The Knight Foundation Fund has awarded a $47,150 grant to UMD to fund a collaborative community journalism project.
In April 2016, media from northeastern Minnesota and northwestern Wisconsin will put a special focus on one topic: the St. Louis River. Newspapers, television and radio stations, bloggers, photographers, citizen journalists, and college and high school students will all be asked to produce their own independent content about the river. The print, video, audio and multimedia stories will then be collected and preserved under one umbrella: “One River, Many Stories.”
Local media professionals, educators and nonprofit leaders gathered Tuesday morning to launch the project, a partnership between the UMD journalism program and area journalists. Funded through a Knight Foundation Fund grant from the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation, the project will test ways media collaboration can inspire innovation and nurture engagement among professional journalists, educators and citizen storytellers in the Duluth area.
The river corridor was an easy choice for the topic. Government leaders, local nonprofits and citizens are all passionately working to retell the narratives of places along the river. The St. Louis’ rich history parallels the story of this region: stories of triumph, struggle and renewal. Duluth’s past, present and future can be found in the river’s diverse and ever-changing landscape.
UMD is in the process of hiring a project coordinator to oversee the year-long project’s execution. The university will also facilitate an internship program where student journalists can be paired with media professionals, as well as a monthly training session for community members. Upon the completion of “One River, Many Stories,” the process behind the project will be published in booklet and video form. The hope is that other communities will use it as a model to embark on their own experiments in collaboration.
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