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UC journalism students have new practicum opportunity

Working at The News Record can now be used as practicum credit

By Michelle Flanagan

Journalism students at the University of Cincinnati will now be able to earn practical credit by working at the student newspaper.

The requirement of professional experience – also known as a practicum – to earn a journalism degree is nothing new for students in UC's McMicken College of Arts and Sciences. But starting in the fall of 2019, that experience will be available a little closer to home.

The News Record, UC’s student-run campus newspaper, is where many writers get their feet wet. While it’s always provided bylines, clips and experience, in order to turn that experience into academic credit for the practicum, students had to work one-on-one with a journalism professor.

According to Jeff Blevins, professor and head of the Journalism Department, this idea has been a long time coming.

“The concept isn’t entirely new; it’s something that we’ve been doing for the past five years in different forms. We were looking for a way that would best encourage students to take advantage of the opportunity,” he said. “It’s the kind of thing that (The News Record's) professional editorial adviser/consultant Michael Perry had already been doing. This formalizes that and allows students to get academic credit for the experience.”

While students have received practicum credit in the past, the process of that experience will change now that the experience is formalized.

“For instance,” he said, “I supervised a News Record practicum with a student in which we set a range for the number of stories she was expected to submit. After they were published I would review and critique her work with the aim of making improvements over the course of the term. Because The News Record is editorially independent (professors cannot require prior review), it was a post-mortem exercise, but nonetheless a valuable one.”

That said, he also expects the new form to be more engaging for students, due to the fact that they’ll be working closely with the paper's professional adviser and consultant and that there will be more students involved. New students will get the power of collaboration, compared to students in the past who were working in a type of independent study.

Future students can thank the former and current editors-in-chief Jacob Fisher and Noelle Zielinkski, respectively, who were advocates for the new practicum model and were able to promote it. The editors realized the valuable experience the newspaper offers and worked to provide additional incentive for students to work there.

To learn more about UC’s Journalism program, click here

Featured image at top: A stack of newspapers.Photo/Mahesh Patel/Pixabay