College Newsnet International (CNI) is exciting, because it gives global exposure to students. “Student journalism is the purest, freshest and most exciting voice out there,” says Mary Cardaras, head of Digital Media and Communications at the New England Institute of Art in Boston.
CNI is a global approach to the practice of journalism – by students for students. Cardaras is partnering with Dr Robyn Goodman, head of Communication Studies at Alfred University in New York, to create an online global website. Here, student journalists can submit news articles, photographs, podcasts, videos and cartoons, with their news attracting global audiences and international exposure. The website is set to launch in September 2010 but, student journalists are encouraged to register before this, so they can submit their work when CNI makes its much anticipated debut.
Cardaras modelled CNI on CNN’s World Report which welcomes viewpoints from TV networks across the world. Its approach allows student journalists from all over the world to see what’s going on in other countries and continents. This international forum will change perceptions about countries outside Western Europe and North America and provide journalists with information to learn, share and connect. Cardaras told Open Source, that CNI can eradicate some of the stereotypes of the African continent. “Africa gets bad press in the Western world. The presence and voice of Africa on CNI will change the perception to something positive and exciting,” she says.
Cardaras explains how the creation of a global platform, to showcase student work, will change the perception of journalism itself. “Students have a passionate, no-nonsense approach to journalism. They are still learning and have the presence of mentors to keep their work responsible.” Cardaras stresses that CNI is not citizen journalism. Instead, stories are vetted before online publication and student journalists have the potential to mimic real-life journalistic practices, “CNI will be structured around being fair and balanced,” says Cardaras. Cardaras is hoping CNI will attract giant media employers like CNN, BBC, the New York Times and other publications and networks from around the world.
The fresh student voice is usually hidden by big networks which dominate the airwaves and online reach. Cardaras’ brainchild is likely to push journalism into new directions where stereotypes are broken and where connecting teaches the world about the world. Student journalists are taking over via the digital revolution.