Com-J: The “Teaching Newspaper”

While researching online this morning for the new media grant I’m applying for, I ran across a very “old media” program.

It reminded me of a tweet from Jay Rosen: “Journalism Professors: Catch up, or we’re all left behind.” Rosen was quoting another source, but nonetheless it caught my attention and the attention of many of his followers

The University of Alabama community journalism (Com-J) program caught my attention because it highlights the need for local coverage, as well as, the need to embed students in a newspaper so they can gain professional journalism experience.

“This may be your best chance to make a difference in journalism, in community life, and in your own career,” the Web site said.

What this simple description is missing is a digital focus. And please – take “teaching newspaper” off the site immediately!! Working at the award-winning Anniston Star newspaper is not your value proposition folks!

Converting the newspaper into an award-winning digital machine is the silver lining. Why not take advantage of the students to make the newspaper a digital beast, which captures online community conversations, participates in local online partnerships and embraces the fact community news is still flourishing – just not necessarily in print.

Offering tuition, a stipend, health insurance, a degree and professional experience is also amazing.

Oh, and by the way, let me know when you make these changes.