The journalism major will participate in a 10-week investigative reporting assignment at Arizona State University this summer, examining voter access and participation in a national election year.
Max Garland ’16 has been selected to represent Elon University in the 2016 Carnegie-Knight News21 Initiative, one of the most prestigious student journalism programs in the United States. The assistant news editor for The Pendulum was one of 22 students nationwide chosen to attend the acclaimed summer program, created by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
As part of the paid summer fellowship, the Elon journalism major will travel to Phoenix, Arizona, for a 10-week investigative reporting assignment at the digital media complex of the Cronkite School at Arizona State University.
News21 brings journalism students from around the country together to produce in-depth multimedia projects. Students will begin their work in a seminar this spring, when they’ll comprehensively study their assignment topic. This year’s project will investigate voting access and participation in a presidential election year.
Past News21 investigations have focused on food safety, transportation safety and U.S. gun rights and legislation. Michael Bodley ’16 participated in the 2015 project and examined the fast-moving developments in recreational and medicinal marijuana use around the country.
Leading up to his selection and acceptance, Garland spoke with Bodley about his experiences in Arizona, and the conversation inspired him to participate in the premier journalism fellowship.
“Michael is a big advocate for the program, and set a high standard I hope to reach during my time at News21,” Garland said. “He told me showing your commitment through hard work, compelling sources and creative story angles is vital for success in the program. From what he shared about his experience, be it the insightful conversations with editors or the thrill of working with a dedicated reporting team, News21 seems like a great opportunity to hone my journalism skills.”
The nature of the News21 program, with its emphasis on reporting and investigation, fits into the senior’s career aspirations. Once focused on sports reporting, Garland said his interests have expanded since becoming The Pendulum’s assistant news editor in spring 2015.
“I initially decided to branch out to news reporting to have a more versatile resume, but the more experience I gained, the more intrigued I became with covering the news,” he said, noting The Pendulum provided him with the perfect platform to gain experience. “I want to write in-depth investigative pieces for a living some day, recording perspectives and stories that would typically be glossed over the first time a story breaks. Through News21, I will learn how to improve my craft for these types of stories and how to condense a lot of research and interviews into a compelling news package.”
Elon students have been eligible to participate in the News21 program since 2012, and five School of Communications students have been selected. In addition to Garland and Bodley, past Elon participants include Caitlin O’Donnell ’13, Kassondra Cloos ’13 and Kate Murphy ’15.
News21 launched in 2005 with five universities: Columbia University, Harvard University, Northwestern University, University of California at Berkeley and University of Southern California. Three years later, seven other schools were added, and in 2012, the initiative was opened to all journalism programs.
This year’s student nominations hail from 17 universities, including Arizona State, Elon, Florida International University, Hampton University, Kent State University, Louisiana State University, St. Bonaventure University, Syracuse University, University of British Columbia, University of Florida, University of Maryland, University of Nevada-Reno, University of North Texas, University of Oklahoma, University of Oregon, University of Tennessee and University of Texas at Austin.