Lee Caplin School of Journalism and Media students win awards at the Reynolds Journalism Institute (RJI) Student Innovation Competition


Two student teams from the Lee Caplin School of Journalism and Media were finalists of the 17th Annual Reynolds Journalism Institute Student Innovation Competition in Columbia, Missouri. The two teams received high praise for their work and were recognized for the uniqueness of their proposed initiatives. 

Team Blue and Gold Girls, with seniors Maria Cevallos, Luria Taparo Costa, Nathalie Gonzalez, and Rosa Mendoza, helped develop a community-led awards ceremony. The aim of their project was to recognize the staff at a local newsroom and have community members vote for their favorite journalists, stories, along with other categories of news sources to help boost community engagement with the news organization. Team Blue and Gold Girls won the Fan Favorite Award at the RJI Journalism Innovation Competition for their work, along with an all-expenses paid trip to the journalism conference of their choice.

“Upon the creation of our plan for the competition, we wanted to make sure we created a timeless way of measuring the impact that news stations have on their community,” said Rosa Mendoza from Team Blue and Gold Girls. “We knew that we would need to garner audience feedback by creating a survey, while creating an exciting way to recognize and appreciate a Miami newsroom and their employees.”

Team Blue and Gold Girls being awarded the Fan Favorite Award during the virtual ceremony for the RJI Journalism Innovation Competition.

Team Jaded Journalists, with seniors Ivo Caminata, Gorka Echevarria, Alba Rosa, O.J. Simpson, created an interactive mural, displaying the impact of the new media on the local community. Their project also incorporates data on local media consumption into the interactive mural so the community can see the impact journalism has in their lives. The goal of Team Jaded Journalists was for the public to not only contribute to the mural but also recognize a piece of art that illustrates the impact of journalism. Team Jaded Journalists won an Honorable Mention recognition for their work. 

Team Jaded Journalists being awarded with an Honorable Mention during the virtual ceremony of the RJI Journalism Innovation Competition.

The RJI Journalism Innovation Competition challenges student journalists to create a project that helps showcase how news coverage from a local news organization impacts the community. Part one of the competition consists of the teams creating a plan on how to implement their ideas over three months, and part two is for the selected finalists to implement their plan and present it to the judges. The goal for the project is to not focus on traditional metrics but instead the real-life impact and benefits of journalism in any community. 

Congratulations to our Caplin Students on their achievement at this national competition!

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