ABC News is launching a new initiative to tap college students as newsgatherers and potential recruits.
Dubbed ABC News on Campus, the program will establish “digital bureaus” at five of the country’s top journalism and communications schools.
The participating schools are: The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University; the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University; the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications; the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill College of Journalism and Mass Communications; and the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism.
Students, selected and vetted by professors and ABC News, will have the chance to produce content for all the ABC News platforms and work with mentors from the network.
In each bureau, one student will be hired as “bureau chief”—and unlike many news internships, participating students will be paid.
John Green, executive producer for special projects and development for ABC News and the man who spearheaded the project, says that at first, most of the submissions will be directed towards ABCNews.com and NewsNow. However, content from the students could appear on any of the network’s programs.
“On any given day there may be a need from our news desk to respond to some news, a [Virginia Tech] type situation,” Green says. “College bureaus could record sound or ask students how they feel about security on their campus. Certainly World News or Good Morning America would use that sort of content.”
The first original program to come out of the initiative, ABC News on Campus, will feature the best submissions from the college bureaus, and will be available online.
Green says that while they are “very, very enthusiastic” about the program, they don’t want to apply too much pressure early on.
“We don’t want them to feel as though they have to go in there and create content and know everything they would know if they were full time working professionals,” says Green. “They are college students, and we are mentors to them.”
The network is also using the initiative as a chance to recruit potential future ABC News staffers.
“We will get to know these students over the course of the school year and they will get to know us, and we will be in a great position to know their work and their work ethic,” says Green. “Naturally it would be a great opportunity to come to ABC News after working for us at the school. “