In partnership with Northwest Public Broadcasting, a team of Murrow College students at WSU will compete as finalists in the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute’s 2021 Student Innovation Competition.

The team is one of 10 student journalism finalist teams from colleges across the country that will be partnering with local newsrooms as part of the national competition. The team of Murrow College students includes Alana Lackner (Multimedia Journalism – WSU Pullman), Albert James (Broadcast News – WSU Pullman), Heather Stribling (Integrated Strategic Communication – WSU Everett) and Cheryl Aarnio (Multimedia Journalism – WSU Pullman).

“I think we have strong team members who all bring great ideas to the table, and I hope we’ll be ultimately able to help NWPB with our innovation, whether we win the competition or not,” said Alana Lackner, a senior studying journalism and media production.

Murrow students created the project “In the Loop with NWPB”, which focuses on creating an automated texting service to engage college students in Eastern Washington with Northwest Public Broadcasting (NWPB) content and platforms.

“This team’s proposal carries on the Murrow legacy of innovation in media,” said Benjamin Shors, chair of the Department of Journalism and Media Production. “They are proposing 21st-century media tools to connect public broadcasting with a younger audience.”

During the 14th annual competition, the team of Murrow College students will be given three months to implement its project with Northwest Public Broadcasting, with the opportunity to win up to $10,000. Students will then share their ideas and results virtually in front of the public and a panel of judges from organizations including The New York Times, KQED and the Axios on Feb. 26, 2021. The program is headquartered at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Judges will be looking at several criteria including how well the idea helped the newsroom and its community, if the idea could be implemented in other newsrooms and if the idea was new and innovative for the partner newsroom.

“I am hopeful we will be successful in our efforts to provide another way to connect communities to local news and that we will make a positive contribution to Northwest Public Broadcasting’s existing efforts to foster positive community relationships and accurate reporting,” said Heather Stribling, a senior studying integrated strategic communication at WSU Everett’s campus.

The students worked with Murrow faculty including Kanale Rhoden, assistant scholarly professor; Tracy Simmons, instructor; and Lisa Waananen-Jones; assistant scholarly professor, as well as Jesikah Maria Ross, senior community engagement strategist at CapRad in California.

To learn more about the Student Innovation Competition, click here.