On December 13, 2023

UVM’s Community News Service to expand reporting in central Vermont with grant


Lily Doton hired to manage student reporting partnership at VTSU-Castleton

UVM’s Community News Service, a pioneering student reporting program that provides professional-level reporting to local news partners across Vermont, is expanding coverage in central Vermont thanks to a grant from the Vermont Community Foundation. The VCF Hills & Hollows Fund will support a 2024 reporting collaboration between Vermont State University – Castleton and local news outlets including The Rutland Herald, Lakes Region Free Press and Mountain Times.

“Local news outlets need more local stories and area students interested in communications careers need experience. This partnership helps fulfill both needs,” said David Blow, award-winning journalist and Communications professor at VTSU-Castleton. “My hope is that students get energized from being published and making an impact on their communities.”

Recent Castleton graduate Lily Doton has been hired to serve as the editor of this initiative, guiding students in their coverage of Rutland County’s distinct culture, environment, community happenings and leaders. As an undergraduate, Doton was a reporter, copy editor and managing editor of the Castleton Spartan student newspaper. She has a degree in media and communications. 

“I am so excited to be a part of the Community News Service and to expand the program to include student journalists here in central Vermont,” said Doton. “I’m looking forward to exercising and improving my own journalistic skills and hope that this can create opportunities for current students to do the same.” 

Founded in 2019, UVM’s Community News Service provides local and hyperlocal reporting (in print, audio and video) to community papers at no cost. Students work under the direction of professional editors and reporters, gaining hands-on reporting and writing skills and engaging closely with Vermont communities. Since its founding, CNS has provided hundreds of news stories – including breaking and investigative work – to dozens of news outlets across Vermont. 

The success of CNS also inspired the establishment of the national Center for Community News at UVM in 2022, which is working to grow and strengthen news-academic partnerships like this one across the country.

UVM’s Community News Service continues to grow in its partnerships with news outlets and schools across the state, opening new doors to young people who want to live and work in Vermont, and helping to sustain a thriving landscape of local news.

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