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FAMUAN Receives Award from the Center for Journalism and Democracy

Heather Johnson
Heather Johnson

The FAMUAN, part of Florida A&M University’s (FAMU) School of Journalism & Graphic Communication (SJGC), was recently named one of 10 newsrooms at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) to receive funding from Howard University’s Center for Journalism and Democracy through its inaugural Newsroom Innovation Challenge.

The awards are designed to improve newsroom technology, business operations, audience engagement, and reporting at campus newsrooms.

“HBCU student newsrooms brim with talent, but often lack the resources needed to give students access to the cutting-edge technology and operational support that so many of their peers at predominately white institutions have,” said Center for Journalism & Democracy founder Nikole Hannah-Jones, who serves as Knight Chair in Race and Journalism at Howard University’s Cathy Hughes School of Communications.

The initial grant program was open to members of the Center for Journalism & Democracy’s nine HBCU cohort schools. Newsrooms were invited to apply for competitive funding last fall by submitting their vision and goals for strengthening their newsrooms and operations.

In addition to the FAMUAN at FAMU SJGC, the other grantees include Howard University, Morgan State University, University of the District of Columbia, Morehouse College, North Carolina A&T University, North Carolina Central University, Savannah State University and Texas Southern University.

FAMU’s $12,000 award also includes a one-time technology award and will receive funding for two years to pay select newsroom staff and hire contributing writers. Newsrooms may apply to renew the funding for the contributing writers for up to five years.

“We are extremely grateful and proud to receive this award and to be recognized by our HBCU peer, Howard University,” said Mira Lowe, FAMU SJGC dean. “These funds will help ensure that we are able to continue to produce and share impactful stories.”

As described on its website, the Center for Journalism & Democracy, founded in 2022 by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones, seeks to “reshape the American media in ways that foster racial justice, hold power accountable and strengthen U.S. democracy.”

The Center promotes historically informed investigative reporting, and its unique program advances its mission to help prepare HBCU students to become investigative journalists who will hold “power accountable and strengthen U.S. democracy.”

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