The timely topic is health, with sub-topics for feature writers, beginning reporters, "data miners" and investigative reporters.
Suzanne Yada at at San Jose State University has this page about the project: Journalism students across the globe, here is your reporting assignment.
Sarah Jackson at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in British Columbia has this: Eye to eye: #Collegejourn crew is planning a global collaborative journalism project
Josh Halliday at the University of Sunderland (UK) posted the plans to the Online Journalism Blog: The CollegeJourn global reporting project.
That "#Collegejourn" they mention is a Twitter "hashtag," the key to an online discussion conducted via Twitter.
Some participants also will be using the UK site Help Me Investigate, which I haven't had time to investigate myself. (It's partly the work of Paul Bradshaw, online journalism prof at Birmingham City University and publisher of that Online Journalism Blog mentioned above.)
Maybe between h1n1 flu (my school just had its first case) and the U.S. health insurance debate, enough journalism students have become health-issue conscious and will take up the challenge to come up with school newspaper and school website stories, class projects... or maybe to get something published in the off-campus media.
Coincidentally, there's a free 60-minute webinar Wednesday (Sept. 9) on Health Reform Coverage: The Key Issues with Trudy Lieberman, contributing editor to the Columbia Journalism Review; Kay Lazar of The Boston Globe; Karen Tumulty of TIME; and Robert Laszewski of Health Care Policy and Marketplace Review. Mike Hoyt, editor of CJR, will moderate. Register in advance at the link above. The webinar is also accepting early questions.
Here are a few other places students might browse for health-reporting inspiration:
- A 2003 issue of Nieman Reports on Medical Reporting
- The Association of Health Care Journalists, and its blog.
- The UNC Chapel Hill (my alma mater) master's program in medical journalism.
- A Journal of the American Medical Association article about Medical Journalism and Public Awareness.
- The Journal of Health Communication at George Washington U (more academic research on public health publicity, but could have some story leads).