By Micheline Maynard
Journalism students at the University of Nevada, Reno, agree on one thing: they all respect and admire Donica Mensing.
She’s a savvy educator who figured out the importance of multi-media early in her academic career. She’s led scores of students to achieve terrific things on campus, and to standout professional careers.
And now, she’s part of the Curbing Cars journalism project. Donica is joining the Curbing Cars advisory board, which also includes Claudia Payne, a 30-year veteran of the New York Times.
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Donica will help us track trends, strategize our crowd sourcing, and incorporate student voices into Curbing Cars. She’ll be a wonderful help as we set down the journalism standards that our project will follow.
Here’s why Donica decided to join us.
“Curbing Cars represents an ongoing story unfolding at a local, regional, national and international scale,” she says “Its potential as an Ebook, as well as a continuing project illustrates the best type of in-depth journalism, incorporating careful analysis on a topic of great significance, intuitive data visualizations and interactivity.”
We expect some of her outstanding students at UNR will become contributors to the project, once classes are back in session. It’s a terrific outlet for the multi-media talent that’s being groomed out West.
I met Donica during my first visit last year to the UNR campus, where I coached students and helped them create the Reinventing Reno project. One of the project’s members, Cambria Roth, won the school’s top 2013 writing award, for a story that I helped edit.
Donica has been teaching Web journalism since 1997, when she used Claris Home Page (does anyone remember that?) to build websites optimized for Netscape. She moved through the Dreamweaver and Drupal phases and is now a Word Press evangelist.
Donica tells me her interest in Curbing Cars was sparked by living car free in Europe, having children who reject the car culture and a passion for walkable cities and environmental sustainability.
She bikes to work, drives a Prius for longer trips and loves trains (while still indulging in occasional flights). In an earlier life, she spent a summer driving a garbage truck for the U.S. Forest Service known as the Maggot Wagon.
We’re so happy to welcome Donica to our board. Claudia, Rick and I can’t wait to pick her brain for advice on moving our project forward.