J-Lab has posted an overview of university news websites, with information culled from its meeting last week with three dozen site editors and founders. The schools are becoming incubators for entrepreneurial news startups, according to J-Lab.
"The degree to which student production of news stories for these startups is fully integrated in the curricula is still a nut that needs to be cracked," notes J-Lab Executive Director Jan Schaffer. "But there is no question that students involved in these initiatives are learning not only how to produce stories on a faster turnaround than most classroom assignments, they are also getting firsthand experience in how to operate a news business."
Models vary widely; J-Lab has funded some 24 university news sites since 2005.
J-Lab is supported by a $2.4 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and is part of the School of Communication at American University (also the parent organization of Current).