6 Missouri Graduate Students Receive Scholarships for Digital News Preservation Event

Terry Britt, Jiwon Choi, Matt Hellman, Carolina Vargas, Tamar Wilner and Elizabeth Zirk

Missouri Journalism graduate students chosen to participate in the “Dodging the Memory Hole: Saving Online News” forum on Oct. 13 and 14 at UCLA are (top row from left): Terry Britt, Jiwon Choi, Matt Hellman, Carolina Vargas, Tamar Wilner and Elizabeth Zirk; (bottom row) Ed McCain.

The Goal of the Conference Is to Craft a National Agenda for Preserving Born-Digital Journalism

Source: Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute

Columbia, Mo. (Oct. 10, 2016) — Six Missouri School of Journalism graduate students are among the 14 selected from academic institutions across the U.S. to receive funding assistance to attend a conference where they will take active steps toward preserving digital news.

Each student has received a travel scholarship to help cover expenses to attend the Dodging the Memory Hole: Saving Online News forum Oct. 13 and 14 at UCLA. Students will work side-by-side with journalists, technologists, librarians and other stakeholders to craft a national agenda for preserving born-digital journalism, that is, content created on a computer or digital sensor.

The forum is an initiative of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute‘s Journalism Digital News Archive with funding from RJI and an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Award. Additional support is being provided by UCLA Library, University of Missouri Libraries and the Educopia Institute.

It’s important to make future journalists, archivists and technologists part of the solution now, said Edward McCain, digital curator of journalism at RJI and University of Missouri Libraries.

“It is critical we begin building awareness of the need to preserve born-digital news content today so that future generations will not suffer the looming ‘memory hole’ of lost journalistic reportage,” McCain said. “I’m delighted to have such talented individuals joining us as we work together to save online news.”

Attendees will hear from speakers from organizations including The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Library of Congress. Pulitzer Prize-winning correspondent Peter Arnett will be a special guest speaker.

The scholarships are being funded by a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant from IMLS. The funding assistance was available to graduate students in the U.S. studying library/information science, journalism, computer science and other related fields.

As part of being selected to receive a scholarship, each student has been asked to propose and complete a project that supports one of the conference goals. They will also pitch their project ideas to the assembly during the forum.

The six Missouri School of Journalism scholarship recipients will approach their digital preservation projects from a variety of perspectives. They are:

  • Doctoral student Terry Britt of Sweetwater, Tennessee, will write a research paper on the significance of efforts to assure the lifespan and accessibility of local online news content.
  • Master’s student Jiwon Choi of Osan, South Korea, plans to meet with international students from the University of Missouri to explore how to protect online media content and develop possible solutions.
  • Master’s student Matt Hellman of Austin, Texas, will work on a case study about how the Columbia Missourian photography staff is using open source software to provide access to and create a cloud-based long-term archive for digital content.
  • Master’s student Carolina Vargas of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, wants to reach journalism students with messages that increase awareness of the problem of born-digital content loss and provide options for solving this problem.
  • Online journalism master’s student Tamar Wilner of Dallas seeks to address problems associated with inaccurate and outdated news content by exploring technology that supports online correction methods.
  • Master’s student Elizabeth Zirk, of Palatine, Illinois, will help author and edit a white paper about the forum outcomes. This will include gathering details about the proposed national agenda for preserving born-digital news, projects proposed by working groups and reports summarizing panels and presentations from the event.

Other scholarship recipients are students from New York University, North Carolina at Greensboro, Old Dominion, Simmons, Texas at Austin and Wayne State.

Updated: October 5, 2020

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