Three CoJMC students will participate in News21 this summer

Monday, April 7, 2014 - 7:00pm

Three University of Nebraska-Lincoln students will participate this summer in a national investigative reporting project on state gun control efforts and gun rights issues as part of the Carnegie-Knight News21 national multimedia reporting initiative.

The College of Journalism and Mass Communications’ students chosen to participate in the prestigious program are Robby Korth of Fayetteville, Ark., Jacy Marmaduke of Carrollton, Texax, and Morgan Spiehs of Wood River. 

Korth, who is majoring in journalism, will graduate in May 2014. Currently he is a reporting intern with the Lincoln Journal Star He has held a reporting internship with the Bozeman (Montana) Daily Chronicle; a social media internship with KNWA and KFTA; and a video internship with KUAF where he produced a promotional video titled "Ozarks at Large." Korth held a reporting fellowship with The Omaha World-Herald in spring 2013.

Marmaduke, who is majoring in journalism, expects to graduate in 2015. She interned on the breaking news desk of the Dallas Morning News, the Grand Island Independent and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. She served as a reporter, news assignment editor and managing editor at The Daily Nebraskan. 

Spiehs expects to graduate in December 2014 with a degree in journalism. She worked for The Daily Nebraskan for more than two years, first as a staff photographer, then as the photo editor. Spiehs has interned for five weekly newspapers in Nebraska to the second largest newspaper in the state, the Lincoln Journal Star. She has worked in India, Brazil and Ethiopia for photo-documentary projects.

The three joined top journalism students from 15 universities this spring to research and report on gun issues as part of a seminar 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. The seminar included special guest speakers such as Bob Woodward and Jeff Leen of The Washington Post. 

Downie said the focus on gun issues, especially as they play out on the state level, is timely in the aftermath of the Newtown school shootings a year ago and the ongoing congressional stalemate over federal gun legislation.

Students from the seminar then go on to paid summer fellowships, during which they travel across the country to report stories and produce content for publication or broadcast across a number of platforms. The fellows work under the direction of News21 Executive Editor Jacquee Petchel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former senior editor for investigations and enterprise at the Houston Chronicle. 

“Few national issues are as contentious among the American public and politicians as those affecting gun rights and gun control legislation,” Petchel said. “With that in mind, no time is better than now for News21 to investigate one of the most polarizing issues in the country and examine with diligence and balance the rhetoric and the reality on both sides of the debate.”

Past News21 national projects have focused on voting rights, food safety and transportation safety. News21 works with The Washington Post, and the Washington-based Center for Public Integrity, all of which have published large portions of the students’ work. 

Downie called News21 an extraordinary opportunity for outstanding student journalists. 

“The journalism the students produce during the summer under professional editorial direction in the Cronkite School newsroom will both benefit our print, broadcast and digital partners and give the students invaluable experience for future employment," he said.

Individual students are funded by their universities and by individual donors and foundations. The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation supports fellows from the University of Oklahoma and ASU; the Hearst Foundations and the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation support ASU fellows; the Peter Kiewit Foundation is funding students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and George Washington University fellows are supported by the Kathryn Green Endowment and Stephen Holly Bronz Endowment. 

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation: The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation advances journalism in the digital age and invests in the vitality of communities where the Knight brothers owned newspapers. The Knight Foundation focuses on projects that promote informed and engaged communities and lead to transformational change 

The Carnegie Corporation of New York: The Carnegie Corporation of New York, which was established by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 "to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding," is one of the oldest, largest and most influential American grant-making foundations. The foundation makes grants to promote international peace and to advance education and knowledge.

The Miami Foundation: Established in 1967, The Miami Foundation, formerly the Dade Community Foundation, has helped hundreds of people create personal, permanent and powerful legacies by establishing custom charitable funds. With the foundation’s help, fund holders have fostered the arts, awarded scholarships, championed diversity, taught children to read, provided food and shelter for the hungry and homeless and more.

The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation: The Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, headquartered in Oklahoma City, was founded by Edith Kinney Gaylord, the daughter of Daily Oklahoman Publisher E.K. Gaylord. Ms. Gaylord created the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation in 1982 to improve the quality of journalism by supporting research and creative projects that promote excellence and foster high ethical standards in journalism.

The Hearst Foundations: Publisher and philanthropist William Randolph Hearst founded The Hearst Foundation Inc. in 1945. Three years later, he established the California Charities Foundation, which was renamed the William Randolph Hearst Foundation in 1951. Today the foundations operate as a single entity under the name the Hearst Foundations and function as private philanthropic organizations independent of The Hearst Corporation. The foundations’ funding priorities include the fields of education, health, culture and social service.

The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation: The Donald W. Reynolds Foundation is a national philanthropic organization founded in 1954 by the late media entrepreneur for whom it is named. Headquartered in Las Vegas, it has committed more than $115 million nationwide through its Journalism Program.

The Peter Kiewit Foundation: The Peter Kiewit Foundation was formed in 1979 and is committed to charitable endeavors in Omaha, Neb., and the surrounding region. The foundation awards grants in the areas of education, the arts, children and families, community development, health and human services.