The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


The voice of and for USM students


Roy Howard Community Journalism Center coming to USM

Abigail Troth
College Hall is the home of the new Roy Howard Community Journalism Center.

The School of Media and Communication excitedly announced a new addition to the community. The Roy Howard Community Journalism Center will be coming soon to the University of Southern Mississippi.

The Scripps Howard Fund will invest $3 million in community journalism in southern Mississippi. Student journalists will learn how to cover under-reported communities, while also preventing misinformation and telling the truths of those who need their voice to be heard.

USM competed with 18 other universities in the nation for over a year for the grant before becoming one of the top three schools selected in 2023. The School of Media and Communication was notified of its selection in January of 2024.

USM will be the host of the center, and will launch during the 2024-25 academic year. The center will receive $1 million per year for three years to create and operate the center.

There will be three bureaus for the Roy Howard Community Journalism Center. The main office will be based in Hattiesburg, and there will be two other offices on the Gulf Coast and in Jackson. Professional journalists will be at each bureau working with student journalists.

“We think this will put our students directly in touch with professionals on a daily basis, and that they’ll be able to build their skills, portfolios and careers,” said Dr. Edgar Simpson, the Director of the School of Media and Communication.

There are three major goals for the Roy Howard Community Journalism Center.

Firstly, the center wants to create an environment of experiential learning. The goal is to develop a pipeline of young talent for Mississippi’s newsrooms by putting university, community college and high school students to work under the professional guidance of staff, faculty and partners.

Secondly, the center will focus on local reporting in Southeast Mississippi. Students will create professional-level local content, and the coverage will be available across platforms. The coverage will connect with the underserved voices of the community.

Finally, the center aims to build trust in journalism. The center will operate a “What is True” section, which will monitor different social media streams and websites on the trustworthiness of the information being reported to them. The center will also operate a “What is True” hotline for residents, a podcast and website for the community. The center will also host events to discuss media literacy and trustworthiness news coverage.

At the center, there will be positions open for not only journalists, but for people interested in production, strategic communication, technology and other areas that are offered by the School of Media and Communication.

USM will partner with five Mississippi journalism organizations. The Mississippi Association of Broadcasters, the Mississippi Press Association, Mississippi Public Broadcasting, Mississippi Today and the Mississippi Scholastic Press Association will all be partners of the new center. These organizations will contribute to the expansion of honest journalism and media distribution across the state.

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