This article was originally published by the Wichita Eagle newspaper on June 12, 2018

Van Sickle hopes site will 'influence the hearts and minds of a generation'


Businessman Jason Van Sickle isn't a journalist, and he isn't planning on hiring any writers or editors, but that's not stopping him from starting a news site that he hopes will be a place for students to learn journalism and come to appreciate it.

"The catalyst for me was a growing frustration with what I see as the attack on journalism," says the president of the Old Town Association.

That includes what he calls "fake news junk" that has people questioning real news. He says he's also concerned about websites that pose as news outlets but instead exist to further political agendas.

The website will tentatively be called the Fourth Report, which is a play on the Fourth Estate.

Van Sickle says he's creating it as a tool for high school and college students to publish and, more importantly, learn about journalism.

"What I can do is maybe influence the hearts and minds of a generation," Van Sickle says.

The publication won't have advertising and no one will be paid. Nor will Van Sickle have day-to-day involvement. He says he's working with journalism programs in schools to create the site as a tool for them.

He wants to start the publication in the next month and then step away to let a board oversee it.

Van Sickle says his intent is not to replace other news sites but to offer more opportunities for kids to participate.

"They're going to leave that experience with a new level of respect for what journalism is."