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Website of the Week — UWire

Time again for our Website of the Week, when we showcase interesting and innovative online destinations. Our web guide is VOA's Art Chimes.

Practically every college or university in the United States has at least one student newspaper. Student papers have long exchanged articles, either reprinting news from other campuses or getting ideas for their own coverage. Now, that exchange has gone online, and those of us who aren't students get to read some of the best student journalism being published in the US and around the world.

FRENCH: "UWire is sort of like the Associated Press for college media. The other half of UWire is a consumer-facing site where folks can come and really get in touch with what students are talking about."

Ben French is general manager of — part university wire service, part news site for the public, and part career tool for aspiring media professionals — a service that's just getting off the ground.

But for now the news is the top draw on UWire, where I learned how the vacation schedule at the University of Iowa could affect the presidential chances of Democratic hopeful Barack Obama. And about Syracuse University scientists who have developed a form of insulin that can be taken as a pill instead of injection, at least in rats.

French says the next generation of professional journalists writes from a different perspective that you might not get in other media.

FRENCH: "Students have a certain honesty to them that is refreshing. And I do think they have a new and interesting angle. If you take music and film as an example, who's the one who's going to tell you that the new 'Pirates of the Caribbean' movie sucks. Students have their ear to the ground on certain subject matters, and they're experts on those subject matters."

UWire aggregates student journalism from 800 campus newspapers and other media outlets. Currently, there are only a handful outside North America, but Ben French says UWire is a great vehicle for student journalists around the world.

FRENCH: "What's great about being a student media person in 2007 that's different from what it was when I was a student or when you were a student is that you can get yourself out there, and it's a great method for surfacing talent. What's great about a student in Nigeria or a student in China or Japan is they've got incredible stories to tell that I think our readers would be interested in reading and also our other newspapers would be interested in running."

Ben French says he hopes for more contributions from around the world, so if you're a student journalist, this might be a breakthrough opportunity. Check it out at, or get the link from our site,