The Back Hill Reporter is the student newspaper of the London College of Printing. Its particularity is that the LCP is a media college; and as such, the students working on the college newspaper are not doing so as volunteers, but as part of their training on the college's prestigious BA in Journalism. The course aims to train students to become journalists in a realistic environment, focusing not only on writing skills and journalistic thinking but also preparing them to work in a real environment. As such, with the emergence of online journalism as a new form of communication, the college decided to introduce a semester-long unit in their BA program to teach the subject, which was to be evaluated at the end of its course as to the feasibility of introducng it as a permanent part of the program. They approached a young design company, Media Citizens, to help them carry out the project, which in turn asked me to help it implement its provisional concept.
The site was to revolve around online journalism as not only a means of delivering information, but also as a means of receiving it, thereby encouraging audience participation. The site was thus to consist not only of articles written for it by journalists on the BA program, but also by members of the public, and thus also had to work on the basis of a well-defined editorial policy.
The site was launched in January 2002, and received 20000 hits in its first month online. The LCP is reviewing the possibility of making the Online Journalism unit a permanent fixture in their BA in Journalism. The site can be viewed here.