Manship School of Mass Communication student William Taylor Potter, a senior from Texarkana, AR, was recently named a 2017 Carnegie-Knight News21 Fellow. Potter joins top journalism students from 18 universities across the United States, as well as Canada and Ireland, who will investigate water pollution and its impact on health in the U.S. as part of the News21 national multimedia reporting initiative.
Headquartered at Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, News21 was established by the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation to demonstrate that college journalism students can produce innovative, in-depth multimedia projects on a national scale. This year’s fellows will examine the major issues surrounding water pollution, including contamination sources, legislation, enforcement and health implications.
Potter has already begun work. The News21 fellows are currently participating in a spring semester seminar, taught in person and via video conference by Leonard Downie Jr., the former executive editor of The Washington Post and Cronkite’s Weil Family Professor of Journalism, and News21 Executive Editor Jacquee Petchel, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and former senior editor for investigations and enterprise at the Houston Chronicle.
Potter will live in Phoenix this summer, during which time the News21 fellows work out of a newsroom at the Cronkite School and travel across the country to report and produce their stories.
"I am thrilled for the opportunity to be a part of this fellowship,” Potter said, “especially after seeing the fantastic work and hearing the stories of the LSU students who participated before me.” He follows in the footsteps of Manship seniors Rose Velazquez, of Houston, TX, and Quint Forgey, of Baton Rouge, who participated in the News21 program in 2016 and 2015, respectively.
“I'm grateful for the opportunity to continue that proud tradition,” Potter said, “I am excited to use the skills I've learned in the Manship School and through Student Media to cover such an important issue on a national scale."
The investigative focus of the program changes every year. Previous Carnegie-Knight News21 projects have spotlighted issues ranging from food safety and gun rights and regulations to veterans’ issues and voting rights. The student work is published at news21.com and by dozens of news organizations, including The Washington Post, USA Today, NBCnews.com and the Center for Public Integrity.
Potter is the news director for LSU’s Daily Reveille. His previously served as editor in chief, deputy news editor and news writer.