ONA names winners of j-school Challenge Fund grants

Gun control, public housing conditions, rising sea levels and air quality are among the topics that 12 university journalism schools plan to tackle with micro-grants provided by the Challenge Fund.

Four foundations that sponsor the fund put out a call last October seeking project proposals from journalism programs that would promote innovation in community news coverage and experimentation in digital technology.

The Online News Association, which administers the grants, announced the winners Friday, along with descriptions of the projects as they might be distilled down to a tweet:

  • Arizona State University: “Public engagement tools can influence coverage and change the conversation – even on an issue as contentious as guns.”
  • CUNY Graduate School of Journalism: “.@cunyjschool & @NYDailyNews crowdsource mold scourge in public housing to bring action/#accountability”
  • Florida International University: “Always live hyperlocal sea level rise news and mobile info. How does SLR impact where you live? #SLRSoFla #crowdhydrology”
  • Georgia Collaborative — Clark Atlanta University, Georgia State University, Morehouse College, and University of Georgia: “New partnership will train students in investigative reporting & data journalism, diversify newsrooms, engage community & #hackcurriculum”
  • San Diego State University: “What’s in the air in San Diego? SDSU students collaborate with local media to find out. Help us collect the data!”
  • San Francisco State University: “#Newspoints guides, organizes and maps your #reporting, interviews and #multimedia. Put your reporting on the map. http://www.newspoints.info
  • Texas State University: “Music tells the stories of a community, it’s history, culture, economy and social interaction. Share your story.”
  • University of Illinois: “See how social media intersects with your life every day and in every way even if you don’t see it – whether events, policies, ideas, opinions or decisions.”
  • University of Missouri: “Citizens have their say as experts, deciders & reporters listen.”
  • University of New Mexico: “Strange bedfellows? News & Strat Comm students launch start-up. “We make local news go viral!” #UNM”
  • University of Oklahoma: “Our @ONA grant proposal: conversation on poverty in Oklahoma City with mobile video, GIS #hackcurriculum”
  • University of Wisconsin-Madison: “Who watches Wisconsin water? @WisWatch & @UWMadison students reporting on quality & supply. Join us at bit.ly/WaterWatchApp & @waterwatchwi”

Honorable mentions went to: American University, Columbia College, DePaul University, El Paso Community College, Emerson College, Howard University, Mercer University, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Kansas, University of Minnesota, USC-Annenberg, Virginia Commonwealth University and West Virginia University.

Each of the winners receive $35,000 grants funded by the Knight Foundation, McCormick Foundation, Democracy Fund and Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

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