Capital News Service Gives Students Journalistic Opportunities and Real World Experiences

Students in Capital News Service Gain Real Journalism Experience with Networking and Publications

Capital News Service is not unlike the typical newsroom. Students in the program write, rewrite and send out real stories that get picked up by news outlets statewide. Alumni have gone on to news networks with large audiences, including big names like CNN and Bloomberg. What students can achieve in the classroom is expanded upon in this hands-on, real world approach to teaching journalism.

“This is one of the last experiences that pushes them out and I think it’s the best thing we do to prepare students for the real world in newspapers, wire services, and government press offices. It’s not just writing a story that only your instructor gives a grade and feedback on,” said Eric Freedman, M.S, Professor of Journalism.

A Genuine Journalistic Experience

The instructor helps facilitate and guide students as they brainstorm their own story ideas and compose news articles from start to finish. The students go off campus, engaging with different sources and gaining confidence in working outside the confines of the classroom.

“We don’t do lectures. At the beginning of the semester there is some orientation into the structure of government in Michigan, the mediascape of our papers--but no lectures, no textbook, no exams,” said Freedman.

While it is not student-led or self-paced, Freedman explained that students venture and explore the avenues of journalistic writing they want to focus on and grow in. While some students may lean towards certain topics, they will all be exposed to many facets of journalism, from politics and policy to environmentalism.

Not only do students in this program receive the real world experience and work ethic found in journalistic settings, they also make connections with each other, alumni, and potential employers looking for eager graduates. Freedman stated Capital News Service acts as a pipeline for student success.

“We give our students access to people with real power and influence, maybe an interview with the governor, head of cabinet agencies, presidents and executive directors of major lobbying and advocacy groups. That always makes us feel good,” said Freedman.

He then told of a student who started in Capital News Service, jumped to the Lansing State Journal and then landed a position at Bloomberg Singapore after a stint in Washington D.C. Freedman occasionally brings this alumnus into his classrooms. The former CNS correspondent always credits the program for his success in the industry.

Program Details

The program can be taken for one to three credits by students of all disciplines, and students who wish to gain more experience can retake the program for less credits. While it doesn’t count as the required internship students must experience to graduate, Freedman explained it serves as more of a practicum. 

Students get a strong network, portfolio pieces and a slew of professional work already seen by the public. This can give prospective journalists the boost they need to enter the workforce, thanks to Capital News Service.

“The class is easily the most impactful opportunity I took advantage of at Michigan State. I’ve been published in over a dozen professional newspapers and I can really see the reach of my work in such a short time.” said Evan Jones, International Journalism and History Junior and current CNS correspondent.

By John Castro

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