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27 Aug 2013

New Raycom Partnership Boosts Auburn Journalism Program

Raycom Media and the College of Liberal Arts' School of Communication and Journalism announce a pioneering partnership to train multimedia student journalists.

Professors and Raycom Media professionals will work with students in a convergent newsroom to reinforce classroom lessons with live reporting experiences. The partnership will allow Journalism and Communication School majors to have hands-on learning experiences in a state-of-the-art studio. Students will deepen their journalistic experiences by working in an active newsroom to produce local news stories for television, the Web, social media and digital devices, according to School of Communication and Journalism Director Jennifer Wood Adams.

"The Auburn and Raycom collaboration will provide students with invaluable training, real-time journalism ethics instruction and insight into industry expectations," Adams said. "The groundbreaking part of this partnership is the direct link our students will have to Raycom news executives, who will be able to mentor and guide their professional development, as well as tap students and graduates for internships and jobs."

The AU news studio will adopt a teaching hospital model that has been strongly advocated for by media executives and journalism foundations. Last fall, representatives from the nation's leading journalism foundations, who have been clamoring for change in the way journalism students are educated, wrote an open letter to university presidents stating that students need a "teaching hospital" newsroom that is akin to the training medical students receive by working alongside a physician on rounds while in med school.

"News consumption habits are rapidly changing, and that calls for new ways to prepare tomorrow's multimedia professionals," Auburn University President Jay Gogue said. "We're excited about where this innovative partnership will position Auburn in the communication and journalism profession."

The studio will be located a block from campus on Gay Street. Raycom Media is providing studio equipment, as well as editing software, cameras, sets, furniture, and professional expertise all the students will use. Also available for both students and professionals will be live video functionality including the latest portable equipment making use of 4G wireless technology. This will all create and maintain a convergent newsroom and classroom space. The Raycom investment through this partnership provides technology, time and training to the School of Communication and Journalism at a value of more than $350,000.

Raycom will house a news bureau in the space, which will allow Auburn students to observe and work alongside of broadcast news and sports reporters, producers and news directors. Through class assignments, students will contribute digital material and video packages on WSFA's and WTVM's stations and websites. Majors will receive feedback and advice about their reporting and producing skills from journalism professors and news professionals.

"The partnership will help students learn how to handle the challenges of today's news operation," Raycom Media President and CEO Paul McTear said. "It will also demonstrate the importance of journalistic integrity, while providing Auburn students with an understanding of the need to quickly disseminate news on multiple platforms. In addition, this is a tremendous vehicle for the news gathering industry to indentify and grow those up and coming journalists for our fields."

The studio is expected to open by October with classes taught in the space starting spring 2014.