Join us! TNJN is seeking two JEM practicum students for Spring 2020 in two new roles: newsletter writer, and breaking news reporter.
Descriptions are below; please apply by sending your letter of application and CV to mfaizer@utk.edu.

Practicum opportunity: TNJN.com newsletter writer

Want to write about campus and local happenings, and get practicum credit for it? Join this NEW opportunity at the Tennessee Journalist (www.tnjn.com) to write our first weekly newsletter for TNJN readers.

Responsibilities include writing a well-rounded weekly summary of TNJN’s best stories of the week, with links to the stories and to outside sources; working to bolster email subscribers through social media marketing; attending TNJN editors’ meetings; pitching story ideas to TNJN writers.

Skills required: strong writing, ability and commitment to meet the weekly deadline, news judgement, ability to stay up-to-date on campus and local news and events, knowledge of (or ability to learn) WordPress CMS and manage the newsletter plugin.

Hours: ~15 hours per week

Practicum opportunity: TNJN.com breaking news reporter

The Tennessee Journalist seeks a reporter to cover breaking news on and around campus.

Responsibilities include: being able to respond as news happens, interview relevant sources and turn around a story for publication within a short timeframe. Possible stories could include (but are not limited to): The Rock, campus/area demonstrations, campus/area crime, UT administration, local politics as it affects students. 1-3 stories per week.

Skills required: willingness to learn how to be a “general assignment” reporter; flexibility to move around campus and town; ability to interview people, do research and accurately report stories; turn stories around as fast as possible. Basic multimedia skills (mostly photography) a plus.

Hours: ~15-20 hours per week.


TNJN is the news web site of the University of Tennessee’s School of Journalism and Electronic Media and was established in 2006 as the centerpiece of the school’s efforts to teach and explore the areas of web journalism.

View The Tennessee Journalist Promotional Video

The site is a part of the curriculum of the School, but day-to-day content and operation decisions are made by a student staff appointed by the faculty.

The Tennessee Journalist is not part of or affiliated with any other student media, such as the UT Daily Beacon (which is independent of the School). It works cooperatively with other media produced by the School such as Scoop magazine, WUTK radio and the Volunteer Channel, among others.

Part of the thinking behind the creation of the Tennessee Journalist is that it does not have a legacy; that is, it is free to explore the developing and expanding world of web journalism without any traditions – except for the tradition of the practice of good journalism. The web is a different medium, different from print and broadcasting just as those two media are different from each other. The audience expectations for news web sites are different than those of print or broadcast audiences; the relationship of the audience to the medium is also different. Consequently, the journalism found on this web site may also be different in content and form from that found on other media.

The site is designed to archive and display the work of students – both work done for classes and work completed as part of the student staff. Each person who contributes to the site as a reporter, editor or producer gets a profile page with biographical information and a list of links to the articles to which they have contributed.

In addition to displaying the work of students, the operation of the site itself gives students a chance to participate in an active news organization and to make decisions about content, display and personnel. The site can be updated instantly as news and other content decisions require.

In the beginning

The site launched in October 2006. During that semester, Johnny Dobbins and Staci Martin-Wolfe began with the idea to create a firm but flexible news web site that would allow students to explore and practice web journalism. They built a content management system using the python-based Django framework.

Dobbins was an Air Force veteran and political science major whose ability to understand and work with back-end systems made him a standout computer phenom. Johnny is now working with TBO.com in Tampa, Fla. Staci was living in Knoxville but completing her master’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas where she helped develop tools for its digital media curriculum. Staci worked for a while as a multimedia manager for MSN Money in New York City, but she returned to Knoxville and is now working for Scripps New Media.

Their work on the content management system for this site put Tennessee at the head of the pack in developing news web sites as a teaching tool.

Contributing to and backing up their work was John McNair, director of technology for the College of Communication and Information. Bob Stepno, a lecturer in the College, also made substantial contributions to the generation of this site.

The faculty advisor from inception through 2016 —and the person who got some of the balls rolling on this site—was Jim Stovall. The current faculty advisor is Melanie Faizer.

The staff of the Tennessee Journalist

Anyone can join the staff of the Tennessee Journalist. A person does not have to be a Journalism and Electronic Media major; nor does that person need to be taking any classes in the School.

Staff position appointments are made by the faculty advisor to the site and approved by the faculty of the School. Position appointments generally last for one semester.