Student Media Challenge

Student newsrooms across the United States are covering problem-solving efforts in their communities.

Anna Lionas, host of The Food Fix podcast at Michigan State University, uses Solutions Journalism concepts to report "how to better feed the world."

Banner photo: Anna Lionas, host of "The Food Fix" podcast at Michigan State University, uses solutions journalism concepts to report on "how to better feed the world." Photo courtesy of MSU Knight Center for Environmental Journalism

"A Part of What's Going Right": How Solutions Journalism Changed a Student Newsroom

The University of Georgia's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication took on a unique assignment during the 2022-23 academic year: not just covering how local communities are addressing problems, but saving a cherished local paper in the process.

Launched in 2022, the Student Media Challenge adds to SJN’s ongoing work with colleges and universities, as the number and kind of solutions journalism courses expand at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Now in its second year, the Challenge has evolved into an incubator of solutions journalism, awarding grants to student newsrooms to pursue projects of their own imaginings. To date, cohort members have used the funds to:

  • Support an award-winning podcast on food insecurity
  • Address news deserts in rural communities in Missouri
  • Fortify news coverage for a once-endangered weekly in Georgia

Student media outlets are playing an increasing role in rebuilding local news ecosystems. As more local communities grapple with becoming news deserts, student newsrooms are stepping forward to assume a leadership role in informing the public about news, on campus and well beyond. With solutions journalism training, students are covering social issues more deeply and equitably, as well as gaining valuable experience for internships and jobs.

2023-24 Academic Year Cohort

  • Chronicle (Columbia College)
  • The Daily Tar Heel (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)
  • The Collegian (Fresno State University)
  • Dimelo (University of Southern California)
  • North Carolina A&T University
  • Pepperdine University
  • Stony Brook University
  • The Triangle (Drexel University)

2022-23 Academic Year Cohort

  • Díg en Español (Santa Ana College)
  • el Don (California State University at Long Beach)
  • Howard University News Wire
  • Knight Center for Environmental Journalism (Michigan State University)
  • KOMU (University of Missouri)
  • Oglethorpe Echo (University of Georgia)
  • Queens University News Service
  • Washington State University