Students Launch On-line News Source That May Be Forerunner Of New
11, 1999 -- University of Virginia students are packaging,
presenting -- and making -- news by creating an on-line news magazine.
by a lack of information about journalism, a group of U.Va. students
last year started an electronic network to share information about
the field. Offering tips on internships, speakers, seminars and
jobs, the Journalism Information Network rapidly grew in popularity
that more than 300 people were regularly accessing the e-mail network,
organizers decided to create ways that students could gain experience
in journalism. They established three committees: a networking committee
that collects and distributes internship and job information, a
speakers committee that brings notables in the field to U.Va., and
the Angle, an on-line news magazine launched in December.
with washingtonpost.com, the on-line version of the Washington Post,
the Angle presents news packaged with interactive tables, moving
images and links to related sites. Staffed by more than 20 writers,
eight editors and several Web graphic designers, the Angle looks
much like an electronic newspaper, but it has a distinctive feature.
The site offers one main issue addressed from several different
angles in the news, sports, business, style and health sections.
its color images and inviting graphics, the Angle is delivering
news in such a novel way that the students' professors are taking
looking at the future of journalism," predicted William H. Fishback,
a senior lecturer who teaches news writing. "The students are using
technology to stimulate new interest in the news. The technology
will likely bring in a new generation of readers."
plan to post a new Angle (located at http://www.theangle.com/) monthly
during the academic year. The premiere issue, representing the work
of about 35 students, focused on Charlottesville crime in its news
section. It offered an article describing assaults that occurred
in the University area last fall. Another article described measures
students were taking to protect themselves, and a third article
offered a first-person account of being assaulted.
next issue of the Angle, due to go on-line Feb. 15, will address
several topics, including corporate sponsorship of college athletics
and spring break trip scams. The business section will feature an
interview with John Griffin, a U.Va. grad who is a hedge fund manager,
and an article on distance learning and teleconferencing based on
a class that Griffin is teaching from New York to U.Va.'s McIntire
School of Commerce.
hope to provide deeper coverage and analysis of topics of interest
to U.Va. students and college students in general," said Anna Robertson,
a third-year student majoring in English history and American studies
who started the Journalism Information Network. "By using graphics
and other visually entertaining elements, we hope readers will enjoy
reading news in a more interactive manner."
Angle is a unique product among college news Web sites," said Jim
Sheppard, managing editor of washingtonpost.com. "Anna is one of
the most talented young journalists I've worked with in years. She
blends all the traditional journalism skills with solid thinking
about how to present factual, balanced news in the fast-paced, interactive
medium of the Web."
Robertson is the moving force behind the network's creation, she
is quick to give credit to other students. Noting the creation of
the Angle and a fall event that brought well-known journalists to
U.Va., Robertson said, "Such efforts are the proof of the talent
and hard work of U.Va. students. They are willing to create a new
organization from scratch and to start their own opportunities for
a career-oriented activity."
under a year the 400 members of the Journalism Information Network
have essentially created the functions of an informal journalism
program at a large university that has no formal journalism school.
In my opinion, this is better than attending a school with an institutionalized
journalism program because we get the advantages of a liberal arts
education, access to speakers and hands-on experience that journalists
who has held several internships at such places as the CBS Evening
News and ABCNews.com. Robertson, who attended the same Arlington
high school as Katie Couric, also credits her teachers John Sullivan
and William Fishback for giving her the inspiration to create the
network. As the effort has expanded, it has received financial support
from Vice President of Student Affairs William W. Harmon.
has no doubts that Robertson will enjoy success in journalism. "I
don't think she'll follow in Katie Couric's footsteps," he said.
"But in 10 years, Katie Couric's boss might be Anna Robertson."
Ida Lee Wooten, (804) 924-6857.