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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Ten HBCU Student Newsrooms Awarded Nearly $200,000 To Enhance Journalism Efforts


Howard University professor Nikole Hannah-Jones and students Jacob Smith, Zoe Cummings and Trinity Webster-Bass discuss their work for “1619: The College Edition” in a panel discussion. (Source: Latrel Caton)

Ten student newsrooms at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will receive almost $200,000 to enhance campus newsroom technology, business operations, audience engagement, and reporting. The grants, provided by the Center for Journalism & Democracy at Howard University through its Newsroom Innovation Challenge, were announced on Friday.

“HBCU student newsrooms brim with talent, but often lack the resources needed to give students access to the cutting-edge technology and operational support that so many of their peers at predominately white institutions have,” Nikole Hannah-Jones, the center’s founder, said in a statement.

The money will also allow the newsrooms to pay stipends for student journalists, many of whom are unable to volunteer at their campus news organizations because they need to work jobs that pay.

Howard University’s Hilltop and HU News Service, and campus newsrooms at Morgan State University, University of the District of Columbia, Morehouse College, Florida A&M University, North Carolina A&T University, North Carolina Central University, Savannah State University, and Texas Southern University will each receive award packages that range from $4,000 to $29,000 and a one-time technology award.

Additionally, the newsrooms will receive funding to hire contributing writers, which can be renewed by application for up to five years. The newsroom teams will include a faculty adviser, a student staff member and two additional students who will be responsible for implementing the various growth plans.

The Trilogy, the University of the District of Columbia’s campus paper, has not been published in a decade, back when many current students were in elementary school. But with the grants received through the Center for Journalism & Democracy, UDC students will bring the paperback. Texas Southern University will use its award to launch a physical newsroom with computers and field kits for its staff. It will also be able to pay editors.

The news of the Newsroom Innovation Challenge awards comes just a month after the Knight Science Journalism Program at MIT announced its HBCU Science Journalism Fellowship, a fellowship program to provide HBCU students with training, mentorship and early-career support for reporting on science, health and environmental issues.

That fellowship’s inaugural cohort includes 10 journalists, representing Howard University, Morgan State University, Florida A&M University, North Carolina A&T State University, and Hampton University.

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