Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Online Newspaper at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

We passed on posting about the first issue, but it now has to be noticed.

Front Page Milwaukee is an online project of journalism students at UWM, and the Faculty Supervisor is Jessica McBride, blogger and talk show host on WTMJ.

McBride explains:
I am the editor-in-chief of this paper, which is produced by students at UW-Milwaukee’s Journalism and Mass Communication Department. Many of the stories and columns are produced in classes. The paper launched today. The goal of the paper is to enrich the public debate by providing stories that aren’t being told elsewhere. The paper also will offer a rich mixture of opinion voices. You can find everything from liberal to conservative voices in this paper, and everything in between.
Our first response is “wait a minute, this isn’t a student paper!”

Our second thought is: “students do reporting for journalism classes, why shouldn’t their work appear on the web?”

We have served as a source for countless reporting assignments in Marquette journalism classes which never appeared in any public venue. Some of this probably resulted in “C” grades -- so nothing was lost. But some probably deserved a wider audience.

The UWM journalism students appear to have done some pretty decent muckraking in their first two issues, revealing quite questionable spending by local school districts, and the criminal records of Milwaukee city cops.

The web-only format is clearly the wave of the future, given that the circulation of print newspapers is steadily declining, while the readership of the web (including the web sites of traditional papers) is headed upward.

When Marquette students founded The Warrior, they chose to go with the now-traditional pattern of a print newspaper with an online version essentially identical to the print edition. This certainly has advantages. But web technology has radically reduced barriers to entry in journalistic enterprises.

Are there faculty or students at Marquette who should follow the lead of the public university across town?

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