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News21 investigates voting rights

March 26, 2012

Top journalism students from around the country will gather at Arizona State University this summer to conduct a national investigative reporting project on voting rights as part of the highly acclaimed Carnegie-Knight News21 program.

The program, headquartered at ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, is an effort on the part of the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to change the way journalism is taught and train a new generation of journalists capable of reshaping the news industry. News21 student journalists produce in-depth news coverage on critical issues facing the nation, using innovative digital methods to distribute the news on multiple platforms.

This is the first year that News21, which launched in 2006 with summer incubators at four schools, is open to students from any accredited U.S. journalism school. Students from 12 universities are participating in this year’s project, a national investigation into voting rights in the United States.

Past News21 national projects have focused on food safety and transportation safety. News21 partners with The Washington Post, and the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity, all of which have published large portions of the students’ work.

This year’s program includes a semester-long seminar on voting rights led by Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post and Cronkite’s Weil Family Professor of Journalism. Using Adobe Connect teleconference technology, more than two dozen students across the country are participating in the seminar this spring, hearing from numerous election experts, officials and advocates and conducting research in preparation for the summer reporting project.      

Students from the seminar then go onto paid summer fellowships, during which they travel across the country to report stories and produce content for publication or broadcast across a number of platforms.

Fellows will work out of the Cronkite School’s newsroom under the direction of News21 Executive Editor Bill Marimow, former editor of The Philadelphia Inquirer and The Baltimore Sun and former vice president of news at NPR. Marimow will be assisted by University of Arkansas Associate Professor Gerald Jordan, a veteran journalist who has worked for The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Kansas City Star and The Boston Globe.

"This is the kind of experience that will prepare students to work in any news organization, combining the best in traditional tools of the journalistic trade with the digital skills needed in today's newsrooms," Marimow said.

Downie called News21 an extraordinary opportunity for outstanding student journalists to produce professional-quality, in-depth multimedia journalism on a timely subject of national importance.

“The journalism the students produce during the summer under professional editorial direction in the Cronkite School newsroom will both benefit our print, broadcast and digital partners and give the students invaluable experience for future employment," he said.

2012 News21 Schools

• Arizona State University

• Elon University

• University of Florida

• Harvard University

• University of Maryland

• University of Missouri

• University of Nebraska

• University of North Carolina

• University of Oklahoma

• University of Oregon

• Syracuse University

• University of Texas – Austin