With COVID-19 requiring students to stay home and stay safe, many college students are struggling to find work, especially those who are looking to gain valuable experience via internships. In response, the MSU School of Journalism is providing a stipend for students who cover news stories on the 2020 election and issues of equity or inclusion.
Students that have their stories published are eligible to receive $100 from the college, plus an additional $50 if the story is picked up by another news media outlet. The two individuals leading this effort are Editor in Residence Joe Grimm and Professor Geri Alumit Zeldes, Ph.D., who also serves on the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee at ComArtSci.
The aim of this paid reporting opportunity is to create discussions within the Spartan community and highlight important social changes that have been happening in 2020. Coverage of the U.S. election is being interpreted broadly, given the politicized climate in 2020. The faculty are also encouraging students to write articles from anywhere in the country or the world, as long as they relate to the U.S.
Suggested topics students could write about include misinformation in the media, whether mask wearing has become politicized, and how specific demographics are feeling about the 2020 election. Some student stories that have already been published include the articles "Lansing City Council hopes to defund police in plans of safer community" by Chase Goff, and "Mason looks in the mirror after a summer of national protests" by Jared Ramsey.
To have their stories published, students have been asked to first contact Zeldes or Grimm to pitch a story idea for approval, the same way a freelance writer would pitch articles in the real world. The professors have asked that students include at least three sources, even though face to face interviews are discouraged during this time. For each news topic, students are invited to write articles that are at least 500 words in length, including a visual or short audio or video component. Photojournalism stories are also encouraged, allowing students to report on a topic using a slide show of at least 20 images with captions.
This opportunity not only gives students a chance to receive cash in their bank accounts, but it also builds upon ComArtSci’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee of ComArtSci works tirelessly to cultivate an equitable and inclusive environment for all lives touched by the college, and now this is a chance for ComArtSci students to help start some of those meaningful discussions.
By Joe Strother