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Olivet College Professor Joanne Williams Receives Grant for Student-Run 24-7 News Operation

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Olivet College Professor Joanne Williams has been named one of 51 educators out of 374 applicants nationwide to receive funding from the online learning platform Course Hero, which was designed to support faculty and their “dream projects”.

Professor Williams, associate professor of media production and communications (MPC), specializes in reporting and editing, and is also the advisor for the award-winning student newspaper, The ECHO. The $1,800 grant will be used to support a news access effort, led by upper-level students in the MPC major to provide local news to the Olivet, Michigan community.

“We live in a news desert in our small city of Olivet,” Professor Williams said. “Yet we know people need to know what is going on in their community, from city council meetings to area entertainment. There is no reliable way to gather that information in one place. These students will offer the community a sort of ‘town crier’ – a video monitor in a public location, offering continuous, updated information.”

This project embodies Olivet College’s core value of giving back to the community. “We would like to become the news hub for the community – providing stories and information that citizens cannot readily get in one place,” Professor Williams said. “The target is a community that, I believe, the students will find is much more diverse than they expected. I also trust they will see the benefit of a more informed community, which has no one place reliable for coverage of daily, local and regional news of importance.”

In doing this project, MPC students will not only learn how to run a 24-7 news operation, but also the needs of the community. Professor Williams said, “The students will learn that the news has to be relevant to the audience, not the producer, and that they must be vigilant in the responsibility of being current, consistent and comprehensive.”

Learn more about Olivet College by contacting the Office of Admission at 269-749-7635 or admissions@olivetcollege.edu.

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