Sam Houston State University Grant – May 2014

In May 2014, the Headliners Foundation awarded a $5,000 grant from the Headliner’s Foundation Special Project Fund to the Global Center for Journalism and Democracy, housed at Sam Houston State University. This grant funded instructional costs for a 3-day workshop in Kielce, Poland held in July 2014.

Two Sam Houston State University students and Polish journalists participated in a workshop led by five US trainers, who are faculty members or other industry professionals. The Sam Houston State University students attended the workshops alongside their Polish peers, and wrote articles and social media pieces about the experience and their perceptions. The workshop emphasized building and maintaining journalistic independence and credibility and holding government accountable.

Communities across Poland have received European Union funding in unprecedented amounts, prompting the need for journalists to know how to track the funds and hold those in power accountable. GCJD worked with selected student and professional journalists to help them track the money flow, and arm citizens with accurate and helpful information as their communities are impacted. Further, GCJD trainers and journalists shared best practices and tools with their Polish counterparts to develop their ability to critically view information from a different perspective.

GCJD firmly believes in journalism as a development and education tool. As part of the university’s continued commitment to the development of the next generation of journalists in the US and Texas, US participants in the workshop will build on their knowledge of global journalism and share what is learned with American students and newsrooms when they return. In addition, GCJD’s intent is that the trainers will learn from the attendees as much as they teach.

Through collaborations such as these, GCJD furthers the development of free and transparent journalism both in the United States and abroad.

Trainers were:

  • Susan Lisovicz, who has worked at major cable news networks such as CNN and CNBC, as a premier financial reporter. She is The Donald W. Reynolds Visiting Professor of Business Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.

  • John Hatcher, Associate Professor of Journalism at the University of Minnesota, Duluth. Dr. Hatcher’s research focuses on the sociology of news and, more specifically, the relationship between the community and the journalist.

  • Robin Johnson, Assistant Professor of Mass Communication at Sam Houston State University. Robin teaches undergraduate courses in social media journalism, and will be heading up SHSU’s new graduate program in digital media studies.

  • Jason Enia, who teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in research at Sam Houston State University and studies the economics of politics.

  • Mike Foster is currently the Video Producer for Sam Houston State University. Prior to that he worked in local newsrooms in Houston, Austin, Baton Rouge and Lake Charles adapting and incorporating new technology used to get stories to broadcast. He has won awards from the Louisiana Associated Press and the Houston Press Club.