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2020
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7

The year of student-powered journalism

“Stepping into the void left by constant layoffs, newsroom closures, and media consolidation, college students will provide news and information of great import and interest on an unprecedented scale.”

In 2020, the boots — or high-top sneakers — on the ground will be increasingly owned by student journalists covering social and political issues affecting communities and states. Stepping into the void left by constant layoffs, newsroom closures, and media consolidation, college students will provide news and information of great import and interest on an unprecedented scale.

Academic institutions will continue to become local journalism hubs, particularly in news deserts where there is no daily news outlet or in areas with diminished coverage. The uptick in enrollment in journalism programs will fuel this trend.

Watch for expanded community and investigative reporting as well as longform storytelling being published across English-speaking and bilingual platforms alike. Watch for election-year political coverage through the lens of a younger demographic.

Watch for further investment in online news services (like Fresh Take Florida, NNS, and CNS) by alumni, foundations, and supporters of a free press. Watch for the creation of newsletters, podcasts and special reports focusing on local neighborhoods and people.

All of this and more will be powered by college students guided by educators, who were once stalwart professionals who moved from newsrooms to the academy.

As we enter a new decade, expect this to be a golden one for emerging journalists as they report, write, produce, and disseminate stories like no other generation. Look to your left or right while on assignment to see a young reporter from the area college, standing there with a press pass, recorder, camera, mobile device, and/or pen and pad, covering that big news event or routine city council meeting.

Students won’t just be learning how to hold power accountable — they’ll be doing it.

Mira Lowe is director of the Innovation News Center at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications.

In 2020, the boots — or high-top sneakers — on the ground will be increasingly owned by student journalists covering social and political issues affecting communities and states. Stepping into the void left by constant layoffs, newsroom closures, and media consolidation, college students will provide news and information of great import and interest on an unprecedented scale.

Academic institutions will continue to become local journalism hubs, particularly in news deserts where there is no daily news outlet or in areas with diminished coverage. The uptick in enrollment in journalism programs will fuel this trend.

Watch for expanded community and investigative reporting as well as longform storytelling being published across English-speaking and bilingual platforms alike. Watch for election-year political coverage through the lens of a younger demographic.

Watch for further investment in online news services (like Fresh Take Florida, NNS, and CNS) by alumni, foundations, and supporters of a free press. Watch for the creation of newsletters, podcasts and special reports focusing on local neighborhoods and people.

All of this and more will be powered by college students guided by educators, who were once stalwart professionals who moved from newsrooms to the academy.

As we enter a new decade, expect this to be a golden one for emerging journalists as they report, write, produce, and disseminate stories like no other generation. Look to your left or right while on assignment to see a young reporter from the area college, standing there with a press pass, recorder, camera, mobile device, and/or pen and pad, covering that big news event or routine city council meeting.

Students won’t just be learning how to hold power accountable — they’ll be doing it.

Mira Lowe is director of the Innovation News Center at the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications.

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