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Open Campus to create student reporting fellowship to expand coverage of HBCUs

Photo: Eric J. Shelton, Mississippi Today/ Report for America

Open Campus is partnering with Jarrett Carter Sr., a veteran journalist and the founder of HBCU Digest, to create the HBCU Student Journalism Network, a paid reporting fellowship offering professional development and fostering coverage of historically Black colleges and universities.

The network, supported by philanthropic grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, Craig Newmark Philanthropies, and the Scripps Howard Fund, will offer training, diversify the talent pool, and bring additional journalistic attention to an important part of American higher education.

Since creating HBCU Digest in 2009, Carter has built the online publication into a resource for coverage of the economic, cultural, political, and industrial factors impacting historically Black institutions nationwide. The Student Journalist Network combines his expertise with the national reach and mission-oriented journalism of Open Campus. 

“I am truly excited to partner with Open Campus in developing a pipeline of student journalists from HBCUs who will expand reporting on these invaluable institutions,” said Carter, who will serve as the editorial director of the project. “There is no better area than higher education to help emerging writers find their voices and hone their skills in journalism.”

Up to six paid reporting fellows will be selected for the inaugural class starting in January 2023. These current HBCU students will focus on covering their campuses for regional and national audiences while exploring the trends affecting the entire sector. 

“Historically Black colleges play critical roles in students’ lives and in American society, but few journalists focus on how well these important players are fulfilling their public missions,” said Sara Hebel, co-founder and editor-in-chief of Open Campus. “We’re excited to work with student fellows to provide knowing, on-the-ground coverage that can help inform and advance the national conversation.”

Students with some journalism experience and an interest in writing about HBCUs for a national audience are encouraged to apply. Fellows will receive stipends of $1,200 per month for 10-15 hours of work each week. More details on applying for the fellowship.

They’ll work closely with Carter and editors at Open Campus on story ideas, reporting, and writing. In addition to the professional development and training opportunities, select stories will be published on the Open Campus website, with Open Campus’s local partner newsrooms, and with Capital B, a Black-led, nonprofit local and national news organization reporting for Black communities across the country. 

Have ideas? Questions? Get in touch at hbcu@opencampusmedia.org.

About Open Campus

Founded in 2019, Open Campus is the only nonprofit news organization in the nation dedicated exclusively to higher education. It’s built on an innovative collaborative model, combining a national newsroom that knows higher ed deeply with local newsrooms that know their communities deeply. Open Campus has put local reporters on the higher-ed beat in partnerships with nine newsrooms around the country.

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