Georgia News Lab, New Mexico News Port win Challenge Fund grand prizes

By on September 24, 2015

Over the past two years, we’ve chosen 23 winning projects in our $1M contest to encourage educators to hack the journalism curriculum. The competitive Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education was created in 2014 to encourage journalism programs to experiment with new ways of providing news and information.

Today we announce a grand-prize winner for the Challenge Fund to two schools — and their collaborators — that embody the full spirit of the challenge. Georgia News Lab and its partners, led by the University of Georgia, will receive $65,000 for their innovative project, a series that led to a state ethics commission investigation into a program that squandered millions of dollars of federal HIV grant money. This was an impressive collaboration among four schools and two media companies in the state.

We also awarded $10,000 to the University of New Mexico for building its first news innovation lab run by students, the New Mexico News Port, with 75 students and seven partner organizations.

The fund is the brainchild of a collaborative that includes the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation, and is managed by ONA, the world’s largest membership group of digital journalists.


Irving Washington

Irving Washington is the Executive Director/CEO for the Online News Association (ONA), the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists. As a media diversity advocate, Irving has led programming and fundraising initiatives for journalists, media professionals, and students worldwide.