The University of New Mexico's Department of Communication & Journalism (C&J) is now home to one of the first-ever U.S. Statehouse Faculty Champions.
This national recognition goes to C&J Professor in Practice Gwyneth Doland, and comes from the University of Vermont’s (UVM’s) Center for Community News’ (CCN) first cohort of Statehouse Faculty Champions.
“It’s a privilege to celebrate these Faculty Champions and their contributions to a thriving democracy,” UVM College of Arts and Sciences Dean Bill Falls said.
Doland is honored for her upcoming statehouse reporting program, the innovative capstone course, CJ 475. It is a project focused on the legislative session that begins in January.
“This builds on interdisciplinary work we’ve done with our People, Power and Democracy project, which involved students in reporting that was published on our News Port as well as KUNM and KNME,” Doland said. “The need for state reporting is dire and because this will be an outstanding experience for our emerging journalists.”
Doland is just one of 19 academics in 18 states chosen for the inaugural cohort. The honor, which comes with a $1,000 award, is a priority program for CCN in its efforts to help build a sustainable future for local news around the country.
“I’m so happy to have this support for statehouse coverage because New Mexico has fewer reporters than ever on this essential beat. It's essential now that UNM help train the next generation of reporters who will hold those in power accountable,” Doland said.
As a longtime state government reporter, Doland knows firsthand how critical local reporting is when it comes to laws which directly affect its constituents.
Coverage of the nation’s statehouses has never been more important as consequential debates over education, public health, housing, gun ownership and more happen at the state level. Despite increasing need, the number of full-time statehouse reporters has declined by 34% since 2014 according to Pew Research Center. In that time, university-led reporting has stepped in to fill the gap. Today, some of the most rigorous reporting on urgent issues is being done by student reporters in states across the country. CCN released an impact report on these programs earlier this year.
“As statehouse beats become increasingly rare, partnerships with college reporting programs can be a news lifeline for underserved regions,” CCN Director Richard Watts said. “The dedicated faculty who are running these programs are creating a sustainable pipeline of critical information in their communities. We are thrilled to amplify their work and inspire others to jump in.”
UNM’s C&J Department sends its sincere congratulations to Doland and her role in New Mexico journalism.
You can read more about each of these leaders and the Faculty Champions Program on the Center for Community News website. Uncover more about past and current New Mexico Local News Fellowships and Internships, one of the many programs Doland is helping expand for the sake of journalism.