Saturday, June 20, 2009
Journalism students in action cover the greater Sacramento community...
The following proves the truth of the axiom that "action gets it going." Story by Sacramento State's Public Affairs Office, June 19, 2009.
Journalism students cover the community
A handful of Sacramento State journalism students are gaining valuable real-world reporting experience by covering the capital area for the Community News Service (CNS), a website created by Communication Studies Professor Molly Dugan. She launched CNS last spring and persuaded The Sacramento Bee to link the site to its "Our Towns" page in sacbee.com. The service lets students - there were five last semester - earn three units toward their journalism major.
Dugan, who operates CNS on her own time, assigns the beats, edits the stories, writes the headlines and mentors the students. Beats include, but are not limited to: Citrus Heights/Roseville, Folsom, Rancho Cordova, Elk Grove and Woodland/Yolo County. "The beats all have local governmental bodies," Dugan says. "My hope was that students could start by covering local government and expand their stories from there."
The students come up with their own story ideas, but each must be approved by Dugan. Coverage has included Yolo county budget cuts and layoffs, pets being abandoned in foreclosed homes, and Folsom police targeting drunk drivers. "There is a big difference between classes that tell you how to find and write stories, how to conduct interviews and what questions to ask, and a class like this, where you actually do all those things," says student writer Steffi Broski. "This one puts incomparable emphasis on learning by doing."
Dugan calls CNS a "fantastic opportunity for students to cover off-campus issues and have their stories linked to the website of a major newspaper." "The communities benefit form more news coverage," she says. "The CNS journalists are one more way we are linking the work being done at Sacramento State to the greater region."
Photo: flickr (fortun8)