Kennesaw State has become the new home for The Georgia News Lab, an investigative reporting collaborative that has received multiple awards for the training of young investigative journalists. Lab Director David Armstrong has been named a journalist-in-residence for the University’s School of Communication and Media.
The News Lab, which was formerly located at Georgia State University, has trained local journalism students in advanced reporting techniques in a partnership between some of the state’s top journalism programs and two of the region’s leading news outlets, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and WSB-TV. In addition to winning multiple local and national awards, Lab trainees have successfully entered the local job market.
“We welcome Dr. Armstrong and the Georgia News Lab,” said Barbara Gainey, director of the School of Communication and Media. “We believe their presence will elevate the recognition of our journalism program in the state, region and nation. We are very excited that Kennesaw State will now play a significant role in helping a diverse group of students join professional news organizations with such a high level of skill.”
Each year, the News Lab accepts a small number of students from schools in the Atlanta Regional Consortium of Higher Education, which, in addition to Kennesaw State, includes Georgia State University, the University of Georgia, Morehouse College, Clark Atlanta University, Spelman College, Emory University and Mercer University.
To prepare for careers as investigative journalists, Lab students learn advanced reporting techniques and work side by side with professional reporters. They also take two intensive advanced investigative reporting classes – one in the fall semester and the second in spring. Top students are then eligible for full-time, paid summer investigative internships with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution or WSB-TV.
Armstrong, who has served as director of The News Lab since its inception in 2014, is formerly director of The News Enterprise, an investigative reporting project at Emory University. A veteran investigative reporter and editor, he has served as bureau chief of the National Security News Service in Washington, D.C., and as editor of the Texas Observer.
“I am delighted to be joining the KSU team,” said Armstrong. “This opens up new opportunities for the News Lab. I see many possibilities for collaboration and expansion in our new home.
Armstrong said the Lab’s mission is to solve two fundamental problems: making investigative reporting affordable for news organizations by providing a pipeline of reporters who can do high-level work at the start of their careers while increasing diversity in professional newsrooms.
The News Lab has a high success rate in placing students in jobs within the industry, and its students have produced a string of high-impact, front-page news stories that have earned them a number of investigative reporting awards. The Lab’s innovative approach has earned it the News Innovation Award and the Impact Award in successive years from the Atlanta Press Club. It was twice named the collegiate winner of the Society of Professional Journalists’ Larry Peterson Memorial Award for Investigative Journalism, and was grand prize winner among 200 applicants for the Online News Association’s Challenge Fund for Innovation in Journalism Education. It also received the Barry Bingham Sr. Award for its “outstanding efforts to encourage minority students in the field of journalism.”
The News Lab is supported by grants from: The Cox Media Group, the Online News Association, the Gannett Foundation, the Fund for Investigative Journalism, and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.