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As climate change conference opens, one CA city takes action; Israel and Hamas extend Gaza truce by one day in a last-minute deal; WV could lose hundreds of millions in Medicaid funding.

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An expulsion vote looms for Rep. George Santos, the Ohio Supreme Court dismisses lawsuits against district maps and the Supreme Court hears a case which could cut the power of federal agencies.

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Congress has iced the Farm Bill, but farmer advocates argue some portions are urgent, the Hoosier State is reaping big rewards from wind and solar, and opponents react to a road through Alaska's Brooks Range, long a dream destination for hunters and anglers.

University Students Add to MT Statehouse Reporting

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Tuesday, May 9, 2023   

Student reporters are stepping up to fill gaps in news coverage as the number of full-time statehouse reporters continues to decline. State legislatures handle important matters, including educational standards and access to healthcare, but increasingly it's students working with university-led reporting programs who are making sure these stories get the coverage they deserve.

Richard Watts, founder of the Center for Community News at the University of Vermont said students are working under the direction of veteran reporters and bringing fresh perspectives to the job.

"Students want to do real things these days," he said. "They really don't appreciate writing papers that go anywhere when they could actually write something that people read and has an impact."

More than 10% of statehouse reporters are now students, mainly from public colleges and universities. Watts hopes more private universities will use their vast resources to ensure their students get this type of on-the-job training, and communities get the news they need.

Research shows the loss of local news coverage has real impacts on local communities - decreasing civic engagement and voter turnout, and increasing costs for municipal governments. Watts says local news is vital to a thriving democracy.

"Without local news, people turn to these competing ideological news sources, and it leads to increased polarization," he said.

Watts said public colleges and universities are fulfilling their public service missions by helping their students fill local news gaps for media outlets, which continue to downsize due to the loss of ad revenue. The Center for Community News has documented more than 100 university-led reporting programs so far across the U.S.ps://pewrsr.ch/3npv0OC. Municipal governments: https://bit.ly/3NwUuEn.


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