These local newspapers were struggling. Then student journalists took charge.

With hundreds of U.S. newspaper closings leaving legions with little access to local news, a college newspaper in Iowa has stepped up to buy two struggling weekly publications.

The move by The Daily Iowan, a nonprofit student paper for the University of Iowa, is believed to be a first, though other universities are stepping up to fill America’s news void in different ways.

Students will work alongside the papers’ existing one- or two-person reporting staffs and put themselves to work covering the small communities of Mount Vernon, Lisbon, and Solon, Iowa. The weeklies’ owner proposed the buyout to save the publications, which have a combined circulation of 1,900.

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