While the future of print journalism is at times uncertain, Mercer University is taking charge to protect local news through both print and radio.
The 179-year-old former Baptist school in Georgia is starting a $5.6 million project to help local newspapers bounce back from circulation and revenue troubles accumulated over the years. The plan consists of inviting both the Macon-based newspaper – The Telegraph – and a Georgia Public Radio station onto its campus.
Reporters for the newspaper will work out of the campus’s new journalism center, alongside students who the university expects will do legwork for the professionals, under guidance from their journalism professors.
As reported by the New York Times, William Underwood, Mercer’s president, plans to institute a medical residency model to journalism.
“I want young people to be able to practice journalism ethically and competently the day they graduate,” Underwood said to the news source. “I have a concern about the future of local print journalism. There’s nothing more vital to a functioning democracy.”
Beverly Blake, a program director for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which provided a $4.6 million grant, thought it would be a positive new model for journalism education and it would strengthen the community.
This is not the first collaborative initiative put in place to try and save the future of print journalism. A 2011 study by the New America Foundation encouraged journalism schools to aid local media outlets in what it called embracing the model of an “anchor institution.”
Schools that want to keep a stronghold on their printing abilities should also consider investing in a school laminator. This can help protect and preserve any important documents, images or even old newspaper articles.
Additionally, coil or wire binding equipment would also benefit these institutions. It would offer a clean way to organize papers together and give documents a professional appearance that staples and paper clips cannot provide.