in the Student Newsroom. And we hear it in the frustration of dedicated, multitasking teachers who are searching for the means to creatively engage their students in the community and embed them in local media.

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Get ready for ONA’s DIY Ethics Code, because one size does not fit all

Most journalists understand the importance of an ethics code. But in our fast-changing profession, not everyone agrees on exactly what the code should say.

In an effort to bridge this gap, ONA is hard at work on a “Build Your Own Ethics Code” project, an outgrowth of the new News Ethics Committee. We’re curating a toolkit to help news outlets, as well as individual bloggers/journalists, create guidelines that respond to their own concepts of journalism.

An international group of about 25 contributors from news outlets, academia and social networks volunteered to write or review parts of the project, each taking a different topic. The first draft is nearly ready, and we’ll be opening it up for virtual crowdsourcing for comments in May at the International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy.

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Social newsgathering: Five key ethical challenges, Part II

Yesterday, we shared the mission of an ONA working group that aims to tackle the five key ethical challenges of social and digital newsgathering, starting with the first two, Verification and Accuracy, and Contributors’ Safety (read the post here). Today, we pick up where we left off:

3. Rights and legal issues

When do we have the right to share user-generated content on our platforms — to publish it, to distribute it, to embed it?

There’s a growing body of law around what is and isn’t fair game for news organizations to use. But it can be confusing, and every case is a little different. Also, there may be circumstances where the legal right to use someone’s content may not mean it’s the right thing to do, given the value of the work that’s been created.

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Social newsgathering: Charting an ethical course

Whether covering a plane crash or a war, the Oscars or the Olympics, today’s journalist needs to carry an oversized bag of reporting tools to gather the news accurately and effectively. And you’d better leave lots of room for social tools, given the powerful role social newsgathering now plays in discovering important information and content, especially when news breaks where there isn’t a professional journalist in sight.

The opportunities presented by these tools are endless and exciting. But a news landscape with deep social integration is also riddled with ethical concerns. So how can a journalist robustly engage in social newsgathering while remaining loyal to the central principles of ethical journalism?

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The challenge: Create, collaborate, apply — and disrupt

It’s not often you have a front seat to witness the effects of change.

When we launched the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, the brainchild of a collaborative that includes the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Democracy Fund, we knew the program was right in our sweet spot — the intersection of journalism and technology. Since the launch, though, we’ve been amazed by the interest, questions, ideas and explorations from countless numbers of journalism educators looking to expand their concepts of collaboration and news experiments within their university.

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Innovation in Journalism Education is spelled ‘C-L-E-A-R’

Innovation in Journalism Education (to me) is “C-L-E-A-R.”


Who is proposing the idea is less important than what is being proposed.


Encourage new leaders by supporting those who raise their hands and speak up.


Is there substantive internal risk taking? (Journalism educators are a creative bunch. Let them loose.)


It’s important to ask why something didn’t work. It’s more important to ask — and document –why it did. Focus on success.


Who are the benefactors and what are they getting in exchange for their risk?

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New ONA Board member; AP-Google Scholarship opens; free webinar on journalism trends

ONA welcomes BBC’s Steve Herrmann, new International Board appointee

ONA is delighted to announce the appointment of Steve Herrmann, Editor of BBC News Online, who joined the Board in January as our international member. Steve replaces Mario Tedeschini-Lalli, whose two-year term as our first overseas director ended in December, and who worked tirelessly to build up our partnerships and community as Chair of our International Committee.

Since January 2006, Steve has had overall responsibility for the digital output of BBC News on desktop website, tablet and mobile, in the UK and internationally. He leads a team of online journalists and also oversees content from a wide range of others across BBC News who contribute to the BBC’s online, on demand and multimedia output. He is a board member of the Global Editors Network and serves on the media advisory panel of the International Broadcasting Trust. Steve also ran for election for the ONA Board in 2013. Learn more about Steve.

Apply for the AP-Google Scholarship

Now in its final year, the AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship will award two $7,500 scholarships to undergraduate or graduate students pursuing innovative, creative projects in digital journalism.

Our two-year partnership with the Associated Press and Google is at an end, but we’re fortunate to have excess funds to support two more winners for the 2014-15 academic year. The deadline to apply is Feb. 21. Learn more about the scholarship, past winners and their projects.

We’re thankful to both AP and Google for supporting our inaugural program. We’re looking for additional scholarship partners for the 2015-16 academic year. If you or your organization are interested, please contact Irving Washington at

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Hack your reading list for innovative ideas on journalism education

We want to inspire and encourage you to submit projects for consideration for the $1 million Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, which will provide micro-grants up to $35,000 to teams of educators, students, professionals, technicians and researchers.

To get a snapshot of where to look for news and projects pushing the boundaries of journalism education, we asked the ONA Educators Facebook group, the collective consciousness of more than 500 educators around the world, which resources they follow.

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Happy Holidays from ONA

Thanks to everyone who helped keep the ONA community vibrant and innovative in 2013, encouraging us to push boundaries in our thinking, programming and events. Our gift to you is this roundup of invaluable resources created throughout the year.

Enjoy, and have a wonderful, peaceful holiday season.

Happy Holidays from ONA

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Journalism educators, this $1M is for you

You and your fellow j-school colleagues have been talking for far too long about that innovative experiment that will shake up your curriculum. There’s a talented student who just needs the right mix of collaboration and inspiration to fulfill her promise. You have a media partner willing to work with you and a cool engagement platform in mind. Researcher: Check. Designer? Could be. Developer? In the wings.

You’ve got the right ingredients to apply for the 2014 Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, and inject up to $35,000 in the form of a micro-grant that can push your idea to launch and — we hope — make both your curriculum and your local news landscape stronger.

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