The reins of a weekly newspaper will be handed to a team of college students for two weeks – with the best two securing a three-month paid internship, in what is thought to be a regional press “first”.
Archant title The Comet, which is based in Stevenage, will be taken over by ten students from North Hertfordshire College who will get involved in writing articles, taking photos, designing adverts, building webpages and running its social media sites.
To get a place at the title, teams of five students will compete to design a summer marketing campaign to recruit new students to the college, which will appear in Archant Herts and Cambs newspapers and websites.
The best two teams will be involved in the takeover which starts on 13 May and during the first week, they will shadow staff there before being handed control in the second week.
Two students who impress the most will be offered a three-month paid summer internship at The Comet, where they are expected to be given digital roles and will also work with sister titles the Welwyn Hatfield Times and the Royston Crow.
During the internship, they will be paid the same wage as a trainee journalist at Archant.
Lorna Willis, digital sales director at Archant, said she believed the project was a first in the regional press and it had come about after speaking to the college about their annual student recruitment campaign.
Lorna said: “They will spend two weeks with us. The second week they will take over the Comet newspaper.
“They will be editing the paper, obviously with lots of guidance, but if they want to change the look of it, they can. It is quite a brave move for us.
“What they will bring to Archant is a fresh insight – this is our future audience.”
The internship will focus on digital and will include running the social media part of the college’s marketing campaign but will be adapted according to the interests of the individuals.
As part of the partnership, the Comet is also leading a project to create a photo-mosaic which will hang in the a new building being constructed for the college.
It will be made up of 3,500 photos and will be virtually displayed on a microsite, as well as with a double-page spread in the paper.
The title is also starting a mentoring scheme for students with a LinkedIn page, where they can receive advice about specific careers from local business people.