Staff Report

(Rock Hill, S.C.) — The Palmetto Report has been selected to join a program that is intended to promote community news by helping college faculty create partnerships between student journalists and professional news outlets.

The program, from the Center for Community News at the University of Vermont, “seeks to address the crisis facing local news by recognizing faculty leaders building innovative programs across the U.S., according to the group’s website.

“At the core of these academic partnerships are innovative and creative faculty,” said Richard Watts, director of the center, in a press release. “This program seeks to recognize them and support their work in connecting and creating more such partnerships.”

The Palmetto Report was created by Dr. Joseph Kasko in 2018 to cover Winthrop University, Rock Hill, York County and the Carolinas and promote student work from a number of journalism, storytelling and content creation courses.

Kasko was selected as one of 33 “Faculty Champions,” from 23 different states, who will receive a grant of $1,000 to support community news initiatives like the Palmetto Report. He said the funding would help pay for the site’s web hosting and domain name fees.

“It’s exciting that the Palmetto Report has been recognized as an important community news outlet,” Kasko said. “We’ve seen fewer local news stories produced in our community in recent years, as the Rock Hill Herald has seen its staff and resources reduced and the Fort Mill Times has been shut down, so I’ve always hoped our site and the reporting of our students could help fill that void.”

Kasko said he hopes participating in the program will also help the Palmetto Report form partnerships with local news outlets, which could help cover stories that might not otherwise be reported.

“The Center for Community News is pleased to recognize Joseph Kasko for his outstanding work leading innovative and creative solutions that engage students in addressing the local news crisis,” Watts said.

“We are pleased to name Kasko as a Faculty Champion – a faculty leader in developing hands on learning experiences for students that also provide much needed local stories – stories that no one else is telling.”

Watts, who is on sabbatical from teaching at Vermont, has been traveling the country hosting panel discussions and training sessions in support of the program.

Last week, he hosted a training session at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which Kasko and a few other members of the program attended.

The session focused on best practices for starting and funding a student news operation, which could provide content for professional news outlets.

There are at least five schools from across the Carolinas that have been selected to participate in the program, including Winthrop and Claflin University in South Carolina and North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, Queens University and Western Carolina University in North Carolina.