Heritage Media-West involves locals as community lab opens

News agency Heritage Media-West will be opening a Community Media Lab on April 1st at Spark East in downtown Ypsilanti.

According to a document provided by Heritage Media-West Managing Editor, Michelle Rodgers, at an informational meeting on Friday, the media group hopes to “teach the community to gather and report news on a variety of platforms.”

Rogers said that she and her associates “want to provide a place where we can collaborate” with students and community members in order to “move the industry forward.”

Heritage plans to have journalists on site from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

The handout said that Heritage would like to establish videographer teams, social media teams and interactive media teams. They would also like to use trainers, interns, bloggers and broadcasters.

The lab will also host workshops to help teach students and community members about journalism and new forms of digital media.

Participation with the Community Media Lab will not be paid, but it will help journalism students expand their portfolio.

“You might not necessarily going to get paid for it,” Rogers said. “But you’re going to have a clip from it.”

Krista Gjestland, staff writer for Heritage, said that participation might lead to other opportunities within Heritage. “Everything can grow,” Gjestland said.

Gjestland said that participation at the media group could possibly lead to an internship at a local paper like the Ypsilanti Courier, circulation 7,000.

Interns are paid $50 per week for eight weeks and are expected to write a minimum of three stories per week. If coordinated with the university, students may earn class credit for an internship.

If interns make a good impression, Gjestland said they might even be offered freelance positions.

Freelance writers are paid $10 per photo, $10 for unedited video, $35 for an edited video and $35 per story with a $10 bonus for attending a meeting.

Rogers said that due to recent budget concerns, freelance writers have been receiving fewer assignments. However, she said that the situation is temporary and that this sort of thing “happens everywhere.”

Gjestland said that hardworking, reliable freelance writers are the first considered when full-time jobs open up.

“If that goes well and a job opens up, you’re going to be first in line,” she said.

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