Student journalists are an important piece of the puzzle

This post is part of a series of reflections and perspectives about local news and information strategies for 2023 that will help achieve a shared vision for our state’s ecosystem. Read more about the shared vision and collection of perspectives here.

By Alison Jones

Managing editor, 9th Street Journal 

As news deserts and shrinking newsrooms continue to plague much of North Carolina, partnerships between local news outlets and colleges and universities represent a tremendous opportunity — particularly given N.C.’s strong tradition of excellent colleges and universities. 

Here at Duke University’s DeWitt Wallace Center for Media & Democracy, we’re bridging the worlds of higher education and local journalism with The 9th Street Journal, a publication about Durham written by Duke journalism students. 

Our journalism students serve as local reporters covering Durham (and occasionally, state politics). They attend school board meetings, profile candidates, write feature stories, etc. The students’ work is then edited by professional journalists on the faculty here at DeWitt Wallace. 

The student stories appear on our 9th Street website. And they reach a broader audience through our partnership with Indy Week, the local alternative weekly that regularly features 9th Street stories online and in print. By offering free, high-quality content to a local publication, our students contribute directly to local news coverage in a way that supports local media. 

Student journalists are just one piece of the local news puzzle. But they’re an important one. At The 9th Street Journal, we plan to continue to explore how students can contribute meaningful news content that benefits local readers. I’d be happy to speak with others who’d like to hear more about what we’re learning. 

NC Local News Workshop