Partner Up: The Benefits of Collaborations Between Universities and News Organizations

The fun thing about journalism is that it's a hands-on experience. You don't wait to be a journalist, you just are, and the best way to strengthening your skills is to write. The panelists of "You and U: Finding Partners at Local University" know this, and shared their take on how partnerships between universities and local new outlets can be beneficial to both parties.

Why would a local news outlet want to partner with a university?

Students are a source of enthusiastic, raw talent
Students offer a different perspective that can generate new ideas and projects for the paper
Faculty can contribute their expertise to student efforts
The sponsorship is cost effective
Students can devote substantial time to a problem
The paper gets new content through student contributions

Why should universities partner with a local new outlet?

Students can get professional experience

Jody Brannon, News21 National Director, offered one example of how a partnership can work. At Arizona State, sophomore or junior students partner with the Arizon Republic. They enroll in a program for credit and are also paid for working with the paper two days a week.

The students get experience, and the paper gets new content. The students report mostly on breaking-news issues and the traffic generated by this new content accounts for about 10 percent of page views for the Republic, Brannon said.

There are other programs at other universities that serve as examples of successful partnerships between students and local publications. These relationships bridge the gap between student and professional journalists, proving there is a lot the two can learn from each other.

"There are fields where the academy leads the industry," panelist Rich Gordon, association professor at Medill School, Northwestern University, said.

In areas like medicine and science many breakthroughs occur in research labs on university campuses, outside of the professional sphere.

"It's time we apply the same line of thinking to journalism," Gordon said.

- Aleesa Mann