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ONA Challenge Funders

"Talk With Us" – Using Journalism to Stimulate Conversation and Elevate Awareness of Social Issues

A team from Gaylord College is among the first winners in a national competition to fund innovative news experiments that serve communities, the Online News Association has announced.

The college will receive a $35,000 grant to work with the nonprofit investigative journalism organization Oklahoma Watch, students and faculty, and university and community partners on a project focused on poverty in Oklahoma City.

Students will use mobile video and geographic data to experiment with the idea that creating a conversation in Oklahoma City between residents of low-income neighborhoods and area leaders will raise the issue of poverty on the public agenda. Research for the project will begin over summer 2014, and the project will continue through the 2014-15 academic year.

The projects at the 12 universities that were awarded the grants were chosen from 125 entries. Funders of the grant program are the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Democracy Fund. It is managed by the ONA, the world’s largest membership group of digital journalists.

The team for the Gaylord College project is led by Associate Dean David Craig and Oklahoma Watch Executive Editor David Fritze. Participants from Gaylord College faculty include Peter Gade, John Schmeltzer, Kathleen Johnson, Julie Jones and Melanie Wilderman. Student participants are yet to be named. Oklahoma Watch reporter Clifton Adcock will also be involved in the news reporting. Other partners include OU GIS librarian Jeffrey Widener, social work professor David Moxley, students at two charter schools in Oklahoma City, the Urban League of Greater Oklahoma City and KTUZ/KUTU.

Read more about the project.