Jun 19, 2012

American Indian Journalism Institute at USD features student journalists from across the nation

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Thirteen college students and recent graduates from across the United States are participating in the 12th annual American Indian Journalism Institute (AIJI), June 13-22, at the University of South Dakota.

AIJI, a joint program of the Freedom Forum and USD, is a premier journalism training, scholarship and internship program for aspiring journalists from diverse backgrounds. Throughout the 10-day institute, students attend classes, learn basic journalism practices, participate in educational field trips, report, write and produce multimedia projects.

Student journalists are assigned to chronicle events in southeast South Dakota during AIJI, including Czech Days at Tabor, S.D., and Tour de Kota 2012. Event coverage will include stories, social media, photography and video projects.

Jack Marsh, AIJI founding director, and president of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute and the Al Neuharth Media Center, said graduates of AIJI will earn three hours of college credit from USD. “The intent of AIJI is to recruit, train, mentor and retain diverse journalists for media careers.”

Chuck Baldwin, instructor and journalist-in-residence at the Al Neuharth Media Center, said AIJI opens doors for students who have a passion and potential to succeed as professional journalists. Students accepted to AIJI submit applications, work samples and complete a phone interview.

Guest speakers include Al Neuharth, a 1950 USD alumnus and founder of the Freedom Forum and USA TODAY; John Seigenthaler, a distinguished journalist and founder of the First Amendment Center, Nashville, Tenn.; and J.R. LaPlante, a 2009 graduate of the USD School of Law and South Dakota Secretary of Tribal Relations.

Students attending AIJI 2012 are: Heidi Bounphithack, Sioux Falls, S.D. (South Dakota State University); Cade Cross, Missoula, Mont. (Dartmouth College); Dylan Geuther, Vermillion, S.D. (University of South Dakota); Mike Huberman, Missoula, Mont. (University of Montana); Dacia Idom, Ruston, La. (Louisiana Tech University); Shannen Jack, Monterey Park, Calif. (East Los Angeles College); Cynthia Lee, Gallup, N.M. (University of New Mexico); Alex Maxwell, Shawnee, Okla. (Oklahoma Christian University); Demetria Mosley, Orangeburg, S.C. (South Carolina State University); Natalia Rawls, Fort Valley, Ga. (Fort Valley State University); Aaron Saunders, Durham, N.C. (North Carolina Central University); Stacy Thacker, Missoula, Mont. (University of Montana); and Mark Walker, Fort Valley, Ga. (Fort Valley State University).

For more information about AIJI, please visit http://freedomforumdiversity.org.

About The Freedom Forum
The Freedom Forum, based in Washington, D.C., is a nonpartisan foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people. The foundation focuses on three priorities: newsroom diversity, the Newseum and the First Amendment. The Freedom Forum is the main funder of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute, the Newseum and the First Amendment Center. The Diversity Institute operates at three locations: the Al Neuharth Media Center at The University of South Dakota in Vermillion; the John Seigenthaler Center at Vanderbilt University in Nashville; and the Newseum, an interactive museum of news in Washington, D.C. Al Neuharth, a 1950 journalism graduate of USD, is founder of the Freedom Forum, Newseum and USA TODAY. Jack Marsh is executive director of the Al Neuharth Media Center and president of the Freedom Forum Diversity Institute.
About The University of South Dakota
Founded in 1862, The University of South Dakota is designated as the only public liberal arts university in the state and is home to a comprehensive College of Arts and Sciences, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, the state's only School of Law, School of Medicine, the accredited Beacom School of Business and the College of Fine Arts. USD has an enrollment of more than 10,000 students taught by more than 400 faculty members. More information is available at www.usd.edu/press/news.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Peter Carrels
The University of South Dakota
(605) 216-1233
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