International college news network in the works

“We’re a long way away from the rest of the world, and for us to have an opportunity to participate in something that gives us that connection … is a fantastic chance,” Mulrennan said during a video interview. “It’s something we really want to focus on so students can deliver news and content beyond our … shores.”

Having a reliable high-speed web connection powering GCN will let educators focus on the ins and outs of video production rather than a steady stream of technical difficulties that keep student content from a wider audience.

“I think it’s going to be a lot slicker,” she said.

The ease of joining GCN – schools simply need an internet connection – could bring reams of news on the same subject from vastly different points of view, said Rob Heydari, a Ryerson radio and television arts student.

“This type of technology allows us to connect with people and find out what’s happening right now,” he said. “We can update our stories immediately and provide a global perspective we didn’t have before. … Everyone has internet connections now … and [GCN] has now taken away one of the huge barriers to these live connections.”

Heydari said an advanced internet connection without the latency of a standard satellite connection will bring a new level of immediacy to campus-based reporters and editors hoping to break news before their competitors.

“It changes time lines,” Heydari said. “You’re not waiting for tapes to arrive in the mail or a satellite uplink to be available at a certain time.”

Sharing news stories, pictures, and videos via Twitter, Facebook, and video chat websites has become a valuable tool for college reporters, said Coomey from Ryerson, but an international news network run by students will usher in more student-to-student collaboration.

For example, Coomey said students from various countries could report on the state of gay marriage legislation from their respective cities, interviewing local officials and activists and combining the coverage with interviews from several other campuses.

“This is beyond Skype and beyond Facebook,” she said. GCN will let students “find out how the same story looks differently depending on where you are in the world.”