Young journalists preserving local news

Readers may have noticed the Community News byline on recent stories in this paper.

This is a new project in collaboration with the University of Vermont to train and educate student journalists. I’m writing to let people know about the project and thank this paper for collaborating.

In recent years, there has been a hollowing out of news coverage across the country. More than 20,000 reporters have lost their jobs. And there are 200 counties that have no local news coverage. Vermont still has a very strong local news, like this paper, so there is a great opportunity for our students to learn what can be.

As student journalist Carline Slack said, “I feel that there’s a huge sense of purpose that comes with being a reporter. I enjoy digging into a story and discovering little-known information. I find it super satisfying to be able to inform folks about relevant issues that affect them and their communities.”

And there is great student interest in journalism and reporting and storytelling in general. Hence we created this new program at the university as a way to meet student interest and train a new generation of journalists and storytellers. Part of the reason for the decline in trust in journalism is that people no longer know their local reporter – because there isn’t one.

You can read more about the program at our website, Reporting and Documentary Storytelling or contact me, https://www.uvm.edu/cas/storytelling

In the meantime, if you see one of the student journalists, say hello and give them a “tip” – as writing local news starts with you!

Richard Watts

Co-Director, Reporting and Documentary Storytelling,

University of Vermont

Community News Service

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