West Virginia j-school helps small papers go mobile

Chronicle of Higher Education
Since the fall of 2008, West Virginia University’s Perley Isaac Reed School of Journalism has helped over a dozen local papers move to digital. The West Virginia Uncovered project provides newspapers with student-produced multimedia packages, digital training from faculty, and a mobile-app platform. Jie Jenny Zou writes:

While it’s common for schools to set up internships for their students at local papers, Uncovered students take the ordinary apprenticeship a step further by creating content that traditional print staffs wouldn’t ordinarily produce and help draw in readers and advertisers that have migrated online. …Every semester, a dozen or so of Mary Kay McFarland‘s students travel two to four hours across rural West Virginia to produce video, slide shows, and written stories.

Iowa State University journalism director Michael Bugeja says journalism schools should look to West Virginia as a source of inspiration to revitalize not only their own programs but also the journalism industry as a whole. “Papers need to move to digital in order to retain their audience, and it’s especially important in rural areas, where the community paper is the center of communication.”

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