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Carnegie-Knight News21 Initiative
The national News21 Initiative is part of an effort on the part of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York to change the way journalism is taught in the U.S. and train a new generation of journalists capable of reshaping the news industry.
The Cronkite School serves as the national headquarters for the initiative, which includes top journalism students from across the country. Since 2008, the Cronkite School has been the recipient of nearly $10 million in grants from the two foundations to support the News21 program.
Students selected for the program participate – some of them via videoconference – in an intensive seminar in the spring semester of each year during which they research and hear from experts on a topic that will become the basis of a national investigation. The students then move into paid summer fellowships, during which they work out of the Cronkite School’s digital media complex in downtown Phoenix for 10 weeks in the summer. The fellows travel the country and sometimes go abroad to report stories and produce content for publication or broadcast across a number of platforms.
News21 national investigations have focused on food safety, transportation safety and voting rights.
The student works gets wide national distribution through partnerships with The Washington Post, MSNBC.com and the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity.
Students work under the direction of leading news veterans, including Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post, and Steve Doig, Knight Chair in Journalism and an expert in computer-assisted reporting. Their work has been recognized with numerous awards from the Online News Association, the Society of Professional Journalists and the Society of News Design, among others.
Other members of the summer News21 team include Retha Hill, former vice president for content for BET Interactive and director of the Cronkite School's Digital Media Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, who serves as the newsroom's digital leader, collaborating with students on how to best tell their investigative stories in innovative and compelling ways on multiple platforms; Steve Doig, a Pulitzer Prize-winning computer-assisted-reporting specialist and the school's Knight Chair in Journalism, who provides data analysis expertise and support; Micah Jamison, chief Web developer for the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Lab, who works with fellows throughout the summer to help operationalize their digital visions and innovations; and Associate Dean Kristin Gilger, former deputy managing editor of The Arizona Republic, who provides project oversight.
Carnegie and Knight launched News21 in 2005 as a cornerstone of the Carnegie-Knight Initiative with five universities: the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia University, Harvard University, Northwestern University and the University of Southern California. Three years later, seven other schools were added: ASU, University of Maryland, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, University of North Carolina, University of Texas and Syracuse University.
In 2011, News21 was opened to all journalism schools. New schools that joined the program in 2012 are Elon University, the University of Florida, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Oregon.
News21 is the latest digital news program at the Cronkite School, which has taken a national leadership role in preparing students for the dramatic changes in the news industry triggered by the digital revolution. Cronkite already is home to the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship, in which students learn to create and launch their own online news products; the New Media Innovation Lab, which serves as a research and development lab for news companies looking for digital solutions; and the Azcentral.com Multimedia Reporting Program, a partnership with The Arizona Republic in which students cover breaking news in multiple media for the newspaper’s website.
About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
About Carnegie Corporation of New York