Since the spring of 2012, the memory of late Mexican-American journalist Ruben Salazar has been well-preserved through an online document archive produced by students at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
In July, the Ruben Salazar Project, completed by the students of USC Annenberg Professor Félix Gutiérrez, received two awards from the Best of the Web Competition hosted by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC).
Judged on use of content and interactivity in storytelling, as well as its ability to advance journalism and mass communication education, the project placed second in the Technological Innovation for an Individual/Class category and third in the Best Design for an Individual/Class category in AEJMC’s Visual Communications and Communication Technology Divisions.
Competition winners received their awards and were asked to give brief presentations of their work at AEJMC’s annual conference in Washington, D.C., last month. The conference featured panels and sessions on the latest research, teaching methods and public service in journalism and mass communication.
The idea for the Ruben Salazar Project and its student involvement came to Gutiérrez shortly after the family of the late journalist donated the Salazar archives to the USC Libraries.
Gutiérrez enlisted the help of USC Libraries and USC Annenberg Professor Robert Hernandez, though it was primarily a product of the students’ hard work. The students did everything from sorting the documents, to conducting further research and writing stories, to designing and producing the Web page.
“While Félix and I were guides, this was a completely student-produced project,” Hernandez said. “It’s great that they are recognized for their efforts.”
The awards are also a testament to USC Annenberg’s continued emphasis on using digital means of communication to convey information, Hernandez said. “At Annenberg, we are empowering our students to find new, digital ways to tell stories of all kinds.”
Though the project started in Gutiérrez’s direct research class during the spring 2012 semester, students in his more recent classes have also been adding to the Web page as class work.
“There is a lot of stuff in the archive and more stories to be told on behalf of an influential and legendary Latino journalist,” Hernandez said.