Journalism: College Students Filling In The Gap

Mar 8, 2012

The Southern Poverty Law Center says that for the third year in a row there’s been a dramatic increase in the number of people taking part in militias and what it calls the American radical right. In a new report, the Center says the increase is linked to economic issues, conspiracy theories, and the election of Barak Obama as President.

The Center lists sixteen active hate groups in Washington, fifteen in Oregon, and eighteen in Idaho.
This story was first reported by Stephanie Schendel, a student at Washington State University, and then picked up by national news services.

Stephanie Schendel had done reporting work at The Daily Evergreen, the student newspaper at Washington State, but by her own admission never anything quite like this:

Stephanie Schendel: “This story was definitely out of my comfort zone.”

Schendel is a senior double majoring in Spanish and Communications. She worked on this story as part of her journalism work through the Murrow News Service in the journalism program at WSU:

Stephanie Schendel: “As a person I was never really aware of this perspective and aware of this movement. Honestly I learned something new every single day.”

Schendel’s work on this story is an example of a growing trend in journalism— at a time when the number of news outlets is expanding, the number of trained reporters devoted to providing news to those outlets is shrinking. More and more, college students are picking up valuable experience and contributing stories to fill in the gaps of news coverage.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio

Link to the story at MSNBC
Murrow News Service
Southern Poverty Law Center Report