• Events


May 28 | 1:00 - 2:00 PM ET | Virtual

The Future of University-Led Reporting Programs - Looking Ahead with the Center for Community News

As The Center for Community News celebrates two years, we bring together a panel of leaders to discuss recent research and future directions for these programs.

Register Here


August 7

Powering Local News: Universities Making a Difference

The Center for Community News is hosting "Powering Local News" ahead of the AEJMC 2024 conference in Philadelphia, PA from 12:00 to 5pm on August 7th, 2024. Registration is required and lunch will be included. Some funding may be possible for travel.

Let us know if you're interested in attending here.


Community Journalism Lecture Series

Virtual conversations with leading researchers, stakeholders and teachers once a month. Sponsored by the Community Journalism Interest Group of AEJMC.

More events coming in Spring 2024!

Recordings of previous conversations are available below.

Past Talks & Recordings

May 2, 2024: Universities + public media + Election 2024 = an amazing opportunity


The University of Vermont's Center for Community News and the University Station Alliance hosted a webinar on collaboration between student journalists and public media stations, with a focus on the upcoming election and its potential for student journalists to make a difference. The panelists shared their experiences and insights on the benefits and challenges of involving students in radio station operations, the funding of internships, and the importance of media literacy and safe reporting. The webinar also explored the potential of using platforms like Twitch and Youtube for independent news and localized election coverage, and the need for managing students in journalism programs, particularly in regards to potential challenges.

April 26, 2024: Private Colleges and News-Academic Partnerships

Public colleges and universities make up most of the Center for Community News data base of university led reporting programs. Yet three quarters of the 3,000 four-year colleges/universities in the country are private. Why is this? Are there steps that we can take to engage big and small private colleges and universities, providing high impact learning experiences AND bringing their students and resources to the local news crisis? In this session, we will hear from leaders at private schools where student reporting is making a difference in local news. The panel includes Jack Shuler (Denison University), Colleen Steffen (Franklin College), Alison Jones (Duke University), Gina Gayle (Boston University) and Susan Paterno (Chapman University). Following short presentations from our panel, we open the conversation to all of you. The panel is moderated by CCN Director Richard Watts.

View Recording

Apr 4, 2024: Developing Public Media/University Partnerships #2


"How we did it: a deep dive into how one public media station grew its relationship with one university."

Students were rarely seen or heard at public radio station WILL, even though it’s part of the University of Illinois. Professor Chris Evans was hired to change that. He worked with station leaders to create the Illinois Student Newsroom, and greatly increased quality student storytelling on WILL’s platforms.

In this webinar, we dove deep with Chris to find out how WILL and University of Illinois did it, from curriculum to students to university/station relations. He also shared the pitfalls and challenges the program continues to face and offer a road map for anyone seeking to create a public media / student newsroom of their own.

Dr. Chris Evans is an assistant professor of journalism at Howard University, where he teaches multimedia journalism and serves as editorial director of Howard University News Service. Before coming to Howard in 2023, Evans created the Illinois Student Newsroom at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, a nationally recognized model for combining the efforts of student journalists and public media newsrooms.

Mar 29, 2024: Brown Bag Check-in

Passcode: e9e#y%r9

Mar 28, 2024: Expert Panel Series: High Impact Local News Research


What is the state of local news research? What are some of the latest findings? In this panel Phil Napoli, the James R. Shepley Distinguished Professor of Public Policy Professor and Director of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy at Duke University and Jessica Mahone, Research Director at the Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media at the University of North Carolina summarize recent research in local news, building on a national local news research workshop hosted earlier that week. Moderated by Meg Little Reilly, CCN’s Managing Director.

Mar 19, 2024: Libel Insurance Information Session

Mar 7, 2024: Developing Public Media/University Partnerships #1

Feb 23, 2024: The Democracy Beat: Students Covering Statehouses and Elections

Feb 22, 2024: Brown Bag Check-in

Dec 8, 2023: Key Issues in News-Academic Partnerships

Recording (Available by request - contact hkirkpat@uvm.edu)

Connect with other leaders of news-academic partnerships to discuss best practices and key issues. Led by Amanda Bright (UGA) and Hannah Kirkpatrick (CCN). What resources can CCN provide to support you?

Dec 1, 2023: University/Public Media Collaborations


Chat Transcript

On Friday, December 1 at noon EST, join Scott Finn, CEO of Vermont Public, and CCN researchers for a discussion of our recent research on collaborations between public media and universities. What are the next steps that your station or university might take to increase collaborations?

