Houston honored with CAEPE award

Brant Houston
Brant Houston, Affiliate Professor

 

Brant Houston, GSLIS-affiliated faculty member and professor of journalism in the College of Media, is a 2012-2013 recipient of the Campus Award for Excellence in Public Engagement (CAEPE). The awards, given annually by the Office of Public Engagement, recognize individuals and teams who engage the public to address critical societal issues.

Houston holds the prestigious John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Chair in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois. He currently teaches investigative and advanced reporting in the Department of Journalism. He serves as chair of the board of directors of the Investigative News Network, a coalition of nonprofit journalism centers, and is a coordinator of the Global Investigative Journalism Network, which he helped create in the year 2000.

Houston is co-founder and director of the CU-CitizenAccess project, an online news and information service devoted to investigative and enterprise coverage of social, justice, and economic issues in East Central Illinois. Launched in January 2010, the award-winning project gives a voice to marginalized and underrepresented groups in the Champaign-Urbana area by engaging various media outlets, community organizations, civic leaders, and journalists to share information and address community issues.

“The project’s collaborations with other media, civic groups, and citizens have resulted in a robust and ongoing multi-media newsroom and community engagement effort that provides vital public service journalism, rich content for Web sites, and forums for public discussion of issues crucial to the community,” said Rich Martin, nominator and head of the Department of Journalism. “In response, faculty and students are learning to use new technologies and techniques that will shape the journalism of the future.”

Much of the project’s success relies on the extensive fieldwork and reporting conducted by Houston and his team in the local area. Utilizing a series of GSLIS-supported community computer labs, the project offers classes and tutorials to citizens in diverse communities such as the Shadow Wood mobile home park, Bristol Park, Salem Baptist Church, and Dobbin Downs.

In its first two years, CU-CitizenAccess worked in 11 specific neighborhoods, holding over a dozen meetings with community leaders and organizations to open up new points of contact between these groups and the media—including Illinois Public Media/WILL and the News-Gazette—as well as developing strategies to encourage civic engagement and influence public policy. Most recently, the project collaborated with Hoy Chicago, the Spanish-language newspaper of the Chicago Tribune, to produce a 16-page bilingual report that examined the changing demographics of East Central Illinois and revealed the stories of various ethnic groups as they seek to become integral parts of their communities.

“It is also worth noting that the spirit of engagement internalized by Brant’s students continues to have impact through their professional work in the media organizations they join after graduation,” said Christopher Benson, associate dean of the College of Media, “In this way, he sets in motion a wide ripple effect, greatly expanding the potential impact of his work here in Central Illinois.”

Houston is one of three faculty/staff recipients of this year’s CAEPE award. Martin Wolske, GSLIS senior research scientist, with whom Houston has worked closely, and Madhu Viswanathan, professor in the College of Business, were named as well. The Office of Public Engagement also honored student Deirdre Lanesskog of the School of Social Work and the research team Scientific Animations Without Borders with the award.

The CAEPE winners will be honored at a reception on April 30, 2013.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

New life for letterpress printing

The old, green hand press that used to be stationed on the first floor of the iSchool building is getting a new lease on life. It has been moved to the Champaign-Urbana Community Fab Lab, where students and community members will be using it for letterpress printing. The Washington-style hand press, which was manufactured in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century by Reliance, was used for teaching and fine printing at the University of Illinois for decades before becoming a show piece at the iSchool.

Emilie Butt using printing press

McDowell named Outstanding Information Science Teacher by ASIS&T

Associate Professor Kate McDowell is the 2022 recipient of the Outstanding Information Science Teacher Award from the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T). The award recognizes her unique contributions to information science education that reside at the intersection of storytelling and data science.

Kate McDowell

Research on Diversity in Youth Literature moves to Illinois

Research on Diversity in Youth Literature (RDYL), a peer-reviewed, online, and open-access journal focused on issues of diversity, equity, social justice, inclusion, and intersectionality in youth literature, culture, and media, has moved from St. Catherine University to the iSchool's Center for Children's Books. The journal is co-edited by iSchool Associate Professor Sarah Park Dahlen and Sonia Alejandra Rodríguez, associate professor of English at LaGuardia Community College, City University of New York.

RDYL logo

Wang to join iSchool faculty

The iSchool is pleased to announce that Haohan Wang will join the faculty as an assistant professor in August 2022, pending approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees. He recently completed his PhD in computer science through the Language Technologies Institute of Carnegie Mellon University.

Haohan Wang