by Deborah Potter
After almost 20 years of serving as a resource for journalists and journalism teachers, NewsLab’s structure will soon be changing to ensure that its mission of improving journalism will continue. NewsLab will become part of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media at the University of Mississippi on Oct. 2, 2017.
Launched in 1998 with a grant from the Park Foundation and support from the Project for Excellence in Journalism, NewsLab’s funding ran out more than a decade ago. Since then, I have maintained it as an online training center, funding it out of my pocket. Over the years, thousands of journalists, educators and students worldwide have benefited from NewsLab’s resources on reporting, producing, ethics, photojournalism and many other topics.
All current NewsLab resources will remain online at a new stand-alone site, hosted by the University. New material, including research projects and creative work, will be added by the Meek School.
I’m personally delighted that NewsLab has found a university home. One of NewsLab’s early goals was to serve as a bridge between television newsrooms and educators to help working journalists discover and apply the lessons of academic research. So in a way, NewsLab is going back to its roots.
The Meek School of Journalism and New Media offers two undergraduate degree programs: Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Bachelor of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications. Faculty in the school often work at the intersection of technology and content creation. Sustaining NewsLab will allow the school to share more widely the work of its faculty and students and to contribute to important conversations about media, communication and technology around the world.
“Under Deborah Potter’s leadership, NewsLab developed a reputation for supporting quality journalism across digital platforms,” said Dr. Will Norton, dean of the Meek School of Journalism and New Media. “As part of our school, the site will build on that foundation and expand its mission to include a broader range of communication fields in keeping with the focus of our school.”
For more information on the launch or to inquire about contributing to the new site, contact Dr. Debora Wenger at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That’s the official announcement. Watch for a new look on this site in early October.
What’s next for me? I’ll keep right on teaching. I’ll continue to hold workshops for journalists around the country and around the world. Later this month, I’ll see some of you at the Maine Association of Broadcasters conference in Augusta. In October, I’m off to train journalists in Nepal. And next spring I’ll be a visiting professor at the University of Montana in Missoula. I may collaborate with the Meek School’s NewsLab on future journalism projects.
The textbook I co-authored with Deb Wenger, “Advancing the Story,” will be out in a fourth edition next year. Both of us will continue to write about broadcast and digital news on the book’s companion site, Advancing the Story, as well as its Facebook page. And I may collaborate with the Meek School on future projects.
My twitter feed, @TVNewsLab, will get a new handle, so anyone following me now will keep getting my posts. I’ll turn over the NewsLab Facebook page to the Meek School. And I’ll keep getting email sent to NewsLab for at least a while, as I transition to dpotternews at gmail dot com.
I can’t wait to see what the NewsLab of the future will do to help journalists at all levels and in all media do better work. And in the current climate of polarization, mistrust and aggression toward journalists, that’s more important than ever.
So thanks for 20 great years, NewsLab, and here’s to many more.