Matt Waite Awarded Challenge Grant to Hack Journalism Curriculum

Matt Waite Awarded Challenge Grant to Hack Journalism Curriculum

Thursday, April 23, 2015 - 7:00pm
Matt Waite
Matt Waite

Matt Waite, professor of practice in journalism, won a $35,000 grant from the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education, administered through the Online News Association and funded by five major foundations. Waite is one of eleven winners nationwide.

The goal of the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education is to “hack” the journalism curriculum using innovative and experimental learning opportunities for students. The projects must be hands on and partner with a professional news organization, providing students a “teaching hospital” model of education. The fund supports universities to partner with news organizations and explore new ways of providing information to their local communities.

Waite’s project is “An Internet of Food Trucks: Adding Maker Culture to J-Schools through the Internet of Things.” The project will try to answer two questions: Can Maker culture expand digital experiences in journalism schools? And can a Maker Space project tracking food truck lines show news organizations how to develop commercially valuable data?

“It’s clear to me that the future of media lies at the intersection of technology and storytelling,” Waite said. “The more chances we have to get students involved in that intersection, the better prepared they’ll be.”

The University of Nebraska – Lincoln will partner with faculty at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism and Texas State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communications to develop curricular materials for journalism centric Maker projects. The three schools will also develop and distribute a device that will track food truck lines in partnership with the Omaha World Herald, Austin American Statesman and LA Times.

Professor Waite is the founder of the college’s Drone Journalism Lab and conducts Maker Hours, an open learning experience for students. From 2007-2011, he was a programmer and journalist for the St. Petersburg Times where he was part of a team that developed the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact. He is a frequent speaker at conferences and forums around the world on the use of drones, data-driven journalism and the future of media.

The fund is administered by the Online News Association with support from the Excellence and Ethics in Journalism Foundation, the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Democracy Fund and the Rita Allen Foundation. The fund launched last year with a $1 million in funding.

ONA Article