The New York Times, The Bay Citizen, and Next Door Media have recently formed partnerships with local universities, reports Poynter. The publications hope the partnerships will help them expand their hyperlocal coverage, engage new audiences, and experiment with different business models. Moreover, says Jay Rosen, who helped to create the partnership between NYU and the Arthur J. Carter Journalism Institute, the partnerships are "correcting a misalignment between journalism schools and the news business."
The partnerships have been formed through "hinges," people who have relationships with both the university and the news organisation. In the case of the New York Times and NYU partnership, the hinge is Richard Jones, former NYT reporter and current member of NYU's faculty. To emphasize the importance of hinges, Rosen says "you have to have an elegant hinge so that the problems of coordinating two institutions don't overwhelm you. The Times can be confident that this site was done to the Times' standards, and we can be confident that we have an editor on hand right here."
Moreover, the partnerships will hopefully help the publications to sustain their hyperlocal journalism. Mary Anne Giordano, Deputy Metropolitan Editor at the NYT, explains that the publication has been more focused on the journalistic aspect and not the business side of local news. "At CUNY and NYU," she says, "they're testing out different things for us and looking at ways that they can create a business model that's sustainable and allows working journalists to make a living running hyper local blogs."
Furthermore, the partnerships could help to generate greater advertising revenue. Cory Bergman, co-founder of Next Door Media, helped to form two partnerships with the University of Washington, one of them being with the student newspaper The Daily. Bergman's Next Door Media launched UDistrictDaily.com with a reported from The Daily as editor. While the newspaper had already offered advertisements for local businesses, through the partnership, Bergman says, "The Daily can now offer those advertisers the ability to reach residents in the neighborhood blog as well, all in one integrated package."
Relationships between universities and newspapers are certainly nothing new; however, the strengthening of the relationships and the correction of any "misalignment" could lead to innovative thinking and positive change in the industry. The ideas of university students could become the fresh perspective that the industry needs right now.