By Guy Page
The University of Vermont has launched a new, not-for-profit news media that its founder says is aimed at building stronger local communities. It’s called Project 14, and it is the next step in development from a pilot project news service created a year ago and overseen by Richard Watts, Director of UVM’s the Center for Research on Vermont.
According to its website, “Project 14 emerged from the lessons, ideas and enthusiasm of UVM’s Community News Service, a student-powered partnership with community newspapers across Vermont. CNS is a reporting service that pairs student reporters with professional editors to provide high-caliber, hyperlocal content at no cost to the papers.”
“Through our work, we’ve identified areas across the state that could benefit from strengthened information, communication and civic collaboration,” the Project 14 website says. “With funding from UVM’s Office of Engagement and the College of Arts & Sciences, we are working to address these needs in all 14 counties of Vermont.”
Vermont Daily published several Community News Service stories, including a profile of Teen Challenge program members involved in Green Up Day.
Project 14 will be led by a former Obama White House communications staff member, Meg Little Reilly, a Brattleboro native and UVM graduate. According to her bio, “Reilly is a writer with roots in national politics and civic activism. She previously worked for President Obama as Deputy Associate Director of Communications and Strategy at the White House OMB; and prior to that, as Spokesperson at the U.S. Treasury. She is the author of three novels and her work has appeared in national newspapers, magazines, podcasts and public radio stations around the country.”
Regional editors include a former editor of an environmental journal, a social media manager for Sustainable Transportation Vermont, a UVM environmental/climate change major, and a Winooski paralegal involved in community not-for-profits. Six counties have local Project 14 media works-in-progress, eight counties are as yet undeveloped at this time.