TCU Schieffer School establishes center to support community journalism
The TCU Schieffer School of Journalism has established a new center to support community journalism in Texas by offering educational opportunities and other services to daily and weekly newspapers throughout the state.
The Texas Center for Community Journalism will be headed by Tommy Thomason, former director of the Schieffer School. The new project will be one of only five centers in the United States dedicated to supporting community journalism. The center will focus on workshops, seminars, and consulting services for community newspapers in Texas. A special emphasis of the Center will be to help Texas community papers develop effective Web editions.
The Center will take over the community journalism workshop program begun by Thomason through the Schieffer School 10 years ago. The workshops have been funded by the Texas Newspaper Foundation, which has given more than a quarter of a million dollars to the workshop series.
“We have been offering workshops for community papers for a decade now, thanks to a generous grant from the Texas Newspaper Foundation,” Thomason said. “We have trained hundreds of reporters and editors in our small-group seminars, and many report that what they learned at TCU is making a significant difference with their papers.”
The Center will work closely with the Texas Press Association, an Austin-based trade organization that represents more than 500 member newspapers throughout the state.
"The Texas Press Association has enjoyed a long history of cooperation with the Schieffer School, and we look forward to the way this new center will enhance community journalism in Texas," said Michael Hodges, TPA executive director. "The educational services the center will offer will help Texas newspapers face the new challenges of the digital age."
Other staff members of the Center include Dr. Jerry Grotta, associate director/professional development; Andrew Chavez, associate director/digital initiatives; and Roy Eaton, publisher-in-residence. Grotta is a former community newspaper editor and professor in the Schieffer School, Chavez is a specialist in Web-based newspaper applications, and Eaton is the former publisher of the Wise County Messenger in Decatur and a former president of the National Newspaper Association.