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knight-logo-300Manship School Dean Jerry Ceppos has approved three new Social Media News Challenge projects to receive grants from the Knight Foundation:

The students join an earlier group approved in October, who are continuing work on their eight projects in the spring semester.

Each mini-grant awards the students $4,000 for their work on the project, plus up to $1,000 in expenses. The grants are funded by a grant to the Manship School of Mass Communication from the Knight Foundation.

Move Happy Louisiana

Joanie Lyons

Joanie Lyons

Lyons’ project will seek to use various social media to raise awareness about issues relating to biking, walking and running safety and opportunities in Louisiana.

She is a sophomore mass communication-political communication major with minors in history, leadership development and political science.

She is from Highlands Ranch, Colo., and noticed a contrast in recreation opportunities such as biking trails when she moved to Louisiana. As she studied the issue more closely, she also learned of safety issues relating to biking, running and walking in Louisiana.

Her project will use social media “to help educate the public on safety issues, update the public on current events within the community involving these issues and keep people up to date with the campaign’s progress with meetings with local and state officials.”

Since enrolling at LSU, Joanie has become involved in Student Government Senate, Greek Life, LSU Liaisons, St. Jude Up ‘til Dawn, the Roger H. Ogden Honors College, Honors College Advocates, the LASAL Scholars Program, Habitat for Humanity LSU and Sole Sisters.


DeJa Smith

DeJa Smith

McKenzie McClain

McKenzie McClain

McClain and Smith plan to continue an effort they started in a class project last fall to engage LSU African American students “to express their opinions on the different issues they face being the minority at a major university while striving for unity.”

The students will use social media to promote some events for students to discuss issues relating to African American culture, recording the discussions on video and publishing them on a YouTube channel.

McClain is a resident of Dutchtown, Louisiana. She is a mass communication freshman with a concentration in broadcast journalism. She is a member of Student Activities Board, Association of Black Communicators, Black Student Union and Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society. McClain is also an active volunteer with the Big Buddy Program.

Smith is a freshman from Powder Springs, Georgia majoring in mass communication with a concentration of political communication. She is a member of the Association of Black Communicators and LSU’s National Society of Collegiate Scholars chapter.

Coastal Restoration

Madelyn Duhon

Madelyn Duhon

Madelyn Duhon plans to collaborate with the Louisiana Wildlife Federation and the Louisiana Camouflage Coalition in a social media campaign to raise awareness of issues relating to the state’s fragile coastline.

She plans Twitter hashtag campaigns, livetweeting and curation of social media content about outdoor activities in Louisiana as well as upcoming news events, such as the anniversary of the 2010 BP oil spill and public meetings about the state coastal annual plan. She started with live coverage of a public meeting in New Orleans Monday.

Duhon is a senior from Lafayette, La., majoring in mass communication with a concentration in public relations and minoring in business administration. She is a member of Leadership LSU and an intern in the LSU College of Human Sciences & Education’s Office of External Relations. She worked last summer as a media relations intern for the Smithsonian’s National Zoo in Washington D.C.