Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Newspapers ask college journalists for help

Newspapers across the country might be laying off staff members and cutting salaries, but young journalists graduating from college still have a chance in the industry thanks to technology.

With new technology and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, editors have found themselves asking younger journalists for advice on how to use these tools on the Internet. recently reported on a group of undergraduate and graduate journalism students at West Virginia University , who have been working with several small newspapers and training editors how to use the Internet, high-definition cameras and video editing software.

The idea arose when two students approached the school's interim assistant dean, John Temple. Temple said the idea evolved into the "Uncovered Project," but originally started as a way to show editors multimedia being taught at the university.

As a trade off, students will be able to receive experience and learn how a community newspaper operates.

"It's good for everyone to learn more about their state," said Kendal Montgomery, a West Virginia University graduate. "To get in there... to focus on community journalism with these small newspapers... people depend on them."

Community newspapers are extremely important because without them, who would cover local events or news that bigger media outlets consider inferior? However, community papers tend to be short staffed, which makes it difficult to report on numerous stories using alternate story telling techniques.

But this could be a good thing for graduating journalism seniors who are looking for jobs. My advice is to apply to a community paper and gain some experience in covering a small town. It might not be your dream job, but at least it pays and you will be working.

More advice: Learn all you can when it comes to the Internet, Google, using a camera (even a handheld Flip camera), photography and familiarize yourself with diverse ways to use Facebook and Twitter for reporting and sharing information.

Some of the "Uncovered Project" stories include features about pregnant inmates at a federal institution, a camouflage-themed wedding and a wildlife tour on a historic locomotive.

CHECK OUT all the stories here.