Chris Faraone

I think what you are doing is absolutely awesome. I would only offer perhaps some nuance about journalism schools. A handful of elite schools tend to capture vast sums from the big foundations, it is absolutely true, and students there work with fancy equipment they are unlikely to ever see again unless they are lucky enough to work with a big national publication. But this too is a system of haves and have-nots - many, many journalism schools, especially those public schools that work with many first-generation college students with very little privilege — that don’t fall into that handful and they struggle to marshal basic resources, especially in the wake of massive state budget cuts. I’ve worked in academic environments with substantial privilege and some with none and all, and it’s a very different world in each. I worry that if we paint them all with the same brush, students that deserve and need aid and could partner in some way with efforts like yours won’t get it.

Small example: When I worked at the University of Memphis, we ran a city-wide high school newspaper out of the journalism school — most schools in Memphis didn’t have their own — and we had a grant for $70K a year. That covered EVERYTHING for an entire year for training a staff mostly lower-income, minority students and producing this paper — really a pretty tiny amount to cover all costs. Scripps Foundation discontinued the grant this year, and so far to my knowledge nobody has stepped forward to continue it. When we would occasionally mail something to the staff, a significant percentage would be returned because the students didn’t have stable housing. There are more programs doing good with very little than you might think.

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