How are some universities producing journalism, rather than just teaching it?
At the same time, a growing amount of nonprofit public service journalism is now being produced by students in some university journalism schools. Their stories and multimedia are being published and broadcast by newspapers, television, and radio stations and news websites in many cities and states where they are located, helping to fill some of the gaps in news media coverage of local communities, state governments, business, the environment and other subjects, in addition to investigative reporting. These students have been doing professional- level journalism while learning how to do it.
Students at the University of Maryland's Merrill College of Journalism, for example, have covered state and federal government news for Maryland newspapers from college-run bureaus in the state capital of Annapolis and Washington, DC. Other universities with statehouse bureaus in which students have produced stories for news media in their states include Boston, Illinois, Kansas, Missouri, and Montana. Student reporters, including those working part-time or on internships for news organizations, accounted for one of every six reporters working in statehouse news bureaus in 2014, according to a Pew Research Center study.
Students at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism cover state and federal governments and issues, business, and sports news for Arizona news media from bureaus in Phoenix, Los Angeles, and Washington, DC. They produce a nightly half-hour regional newscast for Arizona's largest public television station, which became part of the
Cronkite School in 2014. In January 2015, Cronkite students produced a half-hour documentary on heroin abuse in Arizona that was simulcast on every television and radio station in the state. The Cronkite School also is the base for the annual foundation-supported News21 national student investigative reporting project, in which about thirty selected students from twenty universities produce multimedia stories about such subjects as food and transportation safety, voting rights, gun laws, and veterans affairs that have been published and broadcast by news media throughout the country. Students at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism work in a Medill news bureau in Chicago and a national security reporting project in Washington, DC. Recently graduated masters journalism students at Columbia University have covered local government, education, energy and environment for its news websites. Annenberg School students at the University of Southern California run the Los Angeles digital news site Neon Tommy. Students at the City University of New York and New York University staff neighborhood news blogs in New York City boroughs. In Ohio, students at Youngstown State University, the University of Akron, Kent State University, the University of Cincinnati, and Cuyahoga Community College intern at Youngstown State's TheNewsOutlet.com, which contributes community news to local news media. And Florida International journalism students staff the South Florida News Service, working with editors at the Miami Herald, Sun-Sentinel, and Palm Beach Post, which publish their stories.
All of this is part of a movement by some journalism schools toward what advocates call a "teaching hospital model" for professional journalism education, similar to university law school clinics and university teaching hospitals in which law and medical students gain real-life experience. Although academic leaders in some universities have ignored or resisted the trend, philanthropic foundations have focused their journalism education funding on schools experimenting with the teaching hospital model. Not surprisingly, both commercial and nonprofit news media have welcomed the professional quality journalism these programs have provided them at no cost. And the journalism students have been better prepared to step into multimedia news positions in rapidly changing newsrooms.