Reporting Texas for a decade
Hands-on class simulates professional newsroom
Professor Tracy Dahlby started teaching journalism at The University of Texas at Austin in 2006 after a career of international reporting for outlets such as The Washington Post and Newsweek.
Two years later, he guided students overseas for Reporting China, a foreign correspondent workshop where students spent a month reporting in the field.
“I noticed the transformative effect those trips had on students,” Dalhby said. “When they got to China, all of sudden the light bulb went on, and they understood what journalism was for, and they can see stories around every corner."
The idea of Reporting Texas was formed.
In 2009, Dahlby started Reporting Texas at the Moody College of Communication with a small crew of student editors working together to build a website. ReportingTexas.com was launched in 2010 as a reporting hub that gave students the opportunity to publish stories, learn the operations of a real newsroom and build relationships with communities across the state.
“A lot of things that you learn don’t come from a textbook, they come from things that you learn in a newsroom,” Dalhby said.
In 2011, Dalhby and Rusty Todd launched the first Reporting Texas class, which not only created the atmosphere of a newsroom, but also the editing function of a newsroom.
“What sets Reporting Texas apart is the intensity of it -- just how much they expect us to do,” said Jack Keyes, a journalism senior. “It’s nice to have a class that really keeps you on our toes, keeps you constantly writing and trying to do your best work.”
A decade later, Reporting Texas is a full-fledged news site with dedicated classes. The next phase of Reporting Texas is to continue fostering relationships with local newspapers and serve statewide communities.
“I’m hoping that Reporting Texas will be in a place where we can train the journalists of the future and replenish the stock of good reporters, good editors and good journalists,” Dahlby said.
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