How colleges can support local journalism

With many local news organizations struggling, the quality and quantity of news they are producing has dipped over the past several years.

But in many places, local colleges and universities are stepping up to fill the gaps, according to a report on the MediaShift blog by John Clark and Josh Stearns.

The article highlights places where this is happening, such as the University of North Carolina and City University of New York. (It’s also happening, although on a smaller scale, here at Fisher in an advanced journalism course this semester)

Clark and Stearns especially emphasize the role that educational institutions can play in developing and testing innovative ways to present news. As they put it, “Universities have the opportunity to pursue solutions in ways that local media organizations, due to lack of resources and time, can’t.”

The authors are correct in arguing that the changing landscape of local news presents an incredible opportunity for colleges to help reshape what journalism will become, and in the process help today’s students learn the skills it will take to operate in that world. This is something journalism, media and communication schools everywhere should be paying attention to and figuring out ways they can help move the process forward.

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