"Intersections: The South LA Reporting Project," wins $25k Knight Foundation grant
Posted April 21, 2009
USC Annenberg's "Intersections: The South Los Angeles Reporting Project" was one of eight community journalism initiatives to be awarded $25,000 in grant money from the Knight Foundation
's New Voices program, the Institute for Interactive Journalism announced
. The winners were selected from 304 applicants.
The Project, scheduled to launch May 5, features multimedia reporting on South Los Angeles community news and issues. Its goals are to create a two-way street for South Los Angeles communities and the media; to generate more, much-needed stories; and to train a new generation of journalists for open-minded, culturally literate reporting. It will team with USC Annenberg's Annenberg Radio News, Watt Way digital magazine, Metamorphosis Project and VozMob (Mobile Voices). Intersections has already launched a successful mentoring program at Crenshaw High School, where USC Annenberg Journalism students have been working with several classes at Crenshaw to produce audio slideshows, radio commentaries and blogs.
"Hyperlocal news sites like the South Los Angeles Reporting Project fill a void by supplying meaningful coverage that mainstream media have been unable or unwilling to provide," said journalism professor Bill Celis (pictured, above), a former national correspondent for The New York Times and former reporter at The Wall Street Journal. "We're hopeful that the site will, in time, become a widely used resource by the residents of South Los Angeles."
Celis and journalism professor Willa Seidenberg (pictured, right), who serve as co-directors for Intersections, said the site's objectives are three-fold:
- Teaching students urban reporting
- Partnering with the community
- Mentoring local high school students
"The grant from the Knight Foundation will help tremendously with community involvement because it will enable us to hire a coordinator," said Seidenberg, also the director for Annenberg Radio News. "We want to keep the site fresh — even during the summer."
The grant awards $17,000 this year and $8,000 in matching support in 2010.
“Particularly notable among this year’s winners is a deep understanding of what it will take to launch a hyperlocal site and regularly refresh content," said Jan Schaffer, director of J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, which administers the New Voices program at American University’s School of Communication. "They also had great familiarity with digital media tools."
Added Bruce Koon, news director of KQED radio and a New Voices Advisory Board member: "With all the anxiety about the future of journalism and news outlets, these projects are a breath of fresh air because of their creativity and commitment to serving communities. They're providing valuable lessons for the future."
More about Intersections: The South Los Angeles Reporting Project:Enter USC Annenberg News Archive »back to top
The Annenberg School at the University of Southern California will spearhead the creation of a community news Web site for a region that is home to African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and immigrants. The project will use multimedia reporting by journalism students, community residents and community leaders and will focus on education, economic development, housing and immigration. Project leaders will target print and broadcast outlets that might also use Intersection stories. They will also work with student-run Annenberg Radio News and Annenberg TV News, and will partner with Mobile Voices, a USC Annenberg storytelling platform designed to help low-wage immigrants develop mobile media skills.