Reporting Texas Gives News Media Stories on Under-Reported Topics While Honing Students’ Reporting and Digital Media Skills

March 22, 2011

AUSTIN, Texas — Reporting Texas, a digital media initiative in the School of Journalism at The University of Texas at Austin, is offering its coverage of stories about Central Texas and beyond to news organizations that may not have the time or resources to cover, while teaching students the process of producing high-quality content in a digital environment.

"All Reporting Texas content — from news and feature stories, to opinion pieces, to sound slide shows, to photo essays, to audio and video — is open-source, meaning any media organization can use the content as long as it is attributed to Reporting Texas," said Avery Holton, a doctoral candidate in the School of Journalism and Reporting Texas editor.

Supported by a three-year grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Knight Foundation and their Initiative on the Future of Journalism Education, Reporting Texas emphasizes reporting on unique and often under-reported stories to provide in-depth views of people and places that sometimes go uncovered in the news. Topics covered include politics and society, business and technology, sports and leisure and Hidden Texas (stories that reveal unique aspects of the state).

"Reporting Texas signals a shift in our approach to journalism education to a greater focus on digital media and training future journalists to be conversant in new techniques while applying traditional values of thoroughness and accuracy," said Tracy Dahlby, the Frank A. Bennack, Jr. Chair in Journalism and faculty adviser to Reporting Texas. "It's also an ideal mechanism for sharing with others throughout Texas and beyond the good work our journalism students do in bringing to light the interests and issues of our community."

Undergraduate and graduate students from across the campus can submit content to the news site. Accepted content goes through a rigorous editing process involving graduate students and faculty members, who have extensive backgrounds as professional journalists at publications such as The Austin American-Statesman, The Dallas Morning News, the Dow Jones economic wire services, The Washington Post and Newsweek, People and Time magazines.

The goals of the initiative are to showcase the best work of undergraduate and graduate students, offer quality, multimedia reporting to local, state and national news outlets, experiment with new approaches in journalism education and combine aspects of community reporting with multimedia resources.

In addition to making content available to media organizations, Reporting Texas is seeking to partner with Texas media organizations on joint internships where undergraduate and graduate students would produce content for both organizations, helping report on unique stories or those stories that media outlets may not have the resources to cover.

Two Austin media outlets, KUT 90.5, Austin's NPR affiliate, and The Austin American-Statesman, have entered into content-sharing arrangements with Reporting Texas. Under its partnership with KUT News, student interns produce radio stories and multimedia pieces that simultaneously appear on both outlets credited as work for Reporting Texas and KUT News.

Media outlets interested in using Reporting Texas content or pursuing internship possibilities should contact Editor Avery Holton.

For more information, contact: Erin Geisler, KUT Radio, Moody College of Communication, (512) 475-8071; Avery Holton, 713-591-5199.