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2010.02.09 > For Immediate Release
contact: Wendy Townley - University Relations
phone: 402.554.2762 - email: wtownley@unomaha.edu

North Omaha Stories is Focus of New Media Project

Omaha - Now in its second year, the North Omaha Media Alliance (NOMA) is dedicated to changing perceptions of North Omaha one story (and one student) at a time.

Directed by Dr. Lynnette Leonard in the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) School of Communication, the NOMA project pairs UNO communication students with students from Girls, Inc. of Omaha representing four North Omaha high schools: Benson, Central, North and Northwest.

The students will visit UNO eight times this semester to develop their stories. Working in pairs with UNO communication students, the groups will publish their stories exclusively online, using YouTube, a blog and an online photo essay.

NOMA student reporters will reflect on issues related to civic engagement and larger political issues facing the nation, Dr. Leonard said. Also assisting the student reporters are Dr. Jeremy Lipschultz and Dr. Chris Allen, both of UNO's School of Communication.

“NOMA lets North Omaha high school students speak out about their community in a positive way,” Dr. Leonard said. “By researching and reporting on local news stories, they help combat the current representations of North Omaha. Their stories, photos and viewpoints can change negative perceptions of their community.”

Dr. Leonard added: “Our high school students become producers – not just consumers – of news. We give them the tools to tell their own stories from their point of view.”

The high school students have been given digital video cameras, digital still cameras and portable voice recorders to tell their stories.

While the story topics for this semester remain at the brainstorming stage, ideas currently on the table include the following: the drop-out rate of high schools students; safe sex; the need for more after-school programs; drug use among teens; violence among teens; college scholarships; and domestic violence in teen relationships.

The project also provides the high school students an insight into life on a college campus, along with experience in research and critical thinking.

Additional NOMA partners include UNO’s Service Learning Academy, UNO Television, the UNO School of Communication, Omaha North Magnet School and Girls, Inc. of Omaha.

More information on recent NOMA projects can be found at the following Web sites:
http://thenomablog.blogspot.com
www.youtube.com/TheNomanetwork
http://nomanetwork.ning.com

Dr. Lynnette Leonard can be reached at lleonard@unomaha.edu or (402) 554-3950.

Editor's note: The high school students will meet at UNO on Thursdays this semester at 4 p.m. You are invited to attend one of these sessions, or contact Girls, Inc. of Omaha to interview the high school students there. For a list of Thursday meetings at UNO, contact Wendy Townley: wtownley@unomaha.edu or (402) 554-2762.

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The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s metropolitan university. The core values of the institution place students at the center of all that the university does; call for the campus to strive for academic excellence; and promote community engagement that transforms and improves urban, regional, national and global life. UNO, inaugurated in 1968, emerged from the Municipal University of Omaha, established in 1931, which grew out of the University of Omaha founded in 1908.

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