Iron Blade and Franklin News-Post form alliance to cover local and campus events and give journalism students professional publishing experience


The Iron Blade and the Franklin News-Post have partnered up to provide news to the county and experience to students.

Refentse Maselwa, Staff Writer

Iron Blade staff stand in front of the Franklin News-Post building in Rocky Mount as part of the recent partnership between the two publications. Front row from left: Anna Rymer, freshman; Refentse Maselwa, freshman; Bella Eddy, freshman; Lindsey M. Foster, junior; Caroline King, junior; Marina J. Powell, freshman. Back row from left: Cody Gibson, junior; Monzelle Campbell, freshman; C.J. Hughes, freshman. (Staff photo)

   A partnership has formed between the county newspaper The Franklin News-Post and The Iron Blade where IB staff will supply the county paper with content relevant to the college and the Village of Ferrum. 

   The arrangement has members of the paper eager to cover events and proud of the work being done.

   “I’m so excited to be partnering with the News-Post because it shows that these stories are powerful, and they mean something to this community,” Marina J. Powell Iron Blade Assistant Editor, said.

   Members of The Iron Blade say they are excited about the collaboration and that the partnership does not only benefit the members of the paper, but also the college, town, and county.

   “We give voices to the stories of the community around here,” Bella Eddy, staff writer for the IB said with more than a hint of pride for her team. 

   The partnership between the two publications came about through a discussion Aila Boyd, editor of the News-Post, had with David Campbell, Iron Blade advisor.    

   She reached out in the hope of having a student cover a Martin Luther King, Jr. event on campus. Other local media could not attend, and the News-Post needed coverage.

   IB Editor Lindsey M. Foster ended up covering the event, which was Emmy-Award winning actor Ron Jones speaking at Vaughan Chapel about MLK. Foster submitted the story to the FNP, and Boyd reached out to Campbell about the potential partnership.

   Campbell had recently revamped the journalism minor on campus to include more internship/publishing opportunities. 

   “It was great timing. We were looking for publishing avenues for the students, and this fell into our proverbial laps. I’m super excited for the opportunities that these students will have,” Campbell said.

   Boyd was equally enthusiastic about the opportunities.

   “When I graduated college with a media studies degree and started looking for reporter jobs, the biggest thing potential editors asked for were clips,” Boyd said. “They wanted to read my writing. While they appreciated the fact that I had experience writing for the student newspaper, they also wanted to know if I had written for any outside publications. I think this arrangement will help Ferrum students obtain professional bylines.”

   Boyd also said her hope is that the students will benefit from having clips from both publications.

   Since that first article, the IB reporters have contributed a half dozen articles to the FNP.

   “The articles that I have run so far from the Iron Blade have included a Martin Luther King, Jr. Day event, a panel discussion on the events happening in Ukraine, the Empty Bowls initiative, and a Haitian food station,” Boyd said.

   She also praised the quality of the submissions.

   “The articles were all incredibly well-written,” Boyd said. “I certainly wasn’t able to write as articulately when I was in college. Simply put, the articles looked professional. If I hadn’t known they had been written by student journalists, I would have simply assumed they had been written by professional journalists.” 

   Boyd also applauded the student newspaper. 

   The Iron Blade is certainly a dynamic publication,” Boyd said. “It is designed in a way that is very easy to read. Unlike some publications, it has a personality. I can tell a lot of time and effort goes into the construction of each issue.”

   The students have enjoyed seeing their bylines in both publications.

   “It was crazy to have my story in the Franklin News-Post,” Foster said. “I was not expecting it to be posted outside of The Iron Blade. When I found out that it was going to be printed (in the News-Post), I did not know what to think of it. I was on cloud nine when I found out that I was on the front page as well.” 

   Now, the IB staff can find some of its articles in two publications, right as the Iron Blade has returned to regular print editions after a two-year Covid-induced hiatus. 

   “I’m just very proud of us,” Powell said. “I feel like we are reviving the spirit of the Iron Blade and doing what Ferrum College is supposed to do–connecting with the community and sharing our stories,” said Powell.