2017 Winners

Ten projects from U.S. universities each won a $35,000 micro-grant in the third round of the $1M Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education to seed collaborative news experiments in living labs — their communities. Follow their journey to hack their curriculum through live news experiments. These winners were featured on our website throughout the year.

The Winning Schools

Michigan State University — Can transmedia journalism help explain how school of choice affects rural and urban communities? | Project Leads: Rachel Reis Mourao and Joe Grimm | @MSUjschool ‏
How do families’ stories and data trends reflect deeper issues of racial and economic diversity and inequality?
Media partners: Gannett’s Lansing State Journal

Ohio University — Rural Remote Reporting Lab | Project Lead: Michelle Ferrier | @ohiou
How can community mapping and social media monitoring of Southeastern Ohio translate into news updates that can reach households in the counties that lack broadband access?
Media partners: WOUB Public Media, including WOUB-FM (91.3) and WOUB.org

San Jose State University — Audience Acquisition via Smart Speakers | Project Leads: Halima Kazem-Stojanovic and Julie Makinen | @SJSU ‏
Can news briefings on audio and video voice-enabled home assistant devices (aka “smart speakers) transform how audiences use those devices and help news organizations gain new audiences?
Media partners: California One

University of Arizona — Boosting community engagement through human-centered design | Project Lead: Michael McKisson | @uajschool ‏
Can students help local newsrooms better serve and engage the community by
researching a their unique needs and identifying ways to solve their problems?
Media partners: Arizona Daily Star, This is Tucson

University of Georgia — Virtual Water Infrastructure Crisis | Project Leads: Bart Wojdynski and Dr. Keith Herndon | @universityofga ‏
Can immersive 360 video can be used to explain critical water infrastructure to news consumers?
Media partners: CNN.com and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

University of Kansas — Datasmart Lawrence | Project Lead: Pam Fine | @KUnews
Can students develop a crowdsourcing framework for locally-focused, data-driven business and demographic news that could also be used by other small news organizations with limited staff resources?
Media partners: The Lawrence Journal-World

University of Miami — The face of a new Cuban diaspora | Project Leads: Sallie Hughes and Alejandro González | @univmiami ‏
What engagement, reporting and distribution techniques will transform Cubans who have arrived in Miami within the last 10 years, an oftentimes under-covered and civically disengaged population, into news consumers and contributors?
Media partners: 14ymedio and other Miami-based outlets

University of Mississippi — Oxford Stories Student News Wire Service | Project Lead: LaReeca Rucker | @OleMissRebels
Can students in Oxford, Miss. transform the local news landscape by creating a new distribution service?
Media partners: The University of Mississippi, HottyToddy.com and the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

University of Nevada, Reno — Adapting digital reporting tools for an immigration-focused student newsroom | Project Lead: Gi Woong Yun |@RSJNevada ‏
How might students build a pipeline for newsgathering, translation, and verification to strengthen local reporting on immigration issues and build trust among immigrant audiences?
Media partners: Meedan and KUNR Public Radio

University of Southern California, Annenberg — Making high-end VR accessible: Immersive storytelling for local communities | Project Lead: Robert Hernandez | @USCAnnenberg ‏
How can students use VR to tell stories of a local community to the local community, as well as translating those high-tech stories into easily accessible experiences?
Media partners: KCRW