The Torch is one of nine student media organizations nationwide chosen to participate in the second annual College Media Project run by The Poynter Institute, a global leader in journalism.
The Torch, St. John’s University’s independent student newspaper, will receive “custom in-newsroom training, online seminars and support for a campus project — free of charge,” according to Poynter’s announcement. The Torch was one of the 63 student organizations to apply to this program.
“It’s not about delivering a one-time training,” said Elissa Yancey, Poynter’s College Media Project leader, award-winning journalist and owner and CEO of E.Y. Ink. “It’s about planting the seeds for sustained growth and supporting student journalists who have few other places to turn. This project provides tools student journalists can use in both the short- and long-term to create better work and engage with their communities.”
The other media organizations selected were:
Bowdoin College — The Bowdoin Orient (Calder McHugh, editor-in-chief)
North Carolina Agricultural & Technical University — The A&T Register (Alexis Wray, editor-in-chief)
San Diego State University — The Daily Aztec (Will Fritz, editor-in-chief)
Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville — The Alestle (Tammy Merrett, student publications program director)
Texas A&M — The Battalion (Megan Rodriguez, editor-in-chief)
University of Florida — The Independent Florida Alligator (Romy Ellenbogen, digital managing editor)
University of Michigan — The Michigan Daily (Alexa St. John, editor-in-chief)
University of Utah — The Daily Utah Chronicle (Emily Anderson, editor-in-chief)
Poynter chose the Torch and these other media organizations after screening for “potential, need, diversity in student population, school size and type.”
In the application, the Torch explained that among the reasons this program would continue to help it grow is not only because we have expanded our coverage and reach, but also because the staff managed to do this without the financial support of the University — beyond heat, electricity and office space.
The Torch editors and staff do not get paid for their work, but still find the time and passion to keep the paper alive.
“The college press plays a critical role in civic engagement on campus,” said Poynter senior vice president Kelly McBride. “They are a check on the power of the administration. And they expose students to diverse ideas. We’re thrilled to expand Poynter’s College Media Project this year to reach more students in the critical moments of their early careers.”
According to Poynter, these student media organizations all face different issues — which range from intimidation from administration or peers, Title IX investigations, holding their institution accountable for transparency, etc.
However, what they do have in common is the “demand for supplemental journalistic training,” even at institutions with well-established and highly-ranked journalism programs.
“We’re incredibly humbled and excited to be among the other student media organizations to participate in this year’s College Media Project,” Editor-in-Chief Angelica Acevedo said. “I know our editors and staff will take this as an opportunity to become better student journalists, and continue to serve the St. John’s community to the best of our ability. I thank Poynter for the opportunity, and Professor Sana Siwolop for sharing this application with us.”