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Published:August 1st, 2006 13:20 EST
What's all this about the SOP?

What's all this about the SOP?

By Brandon Jennings

Anyone who thought getting published was out of reach because they hadn't already been has another thing coming thanks to Judyth Piazza and the Student Operated Press.

"The Student Operated Press offers student writers the opportunity to have their work published regardless of prior writing experience," said Piazza, CEO, writer and host of The American Perspective, a live online radio show.

The SOP offers radio broadcast and publication opportunities to anyone who is willing to take the time to seek out a story, and many colleges are including as part of their journalism curriculums.

"Rutgers, Coppin State, University of Arizona and University of Finlay are all including writing for the SOP as an internship option," Piazza said.

There are incentives for writing for the SOP aside from simply seeing your name in print.

"All SOP stories are picked up by Google news and a majority of the major search engines. There is also a $500 scholarship awarded to one hard working student each semester."

Piazza has also made a determined effort to get students published in hard publications such as SOTAC magazine and Florida People Magazine.

"Seeing your name in print in one of those glossy pubs can be a real confidence booster."

The SOP isn't a newspaper run by inexperienced journalists in order to boost their portfolios with poorly edited material.

"We have some great volunteer editors. Del Marbrook has been a journalist for 50 years, and he helps us out immensely. It's not everyday that people with that kind of experience just hand over their time to help out the little guy," said Piazza.

"It's a great privilege, and I hope I'm doing some good," said Marbrook, about his opportunity to help out at the SOP.

"We've arrived at a time when newsrooms are shrinking due to the cost-cutting of conglomerate newspaper owners," Marbrook said.

"The owners see their advertising shrinking due to competition in cyberspace from operations like Craigslist."

"We're seeing the rise of citizen journalists on the web. Bloggers are raising important issues and often uncovering neglected areas of a story."

Marbrook feels this is creating a shaky environment for new graduates of the field of journalism.

"The area of local reporting is becoming neglected. If we don't start covering local news better, we'll keep getting the kind of congresses and legislatures that we have now -unresponsive to the people and held in low esteem by the public," said Marbrook.

It is through organizations like the SOP that local reporting is taking hold again and keeping government in check without the pressures from advertisers and shareholders.  

The SOP offers students a chance to cover their hometown without any restrictions on the types of stories they want to publish.

"Bad government in Washington and the state capital begins at home. And if you can't cover your hometown, you can't cover Washington."

For more information, log on to www.thesop.org .