An experiment designed to bring more attention to diversity issues in Nebraska is underway at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications. The college is joining with the Asian American Journalists Association and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association to hire and house a reporter who will cover diversity in the state.
The Heartland Project, funded by a $200,000 grant from the Ford Foundation, is designed "to increase media coverage of minorities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities in Nebraska," according to the AAJA press release.
Bobby Cainan Calvan, who most recently was a national political writer in the Boston Globe's Washington, D.C., bureau, was selected to lead the reporting efforts and to work with classes in the college. He will join forces with news organizations throughout Nebraska to produce stories and multimedia pieces about minority issues that the news organizations are willing to publish but don't have the staff to produce.
Journalism professor Gary Kebbel worked with Ford Foundation, the AAJA and the NLGJA to bring the project to the College of Journalism and Mass Communications.
Calvan will work with journalism faculty and students to produce multimedia projects that involve LGBT communities and communities of color, focusing on four topic areas: access to health care, economic recovery, immigration and domestic violence.
"The college is pleased to be part of this project that combines students, faculty and the industry in new ways to cover underreported diversity issues and then make those reports available to the state's media," said James O’Hanlon, interim dean.
Calvan also has been a reporter at the Sacramento Bee, and he covered the war in Iraq for McClatchy newspapers. He was a foreign reporting fellow for the International Center for Journalists in Laos.