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The University of New Mexico Communication & Journalism department is one of a dozen winners of the Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education grant, as announced by the Online News Association.

Each winning institution receives a $35,000 micro-grant to support live, local news experiments. Winners can then compete to win up to $100,000 for best project and evaluation.

Karen Foss, chair, UNM Communication & Journalism, said, “We're delighted to have this opportunity for innovation in our journalism program. Our students will reap the benefit of developing and putting to use the information lab with our partners in the communication industries in the community. It is an exciting time for all of us to see the possibilities unfold.”

The announcement of the winners took place at the Journalism Interactive Conference in College Park, Md. Kate Nash, part time instructor and writing coach for the Daily Lobo, represented UNM at the event.

UNM’s project asks the question: University of New Mexico, “New Mexico News Port:” Can a student-powered lab and publishing platform that curates content from a collaboration hub increate news in New Mexico?

Michael Marcotte, Professor of Practice in Communication & Journalism, is spearheading the project at UNM with media partners KUNM, NMPBS and the Daily Lobo. He said, “The challenge is designed to create experimental space for journalism education. We are proposing an information lab through which we can train students, while keeping the news distribution needs of our partners in mind.”

 Marcotte added that he plans to leverage the grant to do some fundraising to bring the information lab to fruition.