College reporters have it covered at Statehouse

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Franklin College sophomore Samm Quinn, left, interviews Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, after a speech by U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., before the Indiana Senate on Jan. 18. Stories by Franklin College student journalists are available through HSPA’s online content-sharing service, InfoNet.

HSPA and Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism are partnering to provide coverage of state government and politics for Indiana newspapers.

Student journalists will again staff a Statehouse news bureau covering the Indiana General Assembly, and this year the stories will be available through HSPA’s online content-sharing service, InfoNet.

All HSPA-member newspapers may use the stories regardless of whether they have registered to share and acquire stories through InfoNet.

Working with Franklin College’s journalism school on this project was a no-brainer because everyone wins, said Stephen Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel.

“The students gain real-life experience, Indiana newspapers without the resources to do so can provide current coverage of state government, and Hoosiers have the opportunity to learn more about what their state government representatives are doing or contemplating,” Key said.

For the past six years, Frank­­lin College has operated a Statehouse bureau during its January term. The students involved write and report stories for participating Indiana newspapers.

When the project started in 2005, six newspapers participated. This year, more than 30 are involved.

John Krull, director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism, said the college started the Statehouse project for two reasons.

“The first is that it provides superb experience and training for our students,” Krull said. “The second is that we believe newspapers should be watchdogs of government, and in these difficult days for newspapers we want to help with that important work.”

The Franklin Statehouse bureau generates between 30 and 50 stories a week. During this pilot year of the HSPA-Franklin College partnership, all HSPA member papers can access them regardless of participation in InfoNet.

To access to the students’ stories and InfoNet, go to www.hspainfo.net. Click “Statehouse Bureau” on the navigation bar. It includes a list of headlines and the first sentence of the lead.

To further assist editors in selecting stories, the attention line lists counties that may be most interested.

The Sullivan Daily Times was among the first Indiana newspapers to work with Franklin College on the project.

“John Krull’s kids often do stories on topics that The Associated Press cannot do – regional or economic issues like coal-bed methane development and Department of Correction issues – that mean a great deal to our readers,” Daily Times Editor Tom Gettinger said. “And with lean times at AP and tighter news holes everywhere, we as an industry can’t let mundane General Assembly coverage sneak into our pages at all.”

Only HSPA-member papers have authorization to use the copyrighted stories.

For more information on InfoNet, contact Shawn Goldsby at sgoldsby@hspa.com or (317) 803-4772.

For more information on the Statehouse Bureau, contact Krull at jkrull@franklincollege.edu.