University of Hawaii Student Stories project badgeIt’s that time of year again.

The legislative session opened Wednesday, kicking off a period where Hawaii should see some fresh ideas. Readers will also start to see some fresh, new faces in the online pages of Civil Beat.

We’re partnering with the University of Hawaii Manoa journalism program again to cover the legislative session and other issues during the spring semester.

We ran a similar program last year. Civil Beat will publish stories from students in a journalism capstone course in The UH Beat section of our site. (So if you’re a public official wondering why you’re getting calls from students saying they are working with Civil Beat, this is why. Don’t worry, they are in fact with us.)

The first batch of stories went live Wednesday night after the opening day festivities wrapped up.

Last year, the students had to do most of their reporting remotely because of Covid-19 restrictions. But the State Capitol is open to the public this year, so the class of about 18 students will be able to come to the Legislature, go door to door and chat with lawmakers.

That’s the idea of this course: to get students out of the classroom and into the real reporting world. Not all of them may have had that opportunity early in their college careers, and we want to make sure they have some publishable work and experience before they graduate.

UH journalism students were on hand for the opening of the 2023 legislative session. David Croxford/Civil Beat/2023

The class is one of the last stops students make before going out to look for jobs. Journalism professor Brett Oppegaard teaches the capstone course. I’m here to help guide students on their reporting. You can also read some of these stories on Ka Leo O Hawaii, UH Manoa’s student newspaper, which will be co-publishing some pieces with us.

These might be students, but don’t expect them to produce fluffy stories. We want them writing the same kind of hard-hitting, public policy journalism you’ve come to expect from us here at Civil Beat.

Let us know what you think about their work at news@civilbeat.org or email editor@kaleo.org.

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