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Chesterfield native wins journalism competition

Left to right: Alex Johar, Rachel Thomas, William Fries, Meiying Wu and Zechang Fu. Photo credit: Nate Brown/RJI

CBC High class of 2014 graduate and Chesterfield native Alexander Johar was part of a team at the University of Missouri that recently won the Reynolds Journalism Institute [RJI] Student Development Competition for VeriPixel, a photo verification solution to help restore trust in news images.

Other teammates include: William Fries, computer science and business administration, Truman State University; and Zechang Fu, Rachel Thomas and Meiying Wu, convergence journalism.

Johar’s team has spent the last several months developing VeriPixel, which emphasizes integrity, transparency, authenticity and reliability to the images seen in news media. Currently, there is no industry standard to verify photographs or video.

The tool uses blockchain technology that enables news organizations to verify images that may have been sent from journalists or the public over open networks. It also allows the reader to use the same technology to verify the image that they’re looking at online.

The RJI Student Competition gives students the opportunity to develop technology prototypes and apps to address journalism challenges. Traditionally the University of Missouri competition is only open to its own students. However this year it was open to all college students as long as they participated in the TigerHacks hackathon this past fall at MU. 

As winners, Johar’s team will go to New York City to meet with media and technology experts and leaders.

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