5 Innovative Journalism School Partnerships

J-School students aren’t just attending lectures and writing for the school paper anymore: some students enrolled in innovative programs at institutions like NYU and The University of Texas at Austin also hone their reporting chops by writing for big-name news organizations. The shifting journalism landscape has dictated a necessary re-thinking of journalism education, and many schools–like the University of Colorado at Boulder— are engaging in full-on upheavals of their programs in order to better train their students.

In recent years, several universities have announced partnerships with media outlets that give students the chance to write for places like The New York Times and The Bay Citizen. The benefits for these initiatives are mutual: journalism students score a chance to build out their portfolios, while understaffed newsrooms have access to free content on under-reported beats. Here are five examples of innovative journalism school partnerships.

1. The University of Texas at Austin

One of the newest initiatives on the media landscape, Reporting Texas, launched just this week as an online resource for news about Central Texas. The site offers “coverage of stories about Central Texas and beyond to news organizations that may not have the time or resources to cover,” said Erin Geisler, a representative for the College of Communications at UT at Austin. “This also gives students the opportunity to produce high-quality content in a digital environment.” With proper citation, the content on Reporting Texas can also be reproduced for free on other news outlets.

2. The City University of New York

Some J-Schools, like The City University of New York,  have taken over hyperlocal projects from larger news outlets. In 2010, CUNY began a collaboration with The New York Times for their Ft. Greene/Clinton Hill Local blog. According to the site, the blog is “run by students and faculty of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, in collaboration with The New York Times, which provides supervision to assure that the blog remains impartial, reporting-based, thorough and rooted in Times standards.”

3. New York University

Like CUNY, NYU’s Studio 20 graduate program has also partnered with The New York Times to run The Local: East Village blog, a hyperlocal venture that focuses on news in Manhattan’s East Village.

4. University of California, Berkeley

In 2010, Berkeley’s Journalism School struck up a partnership with The Bay Citizen, a nonprofit news organization funded by private investor Warren Hellman. In addition to working with Berkeley’s hyperlocal ventures, editors of The Bay Citizen also teach classes at Berkeley and, according to the site, “are jointly developing a “test kitchen” for experimentation and innovation in journalism that will involve UC Berkeley’s Engineering and Information Systems schools, as well as the Haas School of Business.” The school’s Dean, Neil Henry, sits on The Bay Citizen’s Board of Directors, and Associate Dean Paul Grabowicz is a member of the editorial advisory board.

5. University of Southern California

USC’s Annenberg School for Journalism and Communication has long been an incubator for forward-thinking ideas on journalism. They’ve partnered with California Watch and The Center for Investigative Reporting to run Hunger in The Golden State, a multimedia series repurposed in outlets like The LA Times and KQED focusing on hunger and California food shortages. Another USC project, The Alhambra Source, joins students, USC professors and Alhambra citizens to produce local community news.

These are just five examples. Have additions to the list? Feel free to chime in in the comments!

Disclosure: While an undergrad at NYU, the author worked with Studio 20 on The Local: East Village project.