A new website aimed at students on Triangle university campuses hopes to bring in a new generation of readers by offering a different kind of journalism.
The site, called College Town (collegetownnc.com), is owned by The News & Observer and sponsored by Food Lion. Stories on College Town are written by area high schoolers and students at Triangle universities, including N.C. State University, the University of North Carolina, Duke and N.C. Central University.
The site currently has eight writers and is seeking additional contributors through an online application.
On College Town, student writers have contributed articles that range from a high school senior giving light-hearted commentary on college applications, to more serious work by a college junior struggling with depression and anxiety.
“I see College Town as a place where we can take a non-traditional journalism approach,” said Pressley Baird, the editor of College Town.
Baird, 26, recently graduated with a master’s degree from the UNC journalism school and still teaches at the university.
She said that College Town does not want to compete with student media. Instead, it hopes to put a spotlight on some of the exemplary work being done on-campus.
“I’d like to work with student media to highlight some of the great things that they do,” she said.
Younger readers need to be found on their phones and in their inboxes, not at news stands, said News & Observer Executive Editor John Drescher.
He said he was pleased in Baird’s leadership, because she is a talented journalist who knows her audience and is willing to help new writers develop.
“She still teaches at Carolina, is very connected to college students and is very passionate about working with college students,” Drescher said.
Drescher said he and others recognize that readers need to be sought in different ways, and he believes the publication will find an audience because it’s written by the people it intends to reach.
“This is journalism done for college students by college students,” Drescher said.
Chris Cioffi; 919-829-4802, @ReporterCioffi