Newsrooms and Community
Pew Center for Civic Journalism, Washington, DC
J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, College Park, MD
Over the past decade, news organizations have forged new relationships with various partners in their communities. Sometimes the relationships are with other news organizations, sometimes they are with community groups. Some of the most productive relationships, however, have been with local colleges and universities.
Whereas, in the past, universities have been aloof and often quite detached from their hometowns, they are now emerging to leverage their expertise in ways that can make a difference to their communities. Higher education articles have traditionally focused on town–gown tensions, binge drinking, or landlordstudent tenant disputes—in addition to academic laurels or controversies. While not trying to abandon their watchdog roles, news organizations are reaching out to colleges and universities to add some additional juice to their journalism. Simply put, the news organizations are seeking to tap some of the academy's intellectual muscle in ways that build some capacity for addressing community issues or solving community problems. Moreover, the universities are looking for ways to be good corporate citizens.