Seems like a good idea, until you think about it for more than 45 seconds:
These schools have for years operated internal publications and news services, and professional news outlets often buy freelance pieces from reporters who are still in school. So why not make more explicit arrangements to have journalism students, who will work for course credit, fill the gaps left by the pros whom the news outlets could no longer afford to pay?
That is exactly what a number of institutions have done. The latest partnership, announced this week, is an alliance between New York University and the New York Times, which cut 200 newsroom jobs last year. The university, in consultation with the Times metro desk, will run a hyper-local news site covering Manhattan’s East Village.
James and I touched on the subject of newspaper content in our first radio show, the gist being: When your budget forces you to thin your staff, how do you fill in the content gap the missing reporters and editors had previously provided?
Then again, outlets desperate to maintain a modicum of breadth can't be too choosy about who is giving them stories. “At this point, any way for news outlets to get more reportorial muscle on the ground is a good thing,” said Wemple.
Jack Shafer, media critic for Slate.com, cautioned against overvaluing experience — or even a journalism degree — in local news reporting. “I edited two alternative weeklies (Washington and San Francisco),” Shafer wrote in an e-mail, “and I’m here to tell you that some bright young things just out of college with no journalism education or experience can report and write great copy if an editor yells at them loud enough.”
If senior editors and business managers have learned anything from the Webolution, it is this: "Why pay for something if you can get it for free?"
The question is, how long will it take J-school students to figure that out? Will it be on graduation day, when they're getting ready to start paying down that $90,000 student loan, only to find that one of their underclassmen has taken their beat?