Journalism majors chosen for national project

Dec 8, 2010 | General News, Liberal Arts

Two Louisiana Tech student newspaper editors have received all-expense paid scholarships in a national competition to attend the Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Campus Coverage Project at the Arizona State University in Phoenix. Kelly Belton, a junior journalism major from Simonton, Texas, and Taylor Stephens, a junior journalism major from Bossier City, will be two of 75 participants in a national workshop held January 7 – 10. Belton is a news editor and Stephens is the features editor at The Tech Talk. IRE, in partnership with Education Writers Association and the Student Press Law Center, is launching a program to share investigative reporting skills with college and university students that they can apply to covering campus issues. “My favorite genre of writing is investigative,” Stephens said. “I hope to learn how to get down to the base of campus issues and later use skills learned in whatever career field I choose after college. The Tech Talk focuses a large amount of its stories on campus activities and events, which is great. However, it is refreshing when we are able to publish hard news and real problems. In attending this conference, I think I’ll be able to bring a new way to find and cover stories that will give The Tech Talk a broader outlook on news.” Belton added she was eager to put the workshop’s training to use on The Tech Talk. “I am very excited to get to go to Phoenix. Hopefully, we will both come away with a better understanding of how to investigate budgets and legal documents,” Belton said. “During the financial crisis of Louisiana, this will be vital for reporting on coming budget cuts and changes.” As part of the workshop training, Belton and Stephens will take part in a yearlong online activity to demonstrate their knowledge from the workshop. Their work will be highlighted online nationally to expose their stories to a larger audience. “This is just another way we strive to keep up with what is going on in the ever-changing field of media,” said Reginald Owens, journalism department head at Louisiana Tech. “To be competitive, we have got to stay abreast of the changes in this field. This was a nationally competitive program. Fortunately for us, we have the caliber of students to compete successfully with anyone in this field. We had at least four students to compete for this scholarship and the directors of this program told me they were impressed with our students. We are very proud to be part of this program.” The program is being funded with a grant from Lumina Foundation for Education.