Two Newhouse Students Will Participate in Carnegie-Knight News21 Voting Rights Investigation
Newhouse School students Alex Amico and Roman Knertser are among this year’s News21 Fellows. They and top journalism students from 17 other universities will lead an investigation into voting rights as part of the 2016 Carnegie-Knight News21 national multimedia investigative reporting initiative.
Amico, a junior, is a dual broadcast and digital journalism and political science major. Knertser is a graduate photography student.
Headquartered at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, News21 was established by the Carnegie Corp. of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to demonstrate that college journalism students, under the direction of top journalism professionals, can produce innovative and deeply reported multimedia projects for a national audience.
Thirty-one students are part of this year’s project, which focuses on the political divide between citizens with significant voting power and those without, particularly in disadvantaged communities. The students participated in a spring 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. This summer, they will work out of a state-of-the-art newsroom at the Cronkite School in downtown Phoenix and travel the country to report and produce their stories.
“We chose voter access and participation for this year’s News21 project in a national election year to investigate why groups of citizens, including Latinos, African-Americans and millennials, are still underrepresented among U. S. voters,” Downie says.
Previous national News21 projects have dealt with topics ranging from food safety to gun rights and regulations and the challenges facing veterans returning home from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Last year’s project, which examined the trend toward legalization of marijuana in the U.S., was published by major media partners, including The Washington Post, USA Today, nbcnews.com, the Center for Public Integrity and the E.W. Scripps Co., plus a number of nonprofit online news sites affiliated with the Institute for Non-Profit News.
This year, News21 is returning to a topic students first tackled in 2012, when they conducted the most exhaustive study ever of American election fraud.
“With each project, we look for new ways to push News21 to the forefront with an original presentation that provides both an investigative and an immersive experience,” says News21 executive editor Jacquee Petchel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who headed investigations at the Houston Chronicle before joining the Cronkite School. “So this year, innovative storytelling will be paramount as we explore untapped data, VR/360 visuals and the latest in digital tools and graphics.”
News21 projects have won numerous awards, including four EPPY Awards from Editor & Publisher magazine, the first Student Edward R. Murrow Award for video excellence and a host of honors by the Society of Professional Journalists and the Hearst Awards Program, considered the Pulitzer Prizes of collegiate journalism.
Fellows are selected for the highly competitive, paid summer fellowships based on nominations submitted by journalism deans and directors from across the country as well as how they perform in the spring seminar, during which they prepare by deeply immersing themselves in the topic.