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Journalism classes combine to cover the economic crisis

March 13, 2009

The nation’s economic crisis, unfolding across Wisconsin in painful and historic ways, is being examined by student journalists at UW–Madison.

About 25 students in Steven Walters’ and Pat Hastings’ Intermediate Reporting classes at the School of Journalism and Mass Communications will examine, analyze and report on aspects of the crisis and post their stories to a student-produced Web site.

“The project gives students hands-on reporting and Web experience, and teaches them the value of identifying and reporting stories in different ways,” Walters says. “This kind of experience gives young journalists the skills needed to succeed in a changing media landscape.”

“In the past,” says Hastings, “students have focused on in-depth coverage of stories like the Halloween Freakfest or last year’s [presidential] election. This semester, the class decided to continue to focus on a major issue. The economy and the many ways it affects people is the big story for the students.”

The students will gauge the recession’s toll on Wisconsin citizens in their jobs, businesses or lifestyles. Stories will cover areas ranging from churches and big-time sports, to laid-off workers and auto dealers.

The project also involves the production of video reports that will be posted to the site. Student editors for the project are Lex Graves and Emily Bradley, and Web masters are Eric Murn and Brent Martell.