The Associated Press and Google in April announced the first recipients of a new national scholarship program targeted at college students whose innovative projects exemplify the new journalist in the digital media age. The AP-Google Journalism and Technology Scholarship provides $20,000 scholarships for the 2012-13 academic year to six promising undergraduate or graduate students pursuing or planning to pursue degrees at the intersection of journalism, computer science and new media. A key goal is to promote geographic, gender and ethnic diversity, with an emphasis on rural and urban areas.

Joh Osborn
John Osborn

The students were selected by a committee of digital media leaders from applications across the country.  Of the half-dozen students selected to receive the new scholarships, two will use them at Berkeley, one pursuing a graduate degree, the other an undergraduate — together comprising one-third of the first awards, if you’re counting.

The grad student is John Osborn, 29, of the Graduate School of Journalism.  Osborn did his undergraduate work at Humboldt State University.  He has worked at the North Coast’s Times-Standard,  the Eureka Reporter,  and he founded the political news blog “Reporta.” Osborn’s project will use real-world data from campaign trails, finance and voting records to produce a news game called The Candidate.  On his extensive resume, Osborn describes himself in six words: data nerd, political junkie, newsgame dreamer.

reginald James
Reginald James

The undergraduate is Reginald James, 30, a junior who is studying political science and African-American studies.  James is a graduate of Laney College in Oakland and the College of Alameda. He founded the campus newspaper Harambee, which later expanded to community colleges throughout California, and he currently hosts The Black Hour, an internet radio show. He’s won awards from the Bay Area of Black Journalists Association and Journalism Association for Community Colleges. His project will include a hyperlocal news site targeted at the African-American community on the Berkeley campus.

The Online News Association, the world’s largest membership organization of digital journalists, administers the new scholarship program. The other four winners, two graduate students and two undergraduates, are studying at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Northwestern University, the Georgia Institute of Technology, the University of Minnesota.