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Medill, Institute for Nonprofit News partner on course to help public service news sites build audiences

Journalism graduate students to gain real-world experience with market assessment, audience strategy and content distribution

Northwestern University’s Medill School and the Institute for Nonprofit News will collaborate on a new course this spring offering graduate students experience building an audience for news and helping nonprofit publishers build engagement.

The partnership provides students the opportunity to work with real-world sites and audience analytics while giving nonprofit, public service news organizations access to new resources to execute audience development initiatives.

The “Audience Development and Analytics” course, which will launch in April, will enroll students from Medill’s journalism master’s program.  Participating INN member newsrooms include INN members WBUR, Energy News Network and Injustice Watch, with more being selected this month.

“I’m excited to give our students hands-on experience working on digital audience development, and to give some INN sites some help finding and engaging people online,” said Medill Professor Rich Gordon, who will lead the class along with Sherry Skalko, director of INN’s Amplify News Project.

Students will learn fundamentals of market assessment, audience strategy and content distribution, including best practices for social media and email newsletters. INN member news leaders will shape the students’ work by sharing audience goals and providing access to their analytics. INN and Northwestern aim to develop the pilot into year-around fellowships combining student training with experience in public service news startups.

“This initiative builds a field force of students with hands-on training to help lead the growing field of nonprofit news. Having the resources of Medill to ensure trusted news reaches more people is a huge benefit to these newsrooms and the communities they serve,” said Sue Cross, INN executive director and CEO.

INN’s Amplify News Project is a shared collaboration and news distribution hub helping local newsrooms leverage digital distribution channels to build new audiences for news.