Papers get free year-round state coverage

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Franklin College and the Hoosier State Press Association have formed a partnership to provide coverage of state government and politics for Indiana’s newspapers year-round.

Stories from the college’s Statehouse Bureau will be available through HSPA’s content-sharing program, InfoNet, and all HSPA-member newspapers may use them.

Free news: HSPA-member newspapers can access stories generated by Franklin College Statehouse Bureau reporters through InfoNet, HSPA’s online content-sharing service. Get the free stories at hspainfo.net.

“Working with Franklin College’s journalism school on this project was a no-brainer because everyone wins,” said Steve Key, HSPA executive director and general counsel. “The students gain real-life experience, Indiana newspapers can get free coverage of state government, and Hoosiers have the opportunity to learn more about what their representatives are doing or contemplating.”

During this pilot year of the project, all HSPA members can access the content generated by the bureau regardless of participation in InfoNet. Editors access the stories at hspainfo.net.

For the past six years, Franklin College has involved its students in writing and reporting for participating Indiana newspapers, operating a Statehouse Bureau over its January term.

The bureau generates between 30 and 50 stories a week during that time.

“Like all of our academic programs, the Pulliam School of Journalism extends the classroom into active learning through engagement in the real world,” college president Jay Moseley said. “The Statehouse Bureau provides professional development for students in a way that serves our community.”

With support from the HSPA Foundation, among others, the Franklin

College Statehouse Bureau now will continue to operate throughout the year.

“The HSPA Foundation granted funding for this program for the excellent educational opportunity it offers students and the benefit readers receive through this expanded Statehouse coverage,” said Mayer Maloney, president of the HSPA Foundation board of directors and president and publisher of Hoosier Times Inc.

The bureau’s office space is at Emmis Communications on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis, two blocks from the Statehouse. Emmis provides the space rent-free.

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

“The first is that it provides superb experience and training for our students,” he 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 students who have been part of the bureau say that it changes their professional lives.

“As a freshman, being able to intern with the Franklin College Statehouse Bureau has been an amazing experience, one that I don’t believe I could get at any other institution,” said sophomore Jessica Wray of Franklin, a journalism major. “It’s a hands-on experience that puts students in a professional media setting and allows us to be on the news frontline of our state.”

The news outlets that use the Franklin College students’ work also say they benefit.

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

“You might not think that one of the state’s smallest newspapers would get much out of an effort like Franklin College is making,” said Tom Gettinger, the paper’s editor and a former board president for HSPA. “But we’ve found the General Assembly coverage by the Pulliam School has jump-started our in-session coverage of Indiana’s legislature.”