Out of 63 college applicants across the country, The Independent Florida Alligator was one of nine chosen by Poynter for its College Media Project.
The Alligator will be a participant in the program until Spring 2019. Poynter will train the newspaper staff on campus and provide online coaching, said Poynter’s Senior Vice President Kelly McBride. The staff will also work on a year-long project with a budget of up to $3,000.
The money saved from the program will allow The Alligator to request more public records, improve audience engagement and add new technology, said Meryl Kornfield, a 21-year-old UF journalism senior and The Alligator’s editor-in-chief.
“Not every student journalist can do this, so it’s fantastic that we can,” Kornfield said.
Student media allows audiences on campus to have a conversation, McBride said. The project was created to help student media promote a mutual understanding in a university community.
Student-run newsrooms struggle with tight resources, large staff turnover and lack of priority among staff, McBride said. Despite this, it is where many students fall in love with journalism.
“I want student media to continue to be a good place for young journalists to develop a passion for their work,” McBride said.
McBride wants to expand the program by working with more student organizations.
“I hope 10 years down the road some of the people who went through the project are leading America’s newsrooms,” McBride said.