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U-Maryland Launches Journalism Innovation Awards for Creative Uses of Multimedia

COLLEGE PARK, Md. – A unique journalism awards program at the University of Maryland will honor those who use technology in innovative ways to engage people in important issues.

The Batten Awards for Innovations in Journalism will honor novel approaches to journalism that can make a difference and have an impact on a community. Entries might consist of such things as online news experiences, news games, fresh ways to use video conferencing, web cams, computer kiosks and other advances in interactivity.

The awards and a planned educational symposium honor the late James K. Batten, the former CEO of Knight Ridder who was a leader in looking at ways journalism could better connect with communities. They are funded with a $230,300 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

There will be a $10,000 grand-prize winner and two $2,500 runners-up. They will be honored at a fall symposium in Washington, DC.

“Jim Batten was a thoroughly modern journalist, and I think he would have been thrilled by the opportunities made possible by today’s technology,” said Tom Kunkel, dean of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism. “These awards will highlight some of the most creative thinking out there.”

The deadline for entries is June 12, 2003. The competition covers Jan. 1, 2002 through May 15, 2003. For guidelines and an entry form, visit:

The Batten Awards are administered by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, a new center at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism that is helping news organizations develop news that is interactive, educational and engaging for viewers. An Advisory Board led by Bryan Monroe, Assistant Vice President – News, Knight Ridder, will judge the awards. Board members include Jody Brannon, Executive Producer, News; Mark Hinojosa, Associate Managing Editor-Electronic News, The Chicago Tribune; Mike McCurry, Chairman and CEO Grassroots Enterprise Inc; Lee Rainie, Executive Director Pew Internet & American Life Project; Chris Harvey, Online Bureau Director & Lecturer Philip Merrill College of Journalism; Tom Kunkel, Dean, Philip Merrill College of Journalism; and Jan Schaffer, J-Lab Executive Director.

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