Nov 10, 2023: Public Funding of Local News


Four states now provide funding for local news through state appropriations: New Jersey, Washington, New Mexico and California. In this program, we hear from local news leaders in those states and the national organization Rebuild Local News. Speakers include Ayinde Merrill (New Jersey Civic Information Consortium), Steve Waldman (Rebuild Local News) and Christa Scharfenberg (UC Berkeley). This session will be moderated by Meg Little Reilly (CCN).

Faculty Q&A Session with the Student Press Law Center

Faculty - wondering how to best protect your student journalists as they publish stories with local media outlets? Join us on Thursday, October 19 at 1pm EST for a special Q&A session with the Student Press Law Center. Senior legal counsel Mike Hiestand and executive director Gary Green will be on hand to answer your questions about legal issues in news-academic partnerships.

Check out our "Legal and Ethical Considerations" faculty resources page for a primer before the session. Come with your questions and ideas!

Recording available by request - contact hkirkpat@uvm.edu

Oct 12, 2023: Distribution of Content

University led reporting programs distribute content to news partners in many ways. Some send out a weekly email with stories, others post them to a website with a republish button, others distribute directly to the public. In this discussion, Justin Trombly (Community News Service) is joined by Adam Giorgi (Center for Rural Strategies) and Marcie Young Cancio (Amplify Utah).


Sept 8, 2023: Faculty Resources: Building and Sustaining News-Academic Partnerships


Amanda Bright, leader of UGA’s news lab and the Oglethorpe Echo, reviews the faculty resources page she created with CCN Research Director Hannah Kirkpatrick. How can this page be better? How can it be helpful to you? Bring your ideas and suggestions.

May 12, 2023: Collaborations with Public Media Organizations


Chat Transcript

There are more than 200 university licensed public radio and public TV stations – often co-located on university campuses. What are the opportunities for collaboration? In this presentation we hear from some university programs that are partnering with their local public media outlets in a variety of ways. Chris Evans, a Clinical Professor of Journalism at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, coordinates through his classes hundreds of students stories that air on Illinois Public Media. Courtney Cowgill, a professor at Montana State University who manages a student reported daily one-minute audio broadcast from the Montana Statehouse that is shared with radio stations across the state, Virginia Dambach, the Executive Director of the University Station Alliance that encourages these partnerships and Claudia Cruz, who is the managing editor of Noticiero Móvil, a bilingual faculty-run, student-produced news site that provides additional Spanish-language audio content to the local public radio station KUNR.

This panel will be moderated by Scott Finn, the President & CEO of Vermont Public.

Apr 28, 2023: Recruitment, Fundraising & Distribution of Student Content


Chat Transcript

University led student reporting content is distributed in a variety of ways, from shared webpages to email lists to direct partnerships. Some programs are involving students beyond their journalism programs.  How do they recruit those students and why? And we also talk about raising money for your program, knowing that University funding often follows students. Here we hear from program leaders on some of these topics. Our panel includes Alva James- Johnson, a teacher at Southern Adventist University who works with students to increase coverage of the surrounding community; Marcie Young Cancio with Amplify Utah, an organization that works with a number of partners, Elizabeth Stephens at the University of Missouri, who distributes statehouse reporting content in partnership with the Missouri Press Association and David Squires at North Carolina A&T, where student reporters are covering the neighboring East Greensboro community, to fill reporting gaps at the hard-hit daily Greensboro News & Record and supply content to two local weeklies.

As always, we will also hear from all of you. How is it going? What challenges do you face? What questions or suggestions do you have. At the heart of all of these programs are creative and innovative faculty. Bring your questions and thoughts.

Mar 31, 2023: Stories of Local News Partnerships Making a Difference

Listen here

Chat transcript

Student reporters in University/local media collaborations are bringing local news to rural, urban and suburban areas. In this panel we hear from three programs; Amanda Bright of the University of Georgia, who oversees the ownership and operation of a community paper, Andrew Conte, who coordinates student reporting projects through Point Park University in Pittsburgh, and University of Miami professor Tsitsi D. Wakhisi (invited), who coordinates Communitywire.miami – a student staffed reporting initiative to produce local stories for city neighborhoods.

We also will hear from all of you. How is it going? What challenges do you face? What questions or suggestions do you have. The Center has identified more than 140 of these programs and there are more – but at the heart of all of them are creative and innovative faculty. Bring your questions and thoughts!

This panel will be moderated by CCN Director Richard Watts.

