The College of Journalism and Mass Communications launched a community news website called Nebraska Mosaic that will allow refugee communities to tell their stories in videos and post them online.
"Nebraska Mosaic will give Lincoln's growing refugee communities a voice," said Tim Anderson, journalism associate professor. "These communities exist, but they are, to a large extent, hidden."
Since the 1990s, when the federal government designated it a resettlement community, Lincoln has attracted a growing and diverse refugee population. In the Lincoln Public Schools, refugees or immigrants speak more than 40 languages and come from more than 50 nations.
Anderson said, "We thought it was important for our students to cover diverse populations and our goal is to create something that will sustain itself through the involvement of the refugee communities themselves."
Beginning in fall 2010, supported by a $25,000 grant from J-Lab, University of NebraskaâLincoln students worked to develop a new community news initiative. Advertising students helped to research the information needs of the refugee community, and how to reach them, while journalism students in the same class focused on content. The result was the beginning of the Nebraska Mosaic website.
This year, the College of Journalism and Mass Communications partnered with the Lincoln Community Foundation and received a grant from the Knight Community Information Challenge, which the Lincoln Community Foundation matched. These grants, totaling $48,000, supported efforts by the Mosaic class to further reach out to Lincoln's refugees. Each week the university class now also meets in the Community Learning Center at Arnold Elementary School, where refugees are invited to attend to discuss issues important to them, to raise questions that might be answered through journalistic articles and even to learn reporting, photography or videography skills.
About the Lincoln Community Foundation
The Lincoln Community Foundation identifies current and emerging issues that address the core concerns in the community and channels resources that address those needs to help Lincoln prepare for the future. For more information visit www.lcf.org.
J-Lab administers the New Voices program at American University's School of Communication in Washington, D.C. It works with news creators and news gatherers to fund pilot projects and news start-ups. New Voices grants have funded a total of 55 community start-ups since 2005. Over the last five years, 46 projects have launched. J-Lab administers the Knight Citizen News Network, the Knight-Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism, J-Learning.org, and the McCormick New Media Women Entrepreneurs initiative. For more information visit www.j-lab.org.
About John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
The Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more information, visit www.knightfoundation.org.
- Tim Anderson, associate professor, College of Journalism and Mass Communications, 402-472-3034
- Gary Kebbel, dean, College of Journalism and Mass Communications, 402-472-3041
- Marilyn Hahn, communications coordinator, College of Journalism and Mass Communications, 402-472-0876