In a first-of-its kind partnership in Indiana, the Hoosier State Press Association and Ball State Student Media are teaming up to help HSPA members provide more content for their audiences, while giving student journalists an opportunity to earn professional bylines.
The partnership, which began in October, provides multimedia content, including photos, graphics and videos from Ball State’s College of Communication, Information and Media students and is made available to HSPA member papers across the state. Ball State is the only university in Indiana teaming up with HSPA.
Distributed under the Cardinal News Service banner, the content aims to fill the gaps for publishers and editors in communities challenged by a changing media marketplace. Simple issues like staff vacations can create real headaches for publishers in some areas, and the HSPA partnership with Ball State Student Media can help alleviate some of the pressure felt by professional journalists.
Steve Key, executive director and general counsel of the Hoosier State Press Association, said that at its heart, the partnership helps the organization fulfill its mission of serving Indiana’s newspapers.
“A free press benefits everyone and helps preserve our democracy, but we understand the marketplace, and we know it is challenging for some news outlets to continue to provide the kind of service their audiences rely on,” Key said. “Our hope is that these stories can give publishers and editors a helping hand.”
The relationship is already paying off for students who now have professional credits to add to their portfolios.
Daily News staffers Sumayyah Muhammad and Kamryn Tomlinson paired up to create a package about research a Ball State undergraduate student is doing, examining the genetic mutation linked to ALS.
The story was published by the Ball State Daily News in early October. About a month later, it was published by The Lebanon Reporter, thanks to the HSPA and Ball State partnership.
“I was shocked and excited when I found out that my article was published by The (Lebanon) Reporter,” said Muhammad, a sophomore Journalism major from Illinois. “I’m glad that my article can be read by anyone outside of The Daily News’ audience while continuing to spread awareness to ALS.”
Added Tomlinson: “I think it is truly a great resource for student journalists to have their stories, graphics and photos picked up by news outlets and organizations in the surrounding area.
“It gives students the chance to realize that they are more than just a student, and that their work is admired and appreciated by others. Additionally, it is always nice to see your name attached to a piece that is not your home organization,” said Tomlinson, a junior Journalism major from Lima, Ohio.
The team up with HSPA creates opportunities for students to add to their body of work, and those are skills employers are seeking said Lisa Renze-Rhodes, student publications adviser at Ball State.
“By taking advantage of the content sharing, editors who are or who will be looking for staff members get a trial run of sorts with these young people,” Renze-Rhodes said. “When they have internships or job openings, they are very likely to look to those who they already know can do the work. The journalists themselves get an opportunity to build a more robust portfolio, and potentially position themselves for the start of their careers.
“It’s a great win-win.”