At a time when hyperlocal news is taking off, many newspapers are struggling to fund the reporting necessary to keep popular but costly local news bureaus active. But The New York Times is taking a new approach. They’re tapping into the potential talent pool at New York University’s Arthur L Carter Journalism Institute to launch a new East Village focused news blog.

The effort will help the Times expand its local coverage and help journalism students get important experience (and a few bylines). Not a bad deal. And are there any reasons why the Times should pay journalists when it can get students to do their work for free?

The Local East Village site will be overseen by former Times reporter Richard
G. Jones as well as N.Y.U. professors Yvonne Latty and Darragh Worland. The site will be hosted on The New York Times website at eastvillage.thelocal.nytimes.com.

And just because The Times won’t be paying NYU students to produce content for the site, that doesn’t mean someone won’t be supporting them. Brooke Kroeger, director of NYU’s Journalism Institute, tells Business Insider that the school is planning to build a “war chest” to help cover the costs of freelance contributions.

The news has been met with mixed reactions. Curbed had a smattering of responses, including the following:

Awesome that the Times thinks enough of the East Village to assign the beat to some NYU grad students who haved lived here for a short time… I have a lot of mixed feelings about all this… too much to try to process at the moment…”EV Grieve

The site will launch this fall, just before the paper begins charging for access to its website. And the
question remains: Will The New York Times make its readers pay for something that it gets mostly for free?