YSU's News Outlet part of election grant from Knight Foundation

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Youngstown State University’s News Outlet will work with the Akron Beacon Journal, the Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron and the Jefferson Center to study elections and election coverage as part of a $35,000 grant from the Knight Foundation. "We're excited to work on this project with these terrific partners,” said Tim Francisco, YSU professor of Journalism and director of the News Outlet. “Our students will benefit from interacting with citizens, and media and public policy professionals, while sharpening their reporting, writing and critical thinking skills. The News Outlet was founded on the belief in the importance of collaboration, civic engagement, and experiential learning in educating students to be effective leaders and citizens, and this latest project is another example of this." The grant, one of 22 awarded from the Knight Prototype Fund, will be used to create Up for Debate Ohio!, an initiative to improve the partnership between voters and the media for a more informative election process. The goal is to inform Ohio voters through community deliberation, online engagement and the media and to provide citizens the opportunity to discuss issues and campaigns. The News Outlet, started in 2009 at YSU, is a collaborative effort among public universities in Northeastern Ohio and professional media partners. The News Outlet gives students valuable experience in reporting and producing investigative and enterprise stories, producing valuable content and providing communities with critical information they need in order to be informed and engaged through legacy media. News Outlet student interns from YSU, University of Akron, University of Cincinnati, Kent State University and Cuyahoga Community College have produced stories with regional and statewide media partners, including its two founding media partners, WYSU-FM Radio and The Vindicator (Youngstown). Other media partners include The Beacon Journal and Rubber City Radio in Akron, and WKYC, the NBC-affiliate TV station in Cleveland.