In Dr. Cailin Brown’s graduate journalism classes, students contribute their work to The Pine Hills Blog, which links Communications students at The College of Saint Rose to the surrounding Pine Hills neighborhood of Albany. As part of the local community through their connection to Saint Rose, students are well-positioned to write stories about news items from the Pine Hills area.
The Pine Hills Blog, established in 2010, is part of the partnership Saint Rose has developed with the local newspaper, The Times Union, a Hearst publication. Since the first story was posted in February of that year, Communications students have published more than 200 stories about the people, places, events and other news of Pine Hills.
Dr. Brown, associate professor of Communications, explains that all students are required to submit their work for publication, but not all stories are published. “Students first learn the ‘why’ of journalism, and we rely on the book The Elements of Journalism by Kovach & Rosenstiel to set the tone for the semester. We review research techniques, including how to conduct an interview, and how to identify and develop document-based stories. We work on story illustration and particularly, we focus on developing clear concise writing that is accurate and compelling” she says.
Stephen Felano, a current graduate Communications student, has had his articles published in The Pine Hills Blog. (Click here to read a sample of his work.) Felano appreciates the real-world aspect of his contributions to the blog. “Through my work on The Pine Hills Blog, I have developed and honed my journalism skills including highly marketable writing, digital content production, and social media skills that can only be forged through the pressures of working on a deadline. My contributions to this project have made me a better journalist, content producer, and all around communicator” he says.
Dr. Brown says that by contributing to The Pine Hills Blog, students learn the art of journalism and what it means to be held accountable. “Our stories are bylined. They appear on a heavily trafficked website and the general public has access to the work, and sometimes responds,” she explains. “Students are learning what happens when the public chooses to respond to stories. We discuss ethics, and the implications of approving comments, especially from unnamed individuals who choose to respond to our stories.”
If you are interested in applying to the graduate Communications program, click here for more information. Please contact Graduate Admissions at 518-454-5143 or email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions about the application process.