How one school took the lead

Collaboration between journalism educators and professional journalism organizations isn't new. In years past, however, the onus was on the news organization to take the first step to innovate. Educational institutions were in the dance, but the professionals were leading.

One such example was in 2003, when the Knight Foundation partnered with the then-named American Society of Newspaper Editors and the Radio Television News Directors Association to encourage professionals to partner with high schools. (Note: Both organizations now have new names; they are the American Society of News Editors and the Radio Television Digital News Association.)

These partnerships produced a book, Generation Next, as well as teaching materials now available at and a middle school curriculum through what is now the Newspaper Association of America’s American Press Institute.  Newsrooms helped classrooms develop new journalism talent as well as encouraging young people to understand, appreciate, and later in life, consume the news.

But many of those partnerships have faded, as did the "teen pages" once in many daily newspapers as well as their Newspaper In Education departments. When the digital age upended traditional media economics, money for educational outreach grew scarce.

Technology is behind several new, innovative collaborations, such as Durham Voice, a partnership of the University of North Carolina, North Carolina Central University, and Durham, N.C., high schools. Professor Geoffrey Graybeal wrote about this and other such programs, noting that some grew out of assignments or programs developed first by colleges or universities.

The news organization may have led the dance in the past, but the confluence of technological and economic factors make a perfect opportunity for colleges and schools to step in. As Graybeal says, educators “should take up the call to fill the slack in coverage created by our professional counterparts.”

Is that happening in your state?