New School of Journalism website continues legacy of student reporting in Southern Arizona

March 28, 2024
Arizona Sonoran News blue and red logo stacked

The University of Arizona School of Journalism has launched a new website, Arizona Sonoran News (AZSN), to feature and share reporting by student journalists. 

Content currently found on the AZSN website consists of reporting by students in the School of Journalism’s Arizona Sonoran News capstone course, stories written by the school’s Don Bolles Fellow and local public affairs coverage reported by current Jamieson-Metcalf Scholars

The new site is the latest evolution of student-produced media at the school, which has facilitated a community news service since 1973

Articles written by students in the Arizona Sonoran News class undergo an extensive editing process overseen by faculty, and students gain practical digital skills by using web content management tools to format and publish the stories online themselves.   

“We’re not just simulating journalism, we’re doing journalism,” Associate Director Pate McMichael said. “By laying out their own stories, students are getting some very practical experience in digital journalism and learning how to incorporate multimedia.” 

In addition to providing students with experiential learning opportunities, McMichael sees AZSN as a tool that can provide news outlets with stories that cover topics and events they may not have the resources or staffing to routinely provide coverage on. 

News organizations have access to browse stories on the site, which are sorted into categories including community, arts, sports, and education. Anyone can republish the students’ articles and related visual elements in print and online under a Creative Commons license

This newswire model allows students to cover a wider range of topics and communities that multiple local and national publications may find relevant, Cathalena Burch, the adjunct instructor who oversees the Arizona Sonoran News capstone class, said.

Such reporting includes a story by graduate student Analeise Mayor about scientists’ work at the University of Arizona Wild Cat Research and Conservation Center that was published in the Arizona Daily Wildcat on campus, the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson and the Herald Review, a  newspaper based in Sierra Vista that serves Cochise County. 

In addition to reporting and writing for AZSN, students in the class have the opportunity to produce multimedia projects and serve as photographers and assistant editors.

“Our students are not just student journalists in this class, they are working reporters and they leave this class with published work to show for it,” Burch said. 

Future plans for AZSN include introducing additional student leadership roles and publishing audio stories, broadcast packages and photo galleries produced by students in other journalism classes.

To help advance these efforts, the website allows visitors to donate to Arizona Sonoran News to support the cost of running the website. 

AZSN's creation was made possible through a generous donation by School of Journalism Associate Professor Susan E. Swanberg in honor of her late husband, Richard Wood. 

News partners interested in republishing work found on AZSN can contact Pate McMichael at