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MediaLab@FAU Officially Launches

Students participate in MediaLab@FAU in a classroom setting

Florida Atlantic University recently launched MediaLab@FAU, a new journalism initiative by the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies.

Florida Atlantic University recently launched MediaLab@FAU, a new journalism initiative by the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters.

Currently part of JOU4930, a special topics course housed within the School’s burgeoning newsroom and production labs, MediaLab is a faculty-led and student-powered community reporting project.

Its goal is to teach students advanced media reporting skills by way of reporting, documenting and producing content of high value to local media partners and a wider audience throughout the Southeast Florida region. Since this region is experiencing exponential growth, most legacy publications often have limited resources for engaging in wider and more comprehensive coverage.

“We have already had tremendous interest in this project,” said Ilene Prusher, digital director of MediaLab@FAU. “We have seen about half of our stories re-published by our media partners, and that gives us confidence in MediaLab’s mission to provide high-quality, student-produced, faculty-curated journalism to the South Florida media landscape – an idea whose time has come. This is a win-win for our students and the media community, and we look forward to growing this project over the next few years.”

Prusher, a senior instructor in the School of Communication and Multimedia Studies, is an award-winning journalist with years of experience writing for prominent national publications such as The Christian Science Monitor, TIME magazine, The New York Times, the Miami Herald, NBC NewsThink and CNN Opinion.

“Projects like MediaLab@FAU are the antidote to news deserts and a move toward pooling resources to save local journalism, which is fundamental to the functioning of democracy,” she said.

At the heart of this initiative will be a news-academic partnership in which the MediaLab students, guided by FAU’s experienced journalism faculty, will produce stories for its own community news site. This will serve as a source of meaningful, publishable content for major local media outlets, including The Palm Beach Post, the South Florida Sun Sentinel and WLRN.

An additional partner for the program is The Invading Sea, a source made up of news, commentary and educational content about climate change and other environmental issues affecting Florida.

MediaLab@FAU will work with The Invading Sea to produce in-depth coverage to shed light on issues affecting the region’s diverse populations across the region, such as climate change, sea-level rise and immigration – issues Prusher said are currently under-covered due to overstretched newsroom resources.

The student journalists also will likely focus on other key issues that include voting rights, access to reproductive health care, and the repercussions of a state education system in flux. Students will also cover feature stories of interest to the wider community.

“We hope to recruit and train a wide variety of student journalists for MediaLab and make it feasible for them to report beyond campus on a regular basis,” said Prusher. “It will provide our students – many of whom are the first generation in their families to go to college and/or the first generation in America – with an opportunity to develop their still-emerging journalism skills and report on some of the most urgent issues of our time.”

For more information about MediaLab@FAU, visit here; or contact Ilene Prusher at