Poynter training grant to Daily Aztec

The Daily Aztec at San Diego State University, a CNPA Campus Member, is one of nine schools to receive College Media Project grants from the Poynter Institute.

With the grant comes custom in-newsroom training, online seminars and support for a campus project, all provided free by St. Petersburg, Fla.-based Poynter.

In this second year of the program, 63 schools applied for the nine awards. Applications were screened for potential, need, commitment, diversity in student population, school size and type, Poynter said.

Will Fritz, The Daily Aztec’s editor in chief and a senior journalism major at San Diego State, told CNPA that he was surprised and honored to hear that his newsroom would be a recipient.

Fritz has been on the staff since he was a freshman and said his newsroom would surely benefit from mentoring by professional journalism managers.

“I was taught almost entirely by the student journalists,” he said. The staff has all-hands meetings to go over the basics, but the process is largely student-run, Fritz said. Jay Harn, a former publisher at several California newspapers, is The Daily Aztec’s general manager.

Editor Fritz’s staff consists of a dozen editors who oversee the work of around 80 volunteer reporters covering the 34,000-student campus. He envisions involving all editors and a good portion of the reporting staff in the Poynter training next semester. The actual context of the newsroom’s customized Poynter program is being developed, he said.

“The college press plays a critical role in civic engagement on campus,” said Poynter senior vice president Kelly McBride in a news release. “They are a check on the power of the administration. And they expose students to diverse ideas. We’re thrilled to expand Poynter’s College Media Project this year to reach more students in the critical moments of their early careers.”