June 20, 2024

TNJN – The Tennessee Journalist

TNJN (The Tennessee Journalist) is the digital news site for the University of Tennessee’s School of Journalism and Electronic Media.

The site is a part of the curriculum, and day-to-day content and operation decisions are made collaboratively by students and 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). The site showcases stories from a variety of journalism courses and interested students, and often collaborates with other media outlets including LandGrant Films, Scoop magazine, WUTK radio and the Volunteer Channel.

The site is designed to archive and display the work of students, work that is either part of a course, or produced independently.

TNJN allows students to graduate with an archived portfolio of their best work.

Staff – Fall 2022

Ryan Sylvia, writer, sports editor: rsylvia@vols.utk.edu

Masooma Hussaini, reporter (practicum)

Austin Newell, reporter (practicum)

Melanie Faizer, faculty advisor: mfaizer@utk.edu

History of TNJN

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 that generation of the TNJN site.

The faculty advisor from inception through 2016 was Dr. Jim Stovall. The current faculty advisor is Distinguished Lecturer Melanie Faizer. The current TNJN site is running on WordPress and technical support is provided by Dan Greene in the School of Information Sciences.