• A national resource for colleges and universities that provide student reporting to local news outlets.

Our Story

In 2019, UVM launched the Community News Service, a student-powered partnership between the University and community newspapers across the state. CNS matches student reporters with professional editors to provide critical reporting to trusted sources of local news. Since then, CNS has been both a newsroom and a laboratory for experimentation in creative ways to address the challenges facing local news. The extraordinary potential for growth and demand from other regions inspired the creation of the Center for Community News, an effort to document and meet the urgent needs of other schools around the U.S. that are working to be part of the local news solution.

Pictured: Richard Watts, Director (left) with Jocelyn Rockhold, Graduate Research Assistant (center) and Research Director Hannah Kirkpatrick (right) at the 2023 AEJMC Conference in Washington, D.C.

Our Mission

In communities across the U.S., student journalists now provide millions of people with trustworthy, professional local news coverage. Our mission is to grow and support partnerships between college reporting programs and local news outlets.

Our Vision

Fully realized, CCN will be a national resource for colleges and universities that provide student reporting to local news outlets. Building on the wisdom, relationships, and innovations of year one, CCN is the organization best equipped to meet the urgent needs of schools that are working to be part of the local news solution. Here's how we plan to do it...

Build a Community of Peers

The dedicated faculty and staff running these programs shouldn't have to work in isolation. CCN is building a network of peers to facilitate ongoing conversations and support around what is working, when to coordinate, and how to share critical information. Connections include in-person events, online channels, and presence at all relevant journalism and academic events where local news is considered.

Provide Direct Resources

CCN has already created dozens of case studies and fact sheets on news-academic partnerships around the country, which are serving as templates for others who want to start or expand programs - and this is just the beginning. Our faculty resources pages is under development and, with additional resources, CCN can provide more direct guidance and blueprints to meet the demands of these ever-growing programs, ensuring that no one is reinventing the wheel and every program has the chance to succeed.

Advocate For a Stronger System

It's not enough to support the individuals running news-academic partnerships around the country today. CCN will also advocate for systemic changes that will cultivate a thriving local news ecosystem for years to come. That can include direct advocacy for state and federal policies; working to make colleges friendlier environments for these programs; and the production of materials for anyone who wants to fight for a strong fourth estate.

Printable version of our vision


The Center for Community News partners and consults with newsrooms (print/broadcast/online), universities, and industry leaders in the fields of journalism, media and information. CCN’s growing list of collaborators includes:

The Center for Community News is housed at the University of Vermont. It is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization. We are supported by a generous grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the UVM College of Arts & Sciences, and individual donors.

We're hiring!

Richard Watts, Executive Director
+1 802-373-1131

For press inquiries, story pitches, and charitable gifts, contact:
Meg Little Reilly, Managing Director

For questions about CCN research, programming, and resource materials, contact:
Hannah Kirkpatrick, Research Director

To schedule a site visit, get on our mailing list, or receive more
info, contact:
Greta Solsaa, Outreach Coordinator