We’re offering another round of Social Media News Challenge grants this semester for Manship School students planning experimental projects.

knight-logo-300We have awarded a dozen grants in the past year under the challenge, funded by a 2013 grant of $150,000 from the Knight Foundation to the LSU’s Manship School of Mass Communication.

Projects receiving grants must use social media to engage communities around news. Whether you have a specific plan, a general idea or just an interest in participating, you can make your pitch for a Social Media News Challenge grant one of three ways:

  1. Join a brainstorming session at noon next Monday, Sept. 28, in the Holliday Forum in the Journalism Building.
  2. Join a brainstorming session at 7 p.m. next Tuesday, Sept. 29 in the Holliday Forum.
  3. If neither of those times works for you, make an appointment to visit with me the week of Sept. 28 in my office, B-39 Hodges Hall. You can email me at stevebuttry@lsu.edu or call me at 703-474-0382.

If you come with a specific plan or general idea, other students and faculty at either meeting will make suggestions and ask questions to help you improve and execute your idea. The idea will remain your project, but you might decide to collaborate with another student who contributes some helpful suggestions.

If you don’t have your own idea, we’ll toss out some possible topics or approaches for student projects. You can take one of the ideas we discuss and make it your own, assisted by faculty and students in the brainstorming sessions.

If you can’t make it to either of the meetings, we’ll brainstorm privately in my office.

In any of these settings, if you claim an idea, you will be given a deadline for turning the discussion into a specific proposal.

In the 2014-15 year, grants were $4,000 for the student(s) involved, plus up to $1,000 more for expenses. We plan to be more flexible this year. If a group of students proposes a large project with lots of work by all participants, we could approve a larger grant for the students, rather than making them split $4,000. Or you could propose a grant with higher expenses.

Students taking on project ideas next week will receive guidelines for turning their ideas into specific project proposals.

I will be inviting previous grant winners to next week’s meetings to give brief overviews of their projects and share their advice and experience in the brainstorming. You also can browse this blog for reports on projects completed last spring.