This year’s RJI Student Competition not bound by topic or campus boundaries

The sky’s the limit for participants in the 2017–2018 RJI Student Competition, sponsored by the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism. Previous competitions focused on a specific industry concern or platform. But this year students may address any issue facing the news media, including audience engagement, news productivity and accuracy.

“We are so excited about this year’s competition,” said Ebony Reed, RJI’s new director of innovation and the Futures Lab, who served as a judge for the last three competitions. “This year we’re offering more flexibility in the challenge to draw out even more creativity in the students. The news industry needs that creativity.”

The competition is open to journalism, engineering and business students at the University of Missouri or any participants who attend TigerHacks, a 36-hour hackathon, Oct. 13-15 at MU’s College of Engineering. The hackathon will provide participants with an opportunity to forge relationships and potentially build teams for the RJI Student Competition, which is conducted by the RJI Futures Lab. RJI is among the sponsors for the hackathon. Learn more about the hackathon at Tiger Hacks.

“Collaboration is such a critical part of journalism now,” said RJI’s executive director Randy Picht. “This competition gives students a great opportunity to see how great ideas can come together with the help of each other.”

An informational session for this year’s student competition will be held at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 19, at RJI’s Fred W. Smith Forum. New to this year’s competition: more workshop trainings with professionals.

Students will work in teams and receive coaching and guidance from Reed; Dale Musser, RJI chief technology adviser; Mike McKean, RJI associate director; Shawn Moore, RJI lead programmer; and Reuben Stern, director of the Missouri School of Journalism New York program.

All finalists receive a technology prize, which in past years included the Amazon Echo and Apple Watch. The winning team, which will be selected in spring 2018, will receive a trip to learn more about technology and journalism, and build networks and connections that can help foster their careers. Team Recordly, winners of the 2015-2016 competition, pitched their interview transcription app to executives at Apple, Google and Matter during their trip in May 2016 to Silicon Valley.

Student teams are also eligible for possible early stage investments.

Recordly earned financial backing from the Mid-MO Tech Accelerator and Chicago’s Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math incubator.

“Because of this competition and the outcome of it, my profile sparked interest among my colleagues at The Washington Post where I ended up working for the summer after I graduated,“ said Sintia Radu, a team member of Recordly. The iOS app is expected to launch this fall.

For more information, contact Ebony Reed at or 573-882-2922.


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