The New York Times and Huffington Post Tap Free Content Source: University Students

Yesterday, The New York Times announced it was expanding its coverage of New York City neighborhoods by using New York University students...

Yesterday, The New York Timesannounced it was expanding its coverage of New York City neighborhoods by using New York University students to report on the goings-on in the East Village.

This isn't really a new approach: The Times already uses students from the City University of New York to supply some of its content in covering the borough of Brooklyn. It also has used coeds from schools, such as Cornell and Bucknell, to populate its college sports blog. And, in 2007, eight graduating seniors who wrote for their college newspapers chronicled their transition from school to the real world.

Perhaps piggybacking on these various capital-unintensive models, the Huffington Post launched HuffPost College, which gathers stories from student newspapers, such as the Ka Leo (University of Hawaii), The Maneater (The University of Missouri), and The Sun Star (University of Alaska)-as well as The Daily Crimson, Columbia Spectator, and The Stanford Daily. (Finally, outlets that will be ecstatic to have The Huffington Post grab their articles.) Arianna Huffington sums up the effort:
HuffPost College features voices from colleges and universities all around the country and offers a real-time snapshot of what's going on in the lives of the nation's 19 million college students-from coverage of the latest trends and sports happenings to more serious issues such as freedom of expression on campus and the rising cost of tuition.

Former Gawker editor and The Awl cofounder Choire Sicha felt as though The New York Times move (and perhaps, by extension, The Huffington Post launch) set an unfortunate precedent for journalism going forward: "[T]his set-up suggests that the way to finance local news operations is only on the backs of free labor."

Photo: GOOD's Deputy Editor Morgan Clendaniel and writer Theo Schell-Lambert wile away the hours at The Brown Daily Herald.