A partnership between Community Impact Newspaper and the University of Texas at Austin School of Journalism will focus on coverage of the rapidly growing and diverse communities in the Austin metro.

Supported by the School of Journalism and Media’s Dallas Morning News Innovation Endowment, the new initiative will create and confirm data and examine residential and business growth of more than a dozen communities served by the Pflugerville-based newspaper group.

“This project will ensure students gain valuable experience writing and publishing important local journalism and help Community Impact continue to build on our commitment that access to quality journalism should be for everyone, regardless of socioeconomic status,” Community Impact Newspaper Executive Editor Joe Warner said. “Building a deeper relationship with the University of Texas School of Journalism is also a strategic benefit to Community Impact as we continue to grow.”

Journalism sophomores and juniors at the University of Texas at Austin will apply for the program, go through an interview process and work in paid positions with editorial teams at Community Impact Newspaper. Student journalists will canvas local communities, connect with residents and business owners and help create and implement a plan for coverage that is more inclusive.

“The hallmark of this is collaboration with professionals,” School Director Kathleen McElroy said. She added that with this partnership, “We are a part of what the industry is doing—not in our own silo.”

Christian McDonald, director of the endowment and an assistant professor of practice, said he has always been passionate for the intersection of journalism and technology and the work through the program helps build the same passion for student journalists.

“The funding for this comes from and fits in the mission of telling better stories and reaching more of our community,” McDonald said.