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Partnership with APME aids small-newspaper recruiters


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Four small newspapers have been awarded grants to help their editors recruit at schools included in the Freedom Forum's Diversity Directory, a database of colleges with significant minority student populations.

Ten grants of $300 each will be awarded to editors of newspapers of less than 75,000 daily circulation to defray recruiting/traveling expenses. The first newspapers receiving grants:

  • Star-Gazette, Elmira, N.Y., to visit Cleveland State University
  • Press & Sun-Bulletin, Binghamton, N.Y., to recruit at Temple University
  • The News-Star, Monroe, La., to visit Texas Southern University
  • South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, for a fall recruiting visit

Ken Stickney, managing editor of The News-Star, represented his newspaper on campus. “Texas Southern was a good learning experience for me,” said Stickney, who spoke to two reporting classes and met privately with several students during his visit.

“I especially wanted to speak to the introductory class so I could stress the importance of grades and participation on the campus newspaper,” he said. “Too often at job fairs I meet with students who majored in journalism but never actively engaged with campus media or professional media. … Response in both classes was excellent.”

Several students interviewed with Stickney on campus. One who had had a previous internship elsewhere is expected to go to the Monroe newspaper for a second interview.

Stickney said he made useful contacts at Texas Southern and at the University of Houston, which he also visited during his scouting trip to Houston. “Hopefully, these (visits) will work to our recruiting advantage.”

Gary Graham, managing editor of Binghamton's Press & Sun-Bulletin, spoke to two classes during a visit to Temple University in Philadelphia. “The students were attentive, engaged and asked good questions that kept me on my toes,” Graham said. He also spoke with faculty, toured the campus newspaper and met individually with a few students.

Bill Church, executive editor of Elmira's Star-Gazette, talked with students in the newspaper lab class at Cleveland State and critiqued The Cleveland Stater, which the class produces. He also met individually with several students.

“Bill has a lot of enthusiasm for community journalism, and that comes through in everything he says,” said Betty Clapp, of the communication-department faculty at Cleveland State. “That's inspiring, particularly for students who have to realize they won't be starting at The New York Times. I thought he was very helpful. I think the more visitors we can have in our classes and at the publications at CSU, the better.”

The three editors chose their campuses from the Diversity Directory, a database of information on 216 schools in 32 states and the District of Columbia. Most of the campuses were visited by a Freedom Forum Traveling Diversity Fellow during three semesters in 2000 and 2001. Other schools were added this year with information gathered from the schools and Freedom Forum research.

The Freedom Forum Fellows sought out schools not usually visited by newspaper recruiters. The fellows identified campuses with publications on which students can work and large populations of students of color. The campuses included four-year public and private schools and two-year schools. The directory also contains information on more than half of the country’s tribal colleges and one-quarter of the historically black colleges.

The Diversity Directory is searchable by college name, state and predominant ethnicity.

"The Diversity Directory is a worthwhile program for editors who want to extend their recruiting reach,” Church said. “You'll find students who are smart, savvy and serious about a career in journalism. You'll also find several who offer unique work-life experiences."

The recruiting grants are administered by the Freedom Forum and the Associated Press Managing Editors. To qualify, editors must be making their first visit to a given campus and have had no previous relationship with the school. There is no deadline for applying.

Participating editors agree to:

  • Teach a class or work with the campus newspaper during the visit. Campus-newspaper work could be a critique or a skills-based workshop.
  • Share with the Freedom Forum updated information about the school and students and feedback about the Diversity Directory.

To apply, send information about ...

  • Your newspaper (location, circulation, editor’s name).
  • The proposed recruiting trip (school to be visited, goals for visit).
  • The service to be provided at the school (teaching a class, coaching the student newspaper, etc.).

… to Kate Kennedy, director/Partnerships and Initiatives, Freedom Forum, 1101 Wilson Blvd., Arlington, VA 22209; 703/284-3932.