Recently the College Guide ran a piece on the potential for journalism and higher education to work together. Apparently it is happening already. According to an article in the Miami Herald students at the University of Florida are now launching their own online publication to cover the news in Gainesville:
“We want to create something that’s hyperlocal,” said William McKeen, who chairs the UF journalism department. “It will be an online community where people can find out what’s happening on campus and in the community.”
They’ll be joining Florida International University and the University of Miami, both of which are already using student-produced journalism to expand the coverage of local communities.
With the vast reduction in the size of journalism recently, existing newspapers cannot cover cities as well as they used to, and some colleges are trying to step in to fill the void.
“The large news organizations don’t have the resources to put that much leather on the streets,” said Sam Grogg, dean of the University of Miami School of Communication. “But there is still a tremendous appetite for local news.”
All of this the-schools-will-save-our-communities talk is heartening, though perhaps overly optimistic. The chief draw of students as journalists is probably not their enthusiasm so much as just the fact that they will work for free.