Four Missouri School of Journalism students have been named the 2024 Student Innovation Fellows at the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute. The students will be placed with local news organizations around the country this summer, where they will work hands-on to create, extend or build upon innovative work in their newsrooms.
“This fellowship is a great opportunity for the students to create innovation for a community newsroom and build something that they can be proud of,” said Kat Duncan, director of innovation at RJI. “I’m excited to see what they achieve this summer.”
Partnered with a news organization that matches their interests, the students will work 30-40 hours per week for 12 weeks, each receiving an $8,000 stipend from the Palmer Innovation Endowment Fund and possible additional hourly pay from their news organization. They will also write articles for RJI’s Innovation in Focus series to help journalists and other industry professionals learn from their experiences.
This summer’s students and partners are:
- Jada Glass, Houston Defender Network
- Scout Hudson, The Hechinger Report
- Skye Lucas, The Markup
- Audrey Novinger, Next City
Meet the RJI Student Innovation Fellows
Junior Jada Glass will work for the Houston Defender, a digital news organization serving the Black community in the city of Houston and beyond that grew out of the nearly 100-year-old newspaper of the same name. She plans to create a strategic plan for audience development and growth.
“I knew that this opportunity would provide me with work experience that would prepare me for my career,” Glass said, noting that “the J-School has provided me with countless opportunities and resources to expand myself as a journalist as well as an individual.”
Glass, who is studying strategic communication, hopes to become a social media manager and interviewer in the field of entertainment journalism — a path well-served by her fellowship’s emphasis on building an audience.
Scout Hudson is a sophomore double majoring in journalism and constitutional democracy, and she will travel to New York City to work with The Hechinger Report, where she will further develop their solutions-based reporting approach, make long-form content more easily shareable and increase audience engagement.
Billing itself as “covering innovation and inequality in education,” The Hechinger Report is a nonprofit news outlet based at Columbia University.
“I’ve come to love the experimentation and creativity involved with newsroom innovation,” Hudson said. “I want to make a positive impact through journalism, and I feel this fellowship grants me the platform and the resources to achieve that.”
Currently the editor-in-chief at The Maneater, an independent student newspaper at the University of Missouri, Hudson said she aspires to become a long-form investigative reporter and book author.
Graduate student Skye Lucas, who is studying data visualization, will work remotely with The Markup, a nonprofit digital publication that describes itself as investigating “how powerful institutions are using technology to change our society.”
Though plans for Lucas’ fellowship are still in flux, she plans to learn more about data-driven analysis while helping journalists conduct investigations into social media platforms.
“I applied for this program with the intent to learn in the largest professional newsroom of my career,” Lucas said. “I look forward to examining not only how stories are made, but how journalism is evolving due to pressures from social media, increased access to data and AI at The Markup.”
Accordingly, her goal is to specialize in data journalism and data visualization after earning her graduate degree. She earned a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 2021.
Audrey Novinger is a junior student who recently transferred from Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. She will work remotely with Next City, a nonprofit digital newsroom that publishes solutions journalism about urban issues, including the pursuit of racial equity within cities.
The specifics of her fellowship have not yet been nailed down, but she expects to add to her digital literacy.
“I love to write, and I want to learn more digital skills,” Novinger said. “It’s a bonus that I was assigned to work with a news organization that shares my values for the environment and social justice.”
Novinger plans to attend graduate school after graduating. Beyond that, she said the impact of her work — not necessarily the specific type of work — will guide her decision, as she wants to create inspiring and positive content with a global perspective.