Feb 24, 2023: Research on Local News

Listen here

Chat transcript and resources

Join us for a panel discussion of the latest research  on local news, moderated by Dr. Mimi Perreault, drawing from the 2023 Local Journalism Researchers Workshop (Feb 16, 17) co-sponsored by University of North Carolina and Duke University. More than 50 presentations focused on local news research, from pink slime to civic engagement were featured at the workshop. In this brown bag, session organizers Philip Napoli of Duke and Jessica Mahone from the University of North Carolina will highlight some of the top papers and findings. Phil Napoli is the Director of the DeWitt Wallace Center for Media and Democracy and Jessica Mahone is the Research Director Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media at the University of North Carolina.

Dr. Mimi Perreault’s research and teaching expertise are in community-media relations and media writing, specifically helping local non-profits develop strategic communication plans and she serves as the advisor to the student led regional publication, Overlooked in Appalachia.


Listen here

Chat transcript and resources

More than 100 colleges and universities are coordinating programs to provide local reporting. In this panel, Lara Salahi, of Endicott College, and Christina Smith, of Georgia College will discuss their research on these collaborations. Salahi, an award-winning journalist, started a partnership at Endicott College and Smith worked for 13 years as a community newspaper reporter and is now a weekly newspaper scholar. Also joining Salahi and Smith is Meg Heckman, from Northeastern University, the founder of a local media initative and a fellow scholar and Mark Berkey-Gerard, from Rowan University, who has identified more than a hundred news-academic collaborations partnerships in the U.S. and conducted surveys and interviews on key benefits and challenges. Christina Smith will moderate.


Listen here

Chat transcript and resources

CCN Report

As the number of fulltime statehouse reporters have decreased, student reporters in University/College led programs are stepping in to fill the gap and provide high-quality experiential learning for the students. Here we hear from four of those programs; Colleen Steffen with Indiana's Statehouse Files, Alix Bryan-Campos with VCUs Capital News Service, Chris Drew with LSU's statehouse news bureau and Rafael Lorente with Maryland's Capitol News Service. For more details see our case studies here. The panel is moderated by Kathleen McElroy of UT's Moody School of Communication in Austin. 


Listen here

Many of the local media partnerships utilize some mix of faculty-led university fundraising.  In this virtual brown bag we focus on university/faculty fundraising, exploring some of the different approaches and sources. Our panel includes Kevin Morgenstein Fuerst, Executive Director of Annual Giving at the University of Vermont Foundation; Susan Paterno, chair of the journalism program at Chapman University and Laura Simoes, Executive Director of the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications. The panel is moderated by Richard Watts, the Director of CNS. Each of the panelists has had extensive experience raising many thousands of dollars in university settings. Bring your own ideas and thoughts.

Read our Faculty Fundraising Report here

Community Foundation Locator


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A lack of local news undercuts democracy, reduces citizen engagement and leads to greater polarization. One recent report finds we are losing two community newspapers a week. What is the role of philanthropy in addressing the crisis? What is the role of public funding? Moderated by Meg Little Reilly, the Communications Director at the Convergence Center for Policy Resolution.  In this panel we hear from Karen Rundlet, a Director of the Journalism program at the Knight Foundation, Todd Franko, the director of local sustainability and development for Report for America and Michelle Srbinovich, the Vice-President for Portfolio Success at the American Journalism Project.


Listen here

A conversation with Andrea Wenzel, the author of “Community Centered Journalism” and Nikki Usher, the author of “News for the Rich, White and Blue.” A discussion of what we mean by community journalism, who it is for and who is involved in the production and dissemination of news.  This conversation is moderated by Traci Griffith, professor emeritus of Media Studies at St. Micheal’s College and the current racial justice director for ACLU Massachusetts.


Listen here

What are some of the innovative for-profit and public funding models? Moderated by Erica Beshears Perel, Director, Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media at the UNC Hussman School of Journalism and Media. Here we explore some private and public funding approaches. Mike Rispoli is the Senior Director of Journalism Policy at the Free Press/Free Press Action Fund that recently helped win $3 million in public funding for news outlets in New Jersey and Michael Shapiro, the founder of TAPinto, a for-profit franchise model for local news, that presently has a network of 86 local news sites in New Jersey (as well as sites in PA, Fl and NY).

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Upcoming Trainings

Check back this spring for more faculty trainings around the country!

News Training Available

In the News Training & Organizing program, CCN staff work with your campus to host a news training/organizing session for faculty (at your campus and regionally) interested in starting or growing student reporting programs.

Register/Request News Training

Site Visits

A strategic review of your university/college student reporting programs with a focus on expanding or starting new initiatives AND developing specific steps for implementation. Learn more about site visits here.

Request a Site Visit