New fall course revives Emerson Student News Service

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Photo: Courtesy of Mark Leccese

Professor Mark Leccese will advise the news service and teach the new speciality topics course, News and Magazine Web Production, where students will learn to manage the site’s content.  

By Faith Bugenhagen

The journalism department will restart the student-run Emerson Student News Service this fall to provide students and professors within the department a forum to share their work on, according to a college official.

Associate Journalism Professor Mark Leccese will advise the news service and teach the new speciality topics course, News and Magazine Web Production, where students will learn to manage the site’s content.  

The original news service started in 1996 but had to stop publishing in spring 2019 once it’s creator and manager, Professor Emmanuel Paraschos, retired. Leccese added that the site became outdated, so the new class—listed in the fall 2020 course catalog—will continue to showcase students’ and professors’ work but on a larger scale, alongside a state-of-the-art website. 

“Those of us in the department for a while have wanted to have a website where students in journalism classes, going from foundations to the capstone, can have their stories posted— visuals, photos, audio-visuals,” Leccese said in a phone call interview. “To make that, [it] takes some planning.”

Leccese said he will begin the new course with teaching the fundamentals of web production. Those enrolled will then be responsible for reviewing, formatting, and uploading content onto the website throughout the class. Once the platform is running in the fall, all students and faculty within the department are welcome to send in submissions.

“By running the website, I mean [I will be] getting the content in there, developing formats, setting the standard, uploading, and making the decisions with the faculty as to what the top stories of the week should be,” Leccese said. 

Leccese’s main priority for the site, he said, is to give the journalism department a way to see the work professors and students accomplish beyond the classroom. 

“For a student journalist to be published, even on a departmental site, is a big deal,” he said. “It is something we have wanted to have and have not had in the past,” he said. 

Recent graduate Nada Alturki was in Leccese’s Feature Writing class this spring when he made the announcement about the fall availability of the new production course. She said she loved the idea and agreed that there was not much circulation of people’s work within the journalism department. 

“It’s super weird in our department, because a lot of things are happening, but there is not a lot of exposure to them,” Alturki said in a phone interview. “I think a lot of opportunities, at least for me, have been lost.”

She recognized that several professors have created platforms dedicated to sharing students’ work within individual classes, however, none have connected the journalism department as a whole. 

“A lot of professors kind of create their own class websites, like Doug Struck for our capstone class,” she said. “We have a public site, which is something, but it would also be cool for everyone, all grades, to have this project that brings us together.”

Alturki said she is excited that future journalism students will have this opportunity to share their projects, but she also said that there needs to be more communication about the new website within the department. 

“There is not a lot of awareness around it,” she said. “I think a lot of professors can do a lot better of a job in getting their students involved and just putting the word out there.”

Leccese said he aims to get the news service up and running over the summer to work out any flaws ahead of time. Once it is finalized, he said, he hopes the platform will grow on campus in the fall.

“My hope is that the more of a presence this website becomes, that there will be more of a student interest and faculties’ on submitting work,” he said. 

Editor-in-Chief Chris Van Buskirk and Digital Managing Editor Stephanie Purifoy did not edit this article.