The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday September 27th

Students being recruited to intern for Chapel Hill 2020 plan

UNC students know their social media — and Chapel Hill leaders are putting their blogging and communication skills to good use.

The Community-Campus Partnership, a program of the UNC School of Government that works with local governments to improve development, is working on behalf of the town to recruit student interns to work for the Chapel Hill 2020 process.

The partnership is offering paid internships to graduate students to create content about the 2020 process, a town initiative to create a new plan for local growth.

Interns will be paid from the combined $70,000 the town and University have pledged to comprehensive plan collaboration.

Kendra Cotton, project director for the partnership, said the group has recruited through graduate student listservs and received a great deal of interest.

But only one paid intern — second-year graduate student Scott Sherrill from the School of Government — has been hired so far, and Cotton said his pay and role remain undecided.

Sherrill, a public administrations student, said his prior experience in blogging prompted him to apply.

Mary Jane Nirdlinger, assistant director of the town planning department, said he was hired for his experience with social media.

In August, Cotton approached professors in the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication about having students report on the comprehensive plan for the town’s blog.

Cotton suggested journalism professors include student coverage and blogging on Chapel Hill 2020 in their curriculum.

But her request came too late, she said, and professors could not fit the cooperation into their classes.

“We first started looking for a faculty member to start identifying students who could help,” she said. “We were too late.”

Although the journalism school was not able to provide a team of bloggers, junior Keren Goldshlager has still become involved.

She approached Nirdlinger about blogging for 2020buzz and has already posted twice.

“Since I came looking for them, they figured they would use me,” Goldshlager said.

The town is also accepting story ideas and submittals from students, Nirdlinger said.

“Like any other blog or news source, someone with an idea could pitch an article to us,” she said.

Goldshlager and other volunteers will not be paid.

Town officials have stated that it is the town’s job to inform without advocating for a certain position when creating the 2020 plan.

Because the paid interns will receive their wages from the partnership and not the town, conflict of interest will not be an issue, Cotton said.

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