Educating and empowering digital

learners and future media professionals


Media Arts Institute (MAI) is a nonprofit educational organization whose mission is to inspire and empower digital learners, dedicated educators, and developing communities through cultural exchange of media, research, coursework, and publications.


MAI facilitates the Journalistic Learning Initiative (JLI) in partnership with the University of Oregon's School of Journalism and Communication and College of Education. JLI is a coalition of researchers, educators, community members, philanthropists, nonprofit organizations, corporate partners, government agencies, and allied stakeholders working together.

Ed Madison, Ph.D., Founder & Executive Director

Ed Madison has more than 30 years of professional media expertise, and also serves as executive producer on all of Media Arts Library’s projects. His multi-faceted career began as a high school intern at the CBS television affiliate in Washington, D.C. during the Watergate scandal. Shortly after graduating from Emerson College in Boston he became a founding producer at CNN. His own subsequent companies have produced projects for most of the major networks, studios and record companies in Hollywood, including Paramount, MGM, Disney, CBS, ABC, Discovery Networks and A&E. He is president of Engaging Media, an Oregon-based media production and distribution company. Madison holds a Ph.D. from the School of Journalism and Communication, University of Oregon, where he teaches multimedia journalism and digital publishing.


During her 22 years in the classroom, Michelle co-founded the Ensemble Theatre Company of Marin, a sequential arts education model where students ran a repertory theatre at three high school sites. She served as Project Designer/Director of the Drake Integrated Studies Curricula at Sir Francis Drake High School, named a "New American High School" by the US Department of Education. She was also a founder of Drake's highly acclaimed Communications Academy. During her time at Drake, she was also named the Marin County Teacher of the Year and the Marin Arts Council Outstanding Contributor to Arts Education.


On the national level, Michelle served as lead curriculum consultant on Jobs For The Future's Benchmark Communities Initiative and designed professional development practices for the Collaborative Learning Communities, and was a Teaching Fellow for the AutoDesk Foundation for nearly a decade.


Michelle currently provides sustained professional services to districts throughout the US, focusing on school design, instructional design and delivery, project-based learning, standards-based assessment, and whole-school reform processes.


Michelle holds a BA from Washington State University in Speech Communications and an M.A. in Theatre Arts/Directing from San Francisco State University. Michelle and her husband Larry live in Eugene, Oregon.

Michelle Swanson - Board President

Esther has served as a journalism/English teacher at Palo Alto High School, Palo Alto, CA for the past 27 years. She built the journalism program from a small group of 20 students in 1985 to more than 500 students today. The program has four additional journalism teachers, and five award-winning journalism electives: newspaper (The Campanile), magazine (Verde), online (, television (InFocus), and Viking, a sports magazine. Wojcicki was selected by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing as 2002 California Teacher of the Year.


Over the past 20 years, the publications have won Gold and Silver Crowns from Columbia Scholastic Press Association, the PaceMaker Award and Hall of Fame Award from National Scholastic Press, and best in nation from Time Magazine in 2003. The website was honored with two Webby Awards in 2005. She is Chair of the Board of Directors of Creative Commons focusing on education and learning. She is also President of the Friends of the Lurdes Mutola Foundation to support girls' education in Mozambique. She is also a consultant for Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Hewlett Foundation. She is on the Advisory Board for University of the People.

Esther Wojcicki - Board Secretary

Lori Shontz teaches reporting, sports journalism, feature writing and writing for multimedia at the University of Oregon, where she is also the faculty adviser for student chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Association for Women in Sports Media. Among the classes she has developed is one that covers all major track and field events at Hayward Field; her students’ work has appeared in publications including The Miami Herald, the Knoxville News Sentinel and Runner’s World Online.


She previously spent more than two decades in the newsroom, specializing in sports, women’s issues and higher education for The Miami Herald, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Penn Stater alumni magazine. She graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Penn State in 1991 with a B.A. in English writing and received an M.Ed. in adult education from Penn State in 2013.

Lori Shontz - Board Treasurer

• Professional Development

• Media Production

• Curriculum Development

• Instructional Design

• Strategic Planning

• Program Assessment

Consulting Services

Michelle Swanson

Ed Madison

Esther Wojcicki





The Problem

According to the Alliance for Excellence in Education, more than 7000 American teens drop out of school every day (1.3 million annually), costing our country billions in lost wages. In a survey of high school dropouts, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 47% cited “boredom” as one of their primary reasons for leaving.


Engaged students stay in school. When young people have opportunities to write and craft journalistic multimedia stories about their shared experiences they thrive.


JAM Program Overview

Journalism, Arts, and Media (JAM) is an emerging network of after school programs that support elementary school age students in meeting the new Common Core Standards in language arts, which identify media and technology skills as essential for college and career readiness. JAM’s students have an opportunity to earn digital badges after demonstrating proficiencies in writing, multimedia production, and digital storytelling, based on the JAM’s curricular benchmarks.


JAM was inspired by Esther Wojcicki’s award-winning Palo Alto High School journalism program, which has been acknowledged by the White House for its innovative media, journalism and technology curricula. Palo Alto High has the nation’s largest scholastic journalism program, with more than 500 of the total 1800 student body producing seven publications, including: a newspaper, an online news site, three magazines, a yearbook, and a live daily newscast.


JAM’s curricula is also aligned with the International Society for Technology in Education’s (ISTE) latest NETS Standards, which have been embraced by thousands of educators worldwide. The NETS call for integrating technology across all educational curricula.


Three of the principals behind JAM were designated by ISTE as 2011 ISTE Scholars. Ed Madison, Deborah Heal, and Alina Padilla-Miller attended the 2011 ISTE conference in Philadelphia, and were inspired to create JAM.


Accomplishments and Objectives

“JAM Sessions” have begun as a series of guest workshops at public schools for 4th and 5th graders in Eugene Oregon –– near the University of Oregon, and where ISTE is headquartered. Video highlights (insert link) demonstrate how well students embrace the program and benefit from the curricula.The ongoing after school program is scheduled to launch at Edgewood Elementary School (Eugene 4J School District) in spring 2012, contingent on funding. Key emphasis the first year will be on working with students in this pilot setting to refine the curricula. Additional focus will be on developing infrastructure and strategic alliances to expand the program in its second year. The organizers have established relationships with ISTE, Adobe, Google, Apple and Khan Academy.


To learn more about JAM, email: