There's a new story every day. Safe spaces. Trigger warnings. Freedom of speech. But on college campuses, what that means depends on whom you ask. The 2016 class explored the topics of safe spaces, trigger warnings, freedom of speech, and how this fits into the narrative of college students. Students also surveyed AU students on these topics as supplemental research for the content that was created.
Campus counseling centers are seeing a huge increase in needs for service. Journalism students wondered why, who and what that means. The 2015 class project explored the intimate topic of mental health and millennials through in-depth stories and videos about stigma, eating disorders, brain development, culture and social media. Students also surveyed peers on the topic—and drew nearly 900 responses.
The Hungry DC (Partner: WAMU 88.5)
What does hunger mean in DC? In 2014, students conducted a multimedia project exploring the issue of hunger in the nation's capital. Through this project, the class examined what exactly it means to be food insecure, and discovered the landscape of hunger in D.C. is not only about the hungry but also about the people who serve them and work to combat hunger.
Half the Battle (Partner: WAMU 88.5)
How does a soldier transition to civilian life? In “Half the Battle,” a multimedia project conceived, reported and edited by American University journalism students, young veterans relate the challenges they’ve faced on that journey. The project was produced in collaboration with WAMU 88.5, the Washington, D.C., area’s leading NPR member station.
Survey for Voting Young project
Voting Young (Partner: The Washington Post)
In 2012, the Convergent class took on the issue of first-time voters while Professor Ivancin's class conducted the survey portion for Voting Young. The students were prescient in their findings, reporting -- earlier than other media -- that young voters were more excited about the 2008 election when they couldn't vote than the 2012 election when they could. The project's webmaster already was working at the project partner, The Washington Post, as an SOC Dean’s Intern at the time. Other project participants are working at The White House and other prestigious institutions today.
Logo designed by Liz White
Shadow of 9-11 (Partner: Gannett)
In 2011, in the most sophisticated project to date, the students did an in-depth package and survey about Growing Up in the Shadow of 9-11. The package’s publication coincided with the death of Osama bin Laden. The world wanted to know how young people felt about bin Laden and why there was celebration by millennials on the streets outside the White House. Consequently, the project drew national and local media coverage. The student who headed the project was recommended to The Washington Post on contract; in January 2013, she was hired there full time.
New Civil Rights (Gannett)
In 2010, the class did a project focusing on the "new" civil rights issues. They found that education ranked high. Based on the impressive work by one of the project leaders, SOC faculty recommended him for Facebook's first DC internship; he ended up working there for more than a year.
(Images from Gannett.com)
In 2009, the class did a survey to evaluate the role of more than 3,000 article comments in online versions of news stories. Students found that 4-in-10 commenters really were just responding to each other more than the content, turning the space into a “chat room” as one student remarked.