Stockton Partners with Press of A.C. to Open Reporting Lab
Atlantic City, N.J. — Studies have shown communities that read local journalism have stronger connections and are more likely to vote.
“Communities everywhere need journalism to thrive,” said Press of Atlantic City Executive Editor Buzz Keough. “Local stories and local reporting are what makes a community stronger in many ways. Journalists serve as watchdogs and community storytellers. They help foster civic involvement.”
Giving a boost to the community and training student journalists is the driving force behind the creation of the Community Reporting Innovation Lab — a new partnership between Stockton University and The Press that opened Wednesday at the university’s Atlantic City campus.
The lab consists of two dedicated rooms in the John F. Scarpa Academic Center with meeting space, computers, and in the future, the capability to record video stories and podcasts.
“Stockton has enjoyed a great relationship with The Press as stewards of information and the community,” said Leamor Kahanov, Stockton’s provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “We are trusted by the public to elevate truth, promote fellowship and elevate our society. This will be a hub for our students and The Press to collaborate and affect the community in a positive way.”
Keough said the idea for the lab came up about a year ago during a conversation with Stockton President Harvey Kesselman. The Press’ relationship with Stockton goes back years when alum and former Press Editor and Publisher Charles Reynolds set up a scholarship with the school. That scholarship evolved into an internship program, and Keough said in the past six years, 20 students have worked in the newsroom reporting and writing stories and creating videos for The Press’ website and print edition.
With the opening of the lab, that arrangement will grow and become more integrated with Stockton’s Communication Studies program.
“There’s a certain level of training and knowledge of journalism that you don’t get immediately and only get in a newsroom,” Keough said. “This gives students that real-world experience. Getting published is still the benchmark for anyone looking to enter journalism.”
Plans call for Press editors to work with Stockton professors to create a reporting and interviewing course at the lab for the Spring 2023 and Fall 2023 semesters. The Press will also participate in student recruitment activities and Stockton information sessions to bolster and grow the Communication Studies program.
“It is an opportunity for more hands-on, experiential learning,” said Toby Rosenthal, a Stockton Communication Studies faculty member. “We’ll be able to have more professional writing, not just in journalism courses, but in all Communication Studies courses. We can be more deliberate about how we are coaching students, training students and teaching students.”
A lot of students are detached from Atlantic City and don’t really have a sense of community, even though we have a campus here and some of the students live here. So I think it’s really important for us to get students back in touch with the community we are reporting on.”
This semester, Stockton senior Jillian Frantz is working on the Intergenerational Project with Stories of Atlantic City. The Communications Studies major with a concentration in journalism said the lab’s location in the city is vital to students.
“A lot of students are detached from Atlantic City and don’t really have a sense of community, even though we have a campus here and some of the students live here,” said Frantz, who also interned with The Press earlier this year. “So I think it’s really important for us to get students back in touch with the community we are reporting on.”
The potential for the lab to build on that connection to the community is what Keough is most excited about with the new partnership.
“We are just getting started,” he said. “This lab is a beautiful space, but what I think is really beautiful is when you look beyond the lab to Atlantic City. That’s where we are going to make our mark — bringing students into the community to write stories as professional journalists.”
— Story by Mark Melhorn; photos by Stacey Clapp
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Director of Strategic Communications
Associate Director of News and Media Relations