Journalism Junior to Join Prestigious Cohort Reporting on Hate Speech
This summer, journalism major Brandon Bounds, ‘19, will work alongside the nation’s top student journalists to report on hate speech across the nation through the prestigious News21 program.
The News21 program is part of an effort on the part of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York to change the way journalism is taught in the U.S. The program brings together the top journalism students each year to report on a national issue, headquartered at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University. Past topics have included water crises and voting patterns.
“With this program, I expect to produce great content to inform the nation about hatred and bigotry,” Bounds said.
As a junior, Bounds has experience in and out of the classroom with reporting on national issues. When applying for News21, Bounds had to select work samples to showcase his reporting. All of his samples took national issues and localized them to Kent. For example, Bounds produced a story about bomb threats directed at Jewish institutions across the nation, localizing it through Hillel, Kent State’s Jewish center.
“My professors have really helped me sharpen my skills when it comes to reporting,” Bounds said.
Localizing is just one of the skills Bounds has learned in the classroom. He also believes his experience in coding, video reporting, photography and print reporting helped him land the fellowship.
Mentors within JMC - both faculty and his peers - have also impacted Bounds’ confidence in pursuing this opportunity.
“It is great working with other journalists with so much potential,” Bounds said. “I look up to them and it helps me do the best I can.”
Participating in News21 this year is especially important to Bounds because of the topic: hate speech. Bounds expressed that he is interested in reporting on race and culture for NPR in the future. He hopes to use his experience with News21 to better understand reporting from different communities.
Many other JMC students have participated in News21, including alumni Emily Mills, ‘16 and Jimmy Miller, 17, who reported on voting patterns before the 2016 presidential election, and Karl Schneider, ‘17, who reported on water quality during summer 2017.
“If it wasn’t for the opportunities in student media, the advisors and the professors, I really wouldn’t know what to do,” Bounds said.