Of course we believe that local reporting is public service. But to underline the point – and help connect the corps members to the community in a different way – the program also requires the reporter to do a direct service project.
These projects are focused on helping middle and high school students to create or enhance student-run journalism or storytelling projects (news websites, podcasts, broadcasts, etc). Through these projects, the corps members mentor the next generation of potential journalists — and teach broader skills crucial to all young people: listening, empathy, open-mindedness, intellectual honesty.
In Eastern Kentucky, Will Wright is working with high school students to set up a school paper. In West Virginia, Molly Born and Caity Coyne, are helping young people to tell their stories about trauma and their lives, with an eye towards teaching them how to create podcasts.
These projects are mostly done on the reporter’s own time but the selected news organizations are committed to their success and have pledged flexibility, as long as the primary work takes priority.