The College News Network isn’t much: a bare-bones Web site, expenses totaling $17, and a single advertisement that covered every penny.
But the Ohio University undergraduates who founded the college-journalism content-sharing cooperative hope the new wire-service-style Web site can help fill a hole in the student press.
The Web site is Dave Hendricks and Ryan Dunn’s answer to the demise of UWIRE, a popular service that had aggregated articles from student newspapers across the country before it went mysteriously silent this fall.
UWIRE had offered national content that student journalists like Mr. Hendricks, managing editor of Ohio University’s Post, could republish in their local papers. It also served as a platform that promoted studens’ articles far beyond the campuses they cover.
“UWIRE may have gone out of business, but what they did was important,” says Mr. Hendricks, 21. “We’re just essentially doing it for free.”
The new site’s business model? There really isn’t one, at least not yet.
Mr. Hendricks says he’s “not in this to make money,” but neither is the service an official nonprofit. The college newspapers involved — a total of 30 so far — have a handshake agreement to share one another’s content at no charge. Volunteer editors post about 10 to 20 stories a day, most of them available only to members and not visible on the public Web site. The idea was inspired partly by a content-sharing agreement signed by the leading newspapers in Ohio, including The Columbus Dispatch, where Mr. Hendricks is a reporting intern.
Student scribblers looking for other content-sharing options might also want to check out this PBS MediaShift article, which lays out a couple of them.