The News Outlet is a collaborative effort among public universities in Northeastern Ohio and professional media partners.

Founded and operated at Youngstown State University, The News Outlet seeks to give students valuable experience in reporting and producing investigative and enterprise stories, producing valuable content and providing audiences with critical information they need in order to be informed and engaged through legacy media.

Interns from Youngstown State University, The University of Akron, The University of Cincinnati, Kent State University and Cuyahoga Community College  have produced stories for regional and statewide media partners, including its two founding media partners, WYSU-FM Radio and The Vindicator (Youngstown). Other media partners include The Beacon Journal and Rubber City Radio in Akron, and WKYC, the NBC-affiliate TV station in Cleveland.

The project began in Fall 2009 with a grant from The Raymond John Wean Foundation, and support from WYSU-FM, The Vindicator and the YSU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation  has awarded The News Outlet numerous national grants. The News Outlet also has received financial support from the Gannett Foundation and the Youngstown Foundation.

The content the students produce is offered first to media partners, and then to any other organization. The only requirement: The organization must use the student’s byline,TheNewsOutlet.org (hyperlinked to www.thenewsoutlet.org) and alert us when the content is being used.

The model is unique for numerous reasons:

  • We engage our communities. Student interns attend neighborhood group and block watch meetings to listen to residents and to develop story ideas. Residents can then vote on which stories we pursue.
  • We provide future journalists with rich experience. Students, faculty and professionals work together on story development. It’s part theoretical, part practical. Professionals come to The News Outlet office to work with students and students also travel to our media partners.
  • We are exploring media collaboration and cooperation. Through The NewsOutlet.org, media outlets can share content and pool resources.
  • We work in multiple platforms. Students routinely produce web videos, narrated slide shows and print and radio broadcast stories.

For more information about the news service, contact Tim Francisco at tfrancisco@thenewsoutlet.org or Alyssa Lenhoff at alenhoff@thenewsoutlet.org.

Board of Advisers

James Crutchfield, trustee, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Stephen Engelberg, editor, ProPublica.

Todd Franko, editor, The Vindicator, Youngstown, OH

Jack Hagan, professor, Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland.

Marilyn Geewax, business editor, National Public Radio.

Henry Gomez, reporter, The Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Chris Keppler, 1590-WAKR, Akron, Ohio.

Joan Mazzolini, communications officer, Sisters of Charity Foundation, Cleveland.

Doug Oplinger, managing editor, The Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio.

Ebony Reed, assistant bureau chief for New England, Associated Press.

Michael Schudson, professor, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, New York.

Gary Sexton, station manager, WYSU-FM, public radio, Youngstown, Ohio.

Mark M. Sweetwood, managing editor of news, The Vindicator, Youngstown, OH.

Gordon Wean, president, The Raymond John Wean Foundation, Warren, Ohio.

TheNewsOutlet.org in the News

The News Outlet was featured in a blog post on the Knight Foundation website.

Read the post here: http://knightfoundation.org/blogs/knightblog/2014/1/2/journalism-initiative-teaches-students-rigors-investigative-reporting/

The Ohio Board of Regents recently asked the directors of The News Outlet and Youngstown State University about ways the program could be expanded throughout the state and across the nation.

Read the Page A1 story in The Vindicator, Nov. 21: http://www.vindy.com/news/2013/nov/21/panel-wants-to-expand-newsoutlet-program/

See the WKBN news report: http://www.wkbn.com/news/local/board-of-regents-visits-ysu

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