Meek School major Brittany Brown is one of 26 students from 19 universities selected to participate in a major national investigation into hate crimes in the U.S. as part of the 2017 Carnegie-Knight News21 multimedia reporting initiative.
Brittany is a junior from Quitman, majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in Spanish. She is in the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and a digital content producer, anchor and correspondent for NewsWatch Ole Miss. She was an intern at WTOK-TV in Meridian and a research intern in the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Summer Research Program, and she is co-president of the University of Mississippi Association of Black Journalists.
Headquartered at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, News21 was established by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to demonstrate that college journalism students can produce innovative, in-depth multimedia projects on a national scale.
Students from journalism programs across the U.S., as well as Canada and Ireland, will join Cronkite students for the 2018 investigation. They will examine the major issues surrounding hate crimes in America.
The students are participating in a spring semester seminar in which they are conducting research, interviewing experts and beginning their reporting. The seminar is taught in person and via video conference by Leonard Downie Jr., former executive editor of The Washington Post and Cronkite’s Weil Family Professor of Journalism, and News21 Executive Editor Jacquee Petchel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former senior editor for investigations and enterprise at the Houston Chronicle.
“We chose hate crimes and hate incidents as this year’s timely News21 topic because of the apparent increase throughout the country of such acts – from bullying and vandalism to assaults and murders – involving racial, religious, nationality, gender and sexual orientation bias,” Downie said.
Following the seminar, students move into paid summer fellowships, during which they work out of a newsroom at the Cronkite School in Phoenix and travel across the country to report and produce their stories.
“We will be able to do what many newsrooms cannot, which is to deploy dozens of student journalists to investigate the culture of hate and related acts of violence in every state in the nation,” Petchel said. “Not only do recent attacks on people of different races and religions call for it, it is the right thing to do in the name of public service journalism.”
Over the past eight years, Carnegie-Knight News21 projects have included investigations into voting rights, post-9/11 veterans, marijuana laws and guns in America, among other topics. The projects have won numerous awards, including four EPPY Awards from Editor & Publisher magazine, the Student Edward R. Murrow Award for video excellence, and a host of honors from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hearst Awards Program, considered the Pulitzer Prizes of collegiate journalism.
Cronkite fellows will be named later this semester. In addition to the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi, the other universities are:
- DePauw University, Greencastle, Indiana
- Dublin City University, School of Communications, Dublin, Ireland
- Elon University, School of Communications, Elon, North Carolina
- George Washington University, School of Media and Public Affairs, Washington, D.C.
- Indiana University, The Media School, Bloomington, Indiana
- Kent State University, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Kent, Ohio
- Louisiana State University, Manship School of Mass Communication, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
- Morgan State University, School of Global Journalism and Communication, Baltimore, Maryland
- St. Bonaventure University, Jandoli School of Communication, St. Bonaventure, New York
- Syracuse University, S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Syracuse, N.Y.
- University of British Columbia, Graduate School of Journalism, British Columbia, Canada
- University of Colorado Boulder, College of Media, Communication and Information, Boulder, Colorado
- University of Iowa, School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Iowa City, Iowa
- University of North Texas, Mayborn School of Journalism, Denton, Texas
- University of Oklahoma, Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication, Norman, Oklahoma
- University of Tennessee, School of Journalism & Electronic Media, Knoxville, Tennessee
- University of Texas at Austin, School of Journalism, Austin, Texas
The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provides core support for the News21 program. Individual fellows are supported by their universities as well as a variety of foundations, news organizations and philanthropists that include the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, Hearst Foundations, Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, International Ireland Funds, The Arizona Republic, The Dallas Morning News, Myrta J. Pulliam, John and Patty Williams, and Louis A. “Chip” Weil.