Partnership gives UC journalism students real-world experience

Capstone class collaborates with alumni association to create graduate success series

 By Rebecca Schweitzer 

For University of Cincinnati students, work experience is always an important component of their undergraduate study, helping prepare them for careers beyond the classroom.

This holds true for Journalism students as they take their senior capstone with educator associate professor Bob Jonason in UC's College of Arts and Sciences.

The News Collaborative course is the capstone of a journalism degree at UC. Designed for graduating seniors, the course offers students a way to showcase all they have learned through two news pieces they are encouraged to get published. 

For the course, students develop two in-depth news articles: One is a 2,000-word multimedia story with a local focus. For students this spring semester, the second assignment was a collaborative project with the college's Office of Alumni and Donor Experience. 

Maggie Ibrahim-Taney, program director of Alumni & Donor Experience, UC College of Arts and Sciences.

Maggie Ibrahim-Taney

“Due to the pandemic, we have had to get creative to find ways to engage our alumni with students,” said Maggie Ibrahim-Taney, program director for Alumni and Donor Experience, A&S and Libraries. 

This past spring was the first time that students in the News Collaborative coordinated with the alumni office, but it will not be the last. The 17 journalism students enrolled in the course were assigned alumni to contact in order to write alumni profiles, under the guidance of the A&S Office of Marketing and Communications, which contributes articles to UC News.  

Jonason said he was happy to have the students work with the Marketing and Communications office, because he felt confident that the students would be provided with good feedback on their work as well as a structured and content focused environment. 

UC educator associate professor of Journalism Bob Jonason.

Bob Jonason

This opportunity allowed students to gain experience in research, interviewing, writing and getting published on a local level, as well as enabling them to create important connections with university alumni. 

“Alumni were asked to share their undergraduate careers at A&S, career paths and highlights and reflections on their college experiences while at UC and the students worked to put together a piece for submission to local news publications,” Ibrahim-Taney said.

“We were delighted to collaborate on this project, share this opportunity with our alumni and look forward to seeing the published pieces from the students.”

“The capstone course, News Collaborative, helped me get great clips for my portfolio,” UC journalism student Maggie Stacey said.

“I’m proud of the pieces I wrote for this class. I’m grateful to have that opportunity, as it has further prepared me for the workforce.”

The student’s stories will be published as a UC News series over the coming months, highlighting both their writing abilities and the careers of alumni.  

Featured image at top: Student works on laptop. Photo/Alejandro Escamilla/Unsplash.