Community Supported Journalism Written by Tom Ulrich
n May 2008, two San Jose State University business professors, a journalism professor, and two Silicon Valley business leaders conceived of a regional magazine to inspire community leaders to solve neighborhood problems in imaginative ways. A talented group of students from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications brought SHiFT magazine to life during the winter of 2008. Their mission: challenge readers to contribute time, energy, and resources to overcome the social problems that our community faces. For nearly a decade, the staff has tackled neighborhood issues with a particular interest in how the community is meeting local needs in ways that set an example for the region and the nation. Students have delivered stories about child poverty, homelessness, obesity, teen suicide, and the mental health of veterans returning from the war in Afghanistan. SHiFT is a solutions magazine. It’s not enough for writers to report a problem— they want to embolden readers as well. Even though the staff covers some of our most unsavory circumstances, they give readers reason to hope, and to act. True to San Jose State University’s mission to teach students how to navigate the 21st-century economy, staff members from SHiFT and its sister publication, South Bay Pulse, are pushing the limits of digital technology. As with so many successful Silicon Valley startups, seed money came from experienced players and visionaries. Early contributors to the program included SJSU’s Lucas College of Business and HP Labs. Last summer, Adobe Systems chose SHiFT staff members over students from other Bay Area universities to join seasoned programmers to help develop the next generation of digital publishing software. This May, the Western Publishing Association, a trade organization representing magazine publishers and printers from 24 western states, awarded the staff of SHiFT the best student print publication of the year. In the spirit of community that defines both SHiFT and Content, 10 SHiFT staff members have contributed to this jointly produced issue.
School of Journalism and Mass Communications jmc.sjsu.edu
South Bay Pulse sobaypulse.com