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The proposal dedicates space in MSU’s Freudenberger House.
Provided by Missouri State University
The proposal dedicates space in MSU’s Freudenberger House.

University considers big boost to online news startup 

Posted online

The Springfield Daily Citizen, a local online news startup, will be housed free of charge – furnishings and utilities included – on the Missouri State University campus, pending approval this week by the school’s board of governors. 

A memorandum of understanding to seal the deal for a three-year period will be taken up by the board at its meeting Friday. 

The proposal dedicates 15 rooms for the news outlet in a dormitory, the Freudenberger House, at 1000 E. Madison St. 

Missouri State University President Clif Smart praised the proposed partnership and compared it to the university’s relationship with the public broadcasting entities KSMU, an NPR affiliate station operated by the university, and Ozarks Public Television. He clarified, however, that the Springfield Daily Citizen will not be a university property.

“We think collaboration with those entities and synergies will be good for students as well as the whole area,” he said. 

He added the Daily Citizen’s focus on public affairs stories aligns with the university’s mission. 

“It’s a great partnership for the whole area, and we’ll have better news coverage as a result,” he said. 

Unlike the Springfield News-Leader, a for-profit newspaper in print and online, the Springfield Daily Citizen is a nonprofit entity that plans to publish strictly online. 

The MSU board is considering offering the Daily Citizen free space, as well as internet, Wi-Fi and phone, maintenance, custodial services, waste disposal, and keys and access cards. 

The three-year agreement between the Daily Citizen and the university would be automatically renewed for an additional two years unless either party provides notice of termination or nonrenewal, the memorandum of understanding states. 

Tom Carlson, the former and longest-serving mayor of Springfield, filed the articles of incorporation for the Daily Citizen, and he told Springfield Business Journal the publication would launch around the first of the year. 

Like Smart, Carlson expressed enthusiasm for the proposed partnership. 

“A partnership between the Springfield Daily Citizen and Missouri State is a win for Springfield,” he said. “We both have the same goals. MSU’s public affairs mission is to produce educated citizens. Ours is to produce in-depth news that those same citizens need to make informed decisions.” 

He added student interns interested in a journalism career will be able to gain experience working alongside veteran reporters before they graduate, and the publication will benefit as well. 

“We believe these students will bring to the table their perspectives, which will make us a better publication,” he said. 

Former News-Leader Executive Editor David Stoeffler will serve the Daily Citizen as president and CEO. Stoeffler told SBJ his role is to lead the day-to-day operations of the publication, including the duties of an executive editor and publisher in a conventional newspaper model. 

Brian Fogle, president of Community Foundation of the Ozarks Inc., identified himself as a backer of the new publication, though he noted that he is a cheerleader rather than a financial backer at the moment, and CFO is not involved in the startup. 

Fogle said the Daily Citizen’s independent, public affairs mission is appealing to him. 

“As you well know, our daily newspapers have been challenged,” he said. “A lot of these nonprofit entities have tried to fill that gap.” 

He said the Daily Citizen will focus on civic and governmental stories. 

“What they’re trying to do is not duplicate what’s out there but fill in the gap from voids that have developed in the last decade,” he said. 

Fogle compared the publication’s funding model to public broadcasting, including NPR, and said a nonprofit model might use subscriptions or membership drives for revenue. 

“Then there will be donors that just want to see that public affairs content locally,” he said. “It’s still very preliminary.” 

MSU’s support of the new publication is in keeping with its public affairs mission and its most recently adopted long-range plan, which emphasizes community partnerships as one of its target areas. 

“That’s right in our wheelhouse of value that the university brings,” Smart said. 

The long-range plan features community engagement as a core component of the university’s public affairs mission. 

“Meaningful engagements throughout their time at Missouri State will allow students to develop connections with the community and develop a passion for service,” the plan document states. “Students will become more connected with the community and more will decide to make Springfield home.” 

The long-range plan stresses the importance of service-learning opportunities, volunteerism, internships and practicums for students. The Daily Citizen likely will offer internships and other opportunities for students in the university’s department of media, journalism and film, and will supplement similar opportunities for students at the campus newspaper, The Standard. 

Smart said if the MSU board approves the partnership between the university and the Daily Citizen, an event likely will be held Monday to celebrate the arrangement. 

Read more about Missouri State University’s long-range plan in the Oct. 18 edition of SBJ. 

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Tells you everything you need to know about “The Daily Citizen”. The last thing we need is another democrat party propaganda outket!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021
Molly

So excited to have more local journalism focused on the people! Since the takeover of news by a handful of corporations, we have lacked true coverage of the issues that affect us most. I was once a subscriber to the daily, then weekly, newspaper here in town. I look forward to once again receiving daily news about issues affecting the lives of the people around me. Hopefully more voices being heard will result in a better life for ALL of us.

Friday, October 15, 2021
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