Mission & History
The program’s mission is to bring diverse voices into journalism and related professions by using intense, personal instruction in the practice and principles of journalism. We strengthen the civic literacy, writing skills and college-readiness of Minnesota teens. The program makes a particular effort to serve low-income and minority teens without access to similar opportunities.
Over the past 10 years, scores of ThreeSixty Journalism students have entered college, including more than 20 at St. Thomas. A dozen graduates are working in newsrooms across the country. Many cite ThreeSixty Journalism as an important first step and continued source of support for that journey.
ThreeSixty Journalism was called the Urban Journalism Workshop when it was started at the University of Minnesota in 1971 by editors at the St. Paul Pioneer Press and Minneapolis Star and Tribune .
At that time, many summer journalism camps for minority teens were created at universities across the country. They were a response to the small number of minorities in newsrooms and to criticism of the media’s performance during the urban unrest of the late 1960s.
For example, the Kerner Commission concluded in 1968: “By and large, news organizations have failed to communicate to both their black and white audiences a sense of the problems America faces and the sources of potential solutions. The media report and write from the standpoint of a white man’s world.”
UJW continued as a summer camp run by the daily newspapers for 30 years. But in 2001, St. Thomas journalism professors Bob Craig and Dave Nimmer and editor Kathleen Stauffer had a bigger vision: Create a year-round youth journalism program to train and support teens with a desire to tell stories and an interest in journalism and communications careers.
Until moving to the University of St. Thomas in 2001, UJW’s work was limited to a two-week summer camp funded by local media companies and staffed by newsroom volunteers. With the help of grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Star Tribune Foundation, in 2002 the program was able to hire a full-time director to develop year-round programming and outreach. The University of St. Thomas contributes funding, in-kind support and training by the journalism faculty to support the program. It also offers a full-tuition, four-year scholarship each year for one high school senior who completed the journalism workshop.
In 2006, the program’s name changed to ThreeSixty to reflect its programmatic and geographic growth. We are interested in telling stories from all parts of our community, using a variety of media tools.
Visit our website to see student work.