For the spring 2015 semester, CU News Corps will delve into two aspects of public education: freedom of expression and school safety.
One enterprise will be a documentary film tentatively titled “Taking the Lede.” News Corps has enlisted the help of Dr. Marguerite Moritz, the producer of the award-winning documentary “Covering Columbine,” to help tell the story of student press freedom over the 25 years since the Colorado General Assembly passed the Student Freedom of Expression Law in 1990.
The new documentary will tell the stories of student journalists who have covered difficult stories during times of crisis; who have done ground-breaking investigative work that brought the Pentagon’s wheels to a grinding halt; and who have drawn attention to critical human rights issues.
The second News Corps enterprise will look at teachers’ attitudes toward guns in schools, even as the legislature looks at allowing open-carry in public schools. It will also gauge the level of true student press freedom in Colorado in the 25 years since the passage of the 1990 law that grants students full First Amendment rights.
CU News Corps is a course offered through the Journalism & Mass Communication program at the University of Colorado Boulder. The course aims at providing student-produced news stories, multimedia work and interactive information to Colorado and national media outlets. Recently, CU News Corps students have won several awards for their reporting from organizations such as the Denver Press Club and the Society of Professional Journalists.
Last semester, CU News Corps conducted a series of fact checks during the 2014 Colorado and national election cycle. This project culminated in a larger piece on the efficacy of political fact checking, which involved an extensive survey of Denver metro area voters conducted by Aspen Research on behalf of CU News Corps. This story was featured on the front page of politifact.org.
During the spring semester of 2014, CU News Corps focused on inequality with its Work and Wages project. Two articles from this project were published in the Denver Post. The first, by Lars Gesing, investigated the relationship between the national unemployment rate and congressional incumbents’ reelection prospects. The second, by Paul McDivitt and Jake Kincaid, explored the debate among economists about whether or not to raise the federal minimum wage.
CU News Corps is made up of graduate students and advanced undergrads in the College of Media, Communication and Information at the the University of Colorado.
Jeff Browne inherited News Corps from Sandra Fish in August 2013. In addition to CU News Corps, Browne serves as co-coordinator of dLab for the Journalism & Mass Communication program. He has 25 years experience as a journalism teacher and administrator, most recently at the University of Kansas, where he was a lecturer in multimedia journalism for the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. He also served as the executive director of the Kansas Scholastic Press Association and as the director of the Kansas Journalism Institute. For 10 years, Browne worked in Student Media at Colorado State University, first as adviser to the daily student newspaper, then as director of Student Media. He also taught journalism and English at Smoky Hill High School in Aurora, Colo., and he worked as a reporter and columnist at daily newspapers in Florida.
Meg Moritz is a filmmaker and Professor Emerita at the University of Colorado. A former news and documentary producer, she has worked as an independent filmmaker for several years. She wrote directed and produced “Covering Columbine” which has been screened on PBS as well as in various venues in France, Sweden, South Africa, Turkey and China. She was the writer on “Scouts Honor,” a film that won the freedom of expression award and the best documentary audience award at Sundance. She is a graduate of the Medill School of Journalism and her doctorate is from Northwestern’s School of Speech.
Lars Gesing is a second-year master’s student in the JMC program and concentrates on professional newsgathering for online, print and broadcast news. He is originally from Germany and worked for various media and news outlets in his home country before coming to the U.S. in 2013. He earned his undergraduate degree in sports journalism.
Paul McDivitt is a second-year master’s student studying journalism and mass communication research. He’s also pursuing a graduate certificate in Environment, Policy, and Society.
Peri Duncan is a third-year undergraduate student at the University of Colorado at Boulder working toward a B.S. in News Editorial Journalism and Computer Science. She is also pursuing a Technology, Arts, and Media certificate through the ATLAS program. Along with writing for CU News Corps, she is currently working on a project to design a transmedia storyworld for the Western Wildfire Project, working alongside Michael Kodas and the Scripps Fellows with the Center for Environmental Journalism at CU.
Roxann Elliott is a first-year graduate student in the journalism program at CU Boulder. She moved to Colorado two years ago from Alaska, where she earned her bachelor’s in justice from the University of Alaska Anchorage. As a member of News Corps, she is currently working on the documentary “Rough Draft” as a student producer. Outside News Corps, she wrote a feature on CU’s MAVEN orbiter that is running in Ad Astra’s spring 2015 issue.
Ted Phillips is a first-year master’s student focusing on multimedia science journalism. He is heading up the editing efforts on the current News Corps documentary project. His undergraduate background centers on marine zoology, animal behavior and documentary studies.
Natalia Bayona is a first-year graduate student studying environmental journalism at CU Boulder. As a child growing up in Florida, her love for the ocean sparked her interest in aquatic biology, conservation, and the human connection to water. Natalia wishes to remain immersed in these topics as a science photojournalist by investigating local issues such as Western river ecology and management. In her free time, Natalia writes for CU-Boulder Today. She also enjoys hiking, biking, practicing yoga, and hanging out with her cat, Lily. For a comprehensive view of her work, check out her website.
Lo Snelgrove is a first-year graduate journalism student most interested in multimedia and in-depth storytelling. In addition to her studies, she assists in the production of CU’s television news show, News Team Boulder, which broadcasts live twice weekly. She also works as a communications assistant for CU-Boulder’s Graduate School.