Pay to Work?

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To save money many city newspapers are now setting up programs so that journalism school students cover local affairs. Students at City University of New York, Indiana University, the College of Saint Rose, St. Cloud State University, Cal Berkeley, and the University of Florida already write for local papers.

There’s a now a new program at New York University. Jay Rosen writes that:

The New York Times and NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute announced yesterday that they will collaborate on a news site serving the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan. It will be called The Local: East Village, and it will appear on the nytimes.com. The site will be edited and produced at NYU.

Journalism students, of course, have written local stories for years. They’d pitch stories to local papers and this was part of how they launched their careers. Under the new arrangements journalism students will still cover neighborhood events and pitch stories to local newspapers, except they won’t get paid to do it.

This sort of arrangement is an interesting solution to the problem of how to preserve coverage of local events. It looks like it’s mostly a solution for newspapers, however.

“Can journalism schools help save journalism?” asks Inside Higher Ed’s Steve Kolowich about the new plans for local coverage. Depends on what you mean by “save.” The journalism students are still out of luck. Who’s going to hire them once they graduate?

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer