College editor does it all with social media

So there was an awesome Tweet on Tuesday using the collegemedia hashtag talking about how The Underground at Penn State uses Slack. As a Slack fan, I reached out to the author Adriana Lacy to ask about her Slack strategy and tips for integrating the app in college newsroom.


Adriana Lacy, social media wiz

After she graciously agreed to talk about how she uses Slack, I did a little more research about her. I found she has not only a website resume, she has a Twitter one – something I’d never heard of but I know I find genius, especially for someone who is a social media strategist.

She said she was looking for interesting ways to use Twitter Moments when it came out, and figured a Twitter resume was a good way to get extra attention.

“Recruiters and internship hiring managers are looking at your social media first,” she said. “So I thought this was a cool way to use Moments to [help with getting noticed.]”

She recommends the Twitter resume, but also following folks who are in the fields you are interested in pursuing.

“These folks can offer tips and tricks [on how to get a job like theirs],” she said.

Adriana’s resume is pinned to her Twitter profile, and she tries to update it every few months. Additionally she maintains a website that includes her resume and extensive links to her clips, something she highly recommends

“Focus on the things you do really well one,” Adriana said. “Find examples of when others share your work or compliment you, and share that. It shows your impact.”

So back to what I reached out to Adriana about…Slack. The Underground, an online publication she founded to give diverse voices a place to be heard, uses Slack to create a virtual newsroom, since they do not have a physical one.

The staff uses Slack to discuss coverage and build camaraderie. Here’s a listing of The Underground’s Slack channels.

“[Other systems have] too many messages in one stream,” she said. “Slack lets you have so many conversations in so many different areas.”

While sometimes it’s difficult to get folks to check Slack or to keep their conversations to the specific channels, the benefits outweigh the shortcomings.

“We operate the site on six different verticals,” Adriana said. “[By organizing along those lines and creating private channels] we keep conversations within that department and that staff.”

The private channels per section have other advantage.

“Some people were overcome with the notifications [before the private channels],” she said. “This creates community within the group and let’s them get to know each other.”

Pretty important for a group with no physical newsroom. But The Underground also has public channels for kudos and wall quotes, something Adriana says is invaluable.

“Praising people or [memorializing their] funny moments publicly builds a virtual community. We need to keep that energy.”

For more tips and examples on using social media, be sure to follow Adriana on Twitter.

College Football National Championship Picks


After the semifinals, our four of our sports editors are still in it. Zach Engberg from San Diego State and Garrett Poddell from Texas Christian are rooting for the University of Georgia. Chris Leach from University of Kentucky and Olivia Pitten from Southern Methodist are betting on the University of Alabama.Tonight, two of them will be right. Good luck!


Lexington Herald-Leader reporting intern Chris Leach in Lexington, Ky., Monday, July 17, 2017.

Chris Leach – sports editor

University of Kentucky

Kentucky Kernel


I think Alabama is going to win. I am not convinced that Alabama’s loss to Auburn is as crushing as some took it, that game was was incredibly hostile and it’s tough for anyone to play in that kind of environment. I think Alabama is as solid as anyone in the field, and coming off a rare-loss, watch out for the Tide.

Olivia Pitten – sports editor

Southern Methodist University

The Daily Campus


I think Alabama is going to win the national championship this year, despite not being conference champions. I think Nick Saban will take the month of December to get the Crimson Tide back into shape before facing Clemson in the Sugar Bowl, seeking revenge for their loss last year. Ultimately, I think the Alabama offensive will prevail over the Tigers.

Engberg,Zach.jpgZach Engberg – Sports Editor

San Diego State University

The Daily Aztec

NATIONAL CHAMPION PICK: University of Georgia

The University of Georgia will win the 2017 CFP championship. They have been the best FBS team since the season began. Only one of its games has been decided by less than two touchdowns, a 20-19 win over Notre Dame in week 2. After their 40-17 road loss to Auburn, the Bulldogs responded with three dominating wins, taking revenge on Auburn in the SEC championship. Running back Nick Chubb is one of the more underrated backs in the country, and Sony Michel is no slouch. Oklahoma has the best quarterback in the playoff, Alabama has the best coach, Clemson has the most experience, but this is the Bulldogs’ year.

Garrett Podell – Sports Editor

Texas Christian University


NATIONAL CHAMPION PICK: The University of Georgia

I think the Georgia Bulldogs will be the national champions for a couple reasons. They have a three-headed monster at running back with Nick Chubb, Sony Michel, and D’Andre Swift who collectively average 263.5 rushing yards a game. Defensively, they allow just 13.2 points per game. When you can play keep away and win the time of possession battle, as well as keep your opponents out of the end zone, that’s a formula for winning it all.

Previous: So I reached out to 22 college media sports editors, and eight took the time to answer me during this hectic finals time. Swear to goodness, Alabama, Clemson, University of Georgia and Oklahoma each got two votes. So I guess the winner really is anyone’s guess.

grottkau, andrew.pngAndrew Grottkau – Sports Editor

Rice University

Rice Thresher


Oklahoma’s only loss this year came in a dud of a performance against Iowa State. That won’t happen again. When the Sooners play well, they look like the team that destroyed Ohio State in Columbus earlier this year. That’s the team I expect to show up for the Rose Bowl and the National Championship Game. Likely Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield will be too much for the Georgia and Clemson defenses to handle, and Oklahoma will take home the national championship.

King, Nathan.jpegNathan King – Assistant Sports Editor

Auburn University

The Auburn Plainsman


Baker Mayfield should prove too much for Georgia in the first round, although that Rose Bowl matchup should be one for the ages. Against either Alabama or Clemson, the Sooners defense will flex its newfound efficiency and harass Bryant or Hurts enough to let Mayfield be the deciding factor.

Mason, Carson.jpgCarson Mason – Sports Editor

University of South Carolina

The Daily Gamecock


I predict Clemson to win the National Championship. I covered South Carolina’s annual Palmetto Bowl matchup with Clemson this season, in which the Tigers earned a 34-10 win over the Gamecocks. After a dominant win over Miami in the ACC Championship game, the Tigers look poised to repeat last season’s national championship victory behind quarterback Kelly Bryant, an arsenal of dynamic skill players and a stout defensive line.

Schnittker, Andrew.jpgAndrew Schnittker

North Caroline State

The Technician


I’ve got the Clemson Tigers winning it all. I saw first hand what that team is capable of when it came through Carter-Finley Stadium in November. That’s a championship caliber defense loaded with NFL talent. Kelly Bryant is a young, talented, mobile quarterback capable of leading the Tigers offense and allowing it to put enough points on the board for its defense to win the game. Give me Clemson over Oklahoma in the title game.

Ron Johnson leaves job early, student editor highlights his impact


Me, crying, holding the soccer ball. Ron, also trying to not cry, holding the mock Page One we made for him.

Like many media organizations on college campuses and in the professional world, the Indiana Daily Student at Indiana University has been struggling to recover from a decline in print advertising. To ease the financial stress, Director of Student Media Ron Johnson “took a 10 percent pay cut so the IDS could have a little more money,” according to a letter from the editor. “When that wasn’t enough, Johnson announced his resignation effective Jan. 1, 2018, so his salary, of which the IDS pays 75 percent, could continue funding the Daily Student’s operations.”

Sadly, that wasn’t enough either, and Johnson left his position on December 1, 2017 amid controversy, concern and reflection. Outgoing editor in chief Jamie Zega reflects on his legacy at IU and journalism in general.


This photo is in front of Ernie Pyle’s desk. We took this after our traditional end-of-semester celebration that also, naturally, became Ron’s farewell.
(Note the Indiana Dad sweatshirt)

1. How has Ron’s retirement, and the circumstances surrounding it, affected the IDS? How has it affected you?

To clarify, Ron is not retiring — he’s not done with collegiate journalism. He resigned from this position. Another university is going to be very lucky to have him as an adviser.
As far as the circumstances surrounding the resignation, honestly, it really caused a ruckus with morale. Ron’s initial decision was unfortunate, but we knew we would make it out OK. When our dean asked him to resign a month earlier than intended, that really upset us and scared us, as you might have read here. We’ve had numerous discussions with our dean since then, though, and we’re starting to work together to not only find the next director of IU Student Media, but also ensure the IDS maintains its independence.

Ron’s departure has not had a really direct affect on me yet. It upset me, like it did for others, but I was lucky enough to have Ron’s guidance through the majority of my term as editor-in-chief. I think this spring’s editor will have a significant challenge in adjusting to the post-Ron IDS (and that’s not at all to knock our interim director, but it is going to be objectively different without Ron around).

2. Ron’s influence is felt throughout the college media world. How has having a professional like that as your adviser benefited you?
Having Ron as an adviser has benefitted me (and the IDS as a whole) in countless ways. Knowing him means knowing almost every other adviser in college media, and thus knowing their paper/website/yearbook. We’re always looking for inspiration from other papers and to see what they’re doing that we aren’t or how they’re doing something that we could be doing better. Although we usually reach out on our own, it’s nice to have that name recognition. Unrelated but semirelated, at my internship this summer we had coffee/lunch buddies with the other interns. My buddy and I met for the first time and I said I went to IU and she goes, “Oh, that’s Ron Johnson’s school!” This girl was originally from California, goes to school at Harvard and still knew who Ron was from some high school work that he did.


Ron after last spring’s end-of-semester celebration with various EICs. From left, me (Fall 2017), Michael Williams (Summer 2017), Ron, Alison Graham (Fall 2016), Hannah Alani (Spring 2017).

He’ll deny it, but he’s literally a celebrity for just about any organization he’s been a part of — IHSPA (Ind. high school press), ACP/CMA, JEA/NSPA, SND. He’s basically a national treasure.

3. What is your favorite memory of working with Ron?
My honest-to-god favorite memory with Ron was our brunch in Dallas the last day of ACP/CMA. The conference was great to attend and I learned a lot, but I also loved being able to spend time with Ron and our yearbook editor. Capping that off with the best brunch buffet I’d ever seen in my life was too perfect.

But actually working with Ron … I think my favorite memory was when I was named editor-in-chief. Once the board has made its decision, Ron (or the director at the time) will bring the candidate(s) into his office to tell them the result before introducing the new editor to the rest of the newsroom. I ran unopposed, so Ron only had to bring me into his office and tell me that the board had decided to select me. Once he did, he gave me a big hug, grabbed my hands, told me he was so happy for me and that he knew I’d do a good job. That was one of the most validating experiences I’ve had in my time with the IDS. I knew there were probably peers of mine who weren’t thrilled that I would be leading the paper, but to have Ron’s approval was really the only seal of approval I needed.

4. What will you miss most about Ron?

5. What will you miss least? :)
(yes, I skipped 4, but I’ll get back to it!) Kind if continuing the thought from my previous answer, the thing I’ll miss the least will probably be the constant worry of whether or not Ron liked what we did. We always could look forward to/dread passing that morning’s paper next to his office, marked up with Ron’s criticisms, corrections, critiques and praise on each page. Blue pen for words, red pen for design/visuals. From writers to designers to editors, everyone cringed a little before opening the paper to see what he had to write. They’d nod if he was right about a criticism, or smile at the praise they’d received. That’s one way that even those who didn’t work with Ron still got to know him.

So basically I just did something I never do and turned what was supposed to be a negative thing into a positive! There’s not much I won’t miss about Ron. Just the fear of failure that perpetually exists and the feeling of coming into the newsroom after class to find that the dinner he surprised everyone with was gone before you could even have some.


The two of us hugging after presenting him with his gifts from the staff. In this one, he’s holding an IU soccer ball signed by all of us. I’m not sure about soccer as a whole, but Ron really loved IU soccer.

4. What will you miss most about Ron?

What I’ll probably miss most about Ron …. a lot. Obviously he’s kind and caring and all that other stuff that you say about anyone you like. I guess what I’ll miss most is his presence in the newsroom. Most of the newsroom could probably say he’s a bit of a father figure to them in some way, but for me it’s double. As editor-in-chief I worked with him the closest this semester and spent a lot of time with him. Even further (and deeper, honestly), I never met my father. I never really had many male role models to look up to, and father figures were as close as I was going to get to an actual father.

Ron was always there when I needed him. If I was just having a rough day, he’d give me a hug and a reminder that we’d make it through the semester. When I was putting too much time into work and falling behind in my classes, he nudged me to kind of get it together. Before we left for the semester break, he and his husband had my boyfriend and me over for dinner. But what’s possibly the thing that was most telling and what I won’t forget was when he made me borrow a coat.

Long story short, I never was able to retrieve my winter coat from my mom’s house before the cold hit in early November. One particularly cold day I was discussing said lack of coat with Ron and said I’d be fine and just layer up a ton until Thanksgiving Break when I’d go home and get my coat.

He left for a little while and came back for a meeting with the yearbook staff. Of course, I was still in the building and meeting with our newsroom adviser, Ruth Witmer. Ron pokes his head into her office and says “there’s a coat on the chair in your office. Wear it.” and walks away.

It seems small and kind of dumb, but seriously, what other staff member at IU would do that? If I had asked, I’m sure there’d be a few. But not many would come and say “wear this until you get your own coat.”

Ron has probably won the “Best Dad” staff award just about every semester he’s been here. Aside from the literal “well no one else on staff has children!”, I don’t think anyone else is more worthy.

6. As Indiana moves forward finding a new adviser, what qualities are you hoping that new person possesses?

The next director of IU Student Media needs a lot of things. Our Media School has formed a search committee to find the next director, and just in forming the search committee, a lot of people have a lot of thoughts as to what qualities the next director needs to possess. I think the biggest one is the dedication to the success of student journalism. Without that, the other qualities don’t matter. We need someone who will guide us, help us, and be there for us. I won’t be around when the new director’s tenure begins, but as long as they show their dedication to maintaining the standard of excellence of IU Student Media, I’ll feel comfortable with the pick.


A final staff photo after the celebration, featuring Ron way in the back, haha.

7. Anything else you want to add?

Basically, like I said before, Ron Johnson is a national treasure. Although it hurts to see him leave under the circumstances in which he did, I wish him nothing but the best in his move to Missouri and his job search going forward. Any university will be lucky and, frankly, privileged to have him backing its student publications.

“What does it mean to study journalism?”


“What does it really mean to study journalism?”

That was among many of the questions submitted recently to several high school journalism teachers in Southern California. These high school journalists were submitting the questions they had about college media.

And while these students are in high school, the questions they pose are ones college journalists and journalism educators should be asking, too. Studying journalism today looks different (hopefully) than it did 10 years ago and different still than it will five years from now.

The questions were solicited from high school newsrooms to understand what exactly high school students want to know about college journalism. These questions also demonstrate a growing sophistication among high school students (and their parents) looking for a return on their investment and an awareness among the public of drastic changes in the news business. Students should continue to ask these questions even after they reach college.

The questions high school students asked included:

  • Do the students really have a voice in their school newsroom?
  • How involved are journalism advisers? Does the adviser run a school newsroom or are they just there to support the students?
  • What kinds of internships/jobs can I get when I graduate? Will I have a future as a journalist? What percentage of journalism majors go into journalism?
  • Does being a journalism major mean I have to write for the newspaper? What else can I do?

The bottom line is that the answers are going to vary a great deal depending on the school and its particular model of journalism. So, the best advice is put on a reporter’s hat and ask tough questions of any school that offers journalism courses and/or a student newsroom experience. Here is a list of questions to get any curious high school student started:

1. Independent or course-connected? Ask specifically whether a school’s newsroom is independent or connected to a journalism major, minor or any specific classes. Being connected to a course or major doesn’t guarantee anything about the quality of the news products but it does provide some insight on the relationship of the newsroom and the institution. There are highly successful college media programs that are independent of the school’s courses (and therefore money), and there are fantastic programs that are connected to courses offered. Know the difference.

2. More than a newspaper? Journalists, especially young journalists, are expected to have variety of skills: reporting, writing, editing, video editing, producing social media, leading digital design, etc. Ask what training and positions a particular newsroom offers? Ask how those will prepare you for a fluid professional media environment.

3. Compensated? Will you be paid per story? Per hour? Through a scholarship? Is this all volunteer? As a college journalist, you will spend a lot of time in the newsroom (or working for the newsroom). Figure out what types of compensation will be available, if any.

4. Internships? Ask what types of internships recent students have had? Are internships required as part of the major? If so, what type of support does the college or university provide to help secure an internship? Internships are key for student journalists, so find out what is possible.

5. Jobs? Try and figure out where recent grads from a particular program have been hired? To what types of jobs, industries or graduate programs are they gravitating?

6. What’s legal? How the law affects the work of a student journalist will vary from state to state and will depend, in part, whether an institution is private and public. As you are considering that The Student Press Law Center is a great place to keep up on legal issues surrounding every level of student journalism.

College Media Geeks: Harley Strickland, Georgia Southern University

College is often a time to find your passion and find a way to turn that into a job and maybe a career. For Harley Strickland that passion is communication and journalism, and her path involved a pageant stage. In addition to winning the Miss Georgia Southern title, she completed an internship at Savannah station WTOC, which she transitioned into a full-time job.

Here she explains her unusual path and offers tips on finding your path and passion.

Harley S2.jpeg

You are quoted elsewhere saying that participating in pageants helped you improve your communication skills? How so?

I was very shy when I was younger. I began doing pageants to build my communication skills and confidence. The interviews for pageants can be very difficult at times and I think some people don’t understand that. I competed at the Miss Georgia pageant three times and I did many local pageants and each interview was different. Some interviews would be personal while others were strictly political and current events questions. I had to really study the news and current events going on in the world and how to communicate those events in an interview. These interviews made me more and more comfortable in front of people and speaking to people.

How do you think pursuing journalism has helped you not just in the pageant world, but also in developing as a leader and a person?

To me, a leader is someone who is confident and helps others. A leader helps others by not tearing them down but building them up and lending them a hand. That’s also what journalism can be at times. In the journalism world it’s all about telling someone’s story and trying to help them. Communicating and telling their story to an audience, which would be the viewers. I love breaking news, but the heartwarming stories of people helping each other are my ultimate favorite. Having these stories has helped him in the pageant world and helped me have real experiences that some contestants do not have. I also spoke about my servant’s heart in interviews and that is something I can offer in the news industry as well.

Harley S3.jpeg

What is your favorite piece or broadcast you’ve done while at Georgia Southern?

Oh gosh! I have so many!

A few semesters ago I was able to cover the Evans County Rattlesnake and Wildlife Festival which is held in my hometown. My family also helped start the festival fifty years ago. This past March, (a year after this video) I was asked to help co-host the parade which is live on WTOC. Here is a link to my video…

Another story I did was a short piece for a class project. It was a profile video and I covered a story on Sara McCorkle, a girl I went to high school with.

Evans County Traveling Potty package. This is another one that was fun to create because it was in my hometown and something that was very interesting.

Many college journalists struggle to find employment after they graduate. What do you think you did to land your job at WTOC fresh out of college?

I completed an internship at WTOC this past summer. I went into the internship treating it as a job interview because I wanted to work at WTOC because it was my local news source. I came in on time, was ready to learn new things, and wasn’t afraid to work hard each day. By doing this, it showed the organization that I wanted to work at WTOC and I was willing to work hard. I treated the summer as a job interview and it turns out that I got the job I worked hard for.

I would suggest getting an internship and taking every opportunity to learn. The more skills you have and the more you learn from others, the better off you are!

Why do you think that journalism still matters?

Journalism will always matter in my opinion because it’s the number one thing people do. We communicate. Everyday we call people and talk to them. We talk about what is going on in the world, what our city is doing, what the school system is doing, ect. Journalism is reporting facts and keeping everyone informed. The newspapers are always laying on our coffee tables, in barber shops, or even in doctor’s offices. The television is on when we eat our breakfast or when something major happens in the world. We expect the newspapers and television to be there when we need information and we trust the people reporting it to us. It’s as if we form a bond with anchors and reporters.

What is your six-word memoir?

Everyone starts somewhere. Never give up.

Harley’s Reel

Heisman finalists get the college media treatment

The three Heisman trophy candidates are getting a lot of attention from the professional media. With that attention comes a spotlight on the campuses, the facilities, the athletic programs. So here at College Media Matters, we are putting the spotlight on how the college media on these campuses have covered the Heisman candidates. Because, let’s be honest, they probably do it better.

Lamar Jackson, University of LouisvilleLamar Jackson.jpg

The sports editors at the Louisville Cardinal have been covering the feats of Lamar Jackson since he got on campus. Last year Sam Draut, the sports editor, crafted a piece on Jackson by using Jackson’s personal Instagram account. Since then, the coverage has continued.

Dalton Ray, the current sports editor, said covering Jackson brings about unusual challenges.

“His play has been out of this world for two seasons now so we, as a staff, had an idea of what we were getting into,” Ray said. “We didn’t want to only write about Jackson, so it challenged us to think outside the box.”

When you have a player like Jackson, you always worry you might lose him early. “For our final issue of the semester, we had a Jackson-only section,” Ray said. “In case Jackson declares for the NFL Draft this spring.”

Whether Jackson declares for the draft or not, Ray will have excellent coverage of a Heisman candidate for his portfolio. But he says that’s not the only advantage to covering Jackson.

“The best part about covering U of L football is watching Jackson in person,” Ray said. “I’ve never seen anyone like him. To watch him make unreal plays each week is makes me realize how lucky I am to be in this position.”

Here’s more coverage from The Louisville Cardinal

Baker Mayfield, The University of Oklahoma

In an amazing series, The Oklahoma Daily has been exploring all the Heisman award winners from the University of Oklahoma. They’ve also been covering Mayfield’s season and even his mustache.

For more stories form the Daily, check out this search link.

Bryce Love, Stanford University

Surprisingly, it doesn’t appear that The Stanford Daily has done much to cover finalist Bryce Love besides the typical football coverage and this feature on the launch of a Heisman campaign website.

Note: the sports editors of the OU Daily and The Stanford Daily did not respond to an email request to discuss their coverage.

College media offer advice on surviving finals

Let’s face it. Among all the excitement of returning home for winter break, there’s a lot of stress this time of year. Whether you’ve been on top of it all semester, or you have been, shall we say, focused on other things, finals bring with them a unique set of challenges.

So who better to offer sage advice on how to conquer those finals but college media staffers. Here’s a sampling of some great advice from around the country.


The State Press
"Stressing about the end." Illustration published on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017. Photo credit: Meredith Kopriva

The State News, Arizona State University

In addition to food and mindfulness, The State News offers a more holistic list of tips on making finals a less overwhelming period of time.

Rocky Mountain Collegian, Colorado State University

You’ve got to eat! Fill the stomach as you fill the brain. The Rocky Mountain Collegian offers some quick and easy meals to keep you going during those study sessions. Click here for some ideas.

The Daily, University of Washington

In addition to feeding the body, you need to feed the soul. The Daily offers some wellness tips to keep you sane. Check out their tips here.

The Daily Utah Chronicle, University of Utah

It’s hard to get excited about the holidays when you have to pass that chemistry final. The Daily Utah Chronicle laments the stress of finals with a Christmas flair in this piece.

The Harvard Crimson, Harvard University

The Fly By also had a little fun with finals anxiety in this cute graphic.

WUVA News, University of Virginia

This handy video offers a variety of fun tips, and some disagreement over all-nighters. And some advice from an actual professional.

People of Color Talk column causes controversy after The College Fix calls it racist

Somehow a column that has been around for almost the entire calendar year is causing some controversy. The Cooper Point Journal at Evergreen College features a column POC Talk, meaning People of Color Talk. Apparently the column has been present for a while, but on Sept. 26, the editors reintroduced the column, and its purpose, to readers. According to social media, no one noticed much.

But on Dec. 1, The College Fix wrote a piece about the column, and that generated much more talk. And most of it is pretty negative toward the column and its anonymous writer(s).

image1-625x537.jpgBut if you take a look at the column, it doesn’t seem to be filled with hate, and might actually be a useful learning tool for those seeking to understand the viewpoints and struggles of people of color. They’ve offered tips on self care, talked about candidates for vice president and provost of equity and inclusion candidates, and offered a guide for social justice slang.

Many campuses have more than one media outlet, and some have publications and sites specifically for minority and affiliate groups, like The Hispanic Culture Review at George Mason University. But not all campuses can afford separate publications, but still want to make sure they address the various groups on their diverse campuses. Which is what this column seems to be doing.


Note: The editors of the Cooper Point Journal never responded to a request to be interviewed.

College campuses have discussions on equality following anthem protests

It’s been more than a year since Colin Kaepernick sparked controversy by kneeling during the national anthem prior to San Francisco 49ers games. It’s been a few months since President Donald Trump further stoked that controversy by saying any athlete who kneels should be fired.

This discussion is not isolated to professional sports; it’s being held on college campuses throughout the country as students stand up for what they believe in by kneeling.


Cheerleaders absent from field after kneeling during anthem
A handful of cheerleaders take a knee during the national anthem prior to Saturday’s matchup between Kennesaw State and North Greenville on Saturday, Sept. 30.

The Sentinel, Kennesaw State University

On September 30, five cheerleaders, now known as the Kennesaw Five, knelt during the national anthem. The next week they were not allowed on the field due to what was called a change in athletics procedures (haven’t we heard this before?). Allegations swirl that a local sheriff and politician pressured the new president into keeping the women off the field.

The Daily Egyptian, Southern Illinois University

After two cheerleaders knelt during the national anthem, the athletics department and the chancellor insisted on following a new protocol–one that kept the cheerleaders off the field and the courts during the anthem.

College Heights Herald, Western Kentucky University

Last fall the Major Redz dance team not only elected to take a knee during the national anthem, they encouraged others to participate.

The State News, Michigan State University

Rather than try to avoid controversy or discussion, the men’s basketball head coach at Michigan State agreed to purchase shirts for his team that read “We Talk, We Listen”. He said he hopes the shirts will encourage better communication.

The Michigan Daily, University of Michigan

Athletes at the University of Michigan have been participating in #TakeAKnee protests for more than a year.

The Tack, Buena Vista University

Even when students and administrators have intense discussions about the decision to kneel, boosters and alumni often have negative reactions.

The Round Up, Los Angeles Pierce College

Partially in response to President Trump’s comments and tweets about the protests in the NFL, some Brahmas at Los Angeles Pierce College took a knee. The Round Up tried to put the actions and controversy in context.

The Crimson White, University of Alabama

In Alabama, protests spurred two hashtags, #BamaSits and #BamaStands

The East Carolinian, East Carolina University

It’s not just athletes who have caused controversy. At the Greenville, South Carolina school, the Marching Pirates band took a knee.

The University Star retracts racist column amid nation-wide controversy

UPDATE (12.04.17): The Austin-Statesman is reporting that Texas State has formed a committee to review the procedures of The University Star.

The editorial board has not only apologized for running an opinion piece that has been called racist, they have declared the author will not be featured in the Texas State University newspaper again.

The original column is no longer available at The University Star webpage, but apparently can be found in the print edition.


The move comes after the student body president Connor Clegg told KXAN he would seek to defund the newspaper if personnel changes are not made. In that piece he said “If the Star wishes to maintain its operations without student funding, they can do so like any other paper – by earning subscribers and selling more advertisements. There is no reason for over 39,000 students to be forced to invest their student fees towards this brand of journalism.”

It is unclear what steps Clegg would need to take to strip the paper of its university funding. According to reports he will meet with the editorial board tomorrow and announce some kind of action on Monday.

The author of the piece entitled “Your DNA is an abomination”, Rudy Martinez, told KXAN that he stands by his piece. “Let’s leave the racist attacks out of this. I don’t think my piece is racist at all. I don’t think colored people can be racist, I think racist attitudes come from a position of power,” he said.

In addition to the concerns of the student body president, the university president, Denise M. Trauth, has also spoken against the piece in a Facebook post. “While I appreciate that the Star is a forum for students to freely express their opinions, I expect student editors to exercise good judgment in determining the content that they print,” Trauth said. “The Star’s editors have apologized for the column and are examining their editorial process.”

According to reports, Martinez’s piece included the following quotes:

“The idea of whiteness and the way we currently understand it in which you have white privilege, you have our system of mass incarceration, you have a history of slavery in this country followed by Jim Crow. Mass incarceration is the new Jim Crow. These are all ideas born out of whiteness; they were born out of the minds of white people. So that, I do see as an aberration,” Martinez told KXAN.

“When I think of all the white people I have ever encountered – whether they’ve been professors, peers, lovers, friend, police officers, et cetera – there is perhaps only a dozen I would consider ‘decent.’”

The piece concludes: “Whiteness will be over because we want it to be. And when it dies, there will be millions of cultural zombies aimlessly wandering across a vastly changed landscape. Ontologically speaking, white death will mean liberation for all… Until then, remember this: I hate you because you shouldn’t exist. You are both the dominant apparatus on the planet and the void in which all other cultures, upon meeting you, die.”

Not unexpectedly the column has been discussed on InfoWars, Breitbart and the Washington Examiner.

Interestingly enough, the tagline for The University Star is “Defending the First Amendment since 1911.”

College Media Geeks: Ryan Weier

During the fall national college media convention, a lot of awards were handed out. Between the Pinnacles, the Pacemakers and Best of Show awards, literally hundreds of students received recognition from media professionals.

Only one received an award from his peers.

Ryan Weier won the Class Favorite Award in the Dallas Photo Shoot-Out sponsored by the convention. The senior graphic design major from Central Washington University was named best in class by other shoot-out participants. He even received an honorable mention from the professional judges.Ryan Weier - Headshot.jpg

The director of photography for the student magazine PULSE has contributed a lot to the magazine, while also breaking a few rules.

How did you get involved with college media?

Seeing a student ran magazine around campus sparked my interest and encouraged me to get involved.

Large Scale Prominade

Inadvertently mimicked the statue as he checked his watch as he wanders the city. “The typical Dallas city dweller is friendly, in terms of scale the city is huge. But once you get into
it, it’s not that big,” Prewitt said.

What went into you capturing this photo?

Rushing around Downtown Dallas in search of rental bikes as the sun neared the horizon meant a race against the clock. Some co-workers from PULSE Magazines OnceUponATone Collective and I begun peddling towards location pins we had set across Dallas. I soon felt the adrenaline rush many photographers come to love. I was determined to capture Dallas’s iconic “Traveling Man” statue towering above the skyline, with a lone figure below trumped by the size of the statue and city. Once I arrived and set up the shot I searched for a city dweller to interview and model under the structure. Nearby Macks Prewitt wandered the streets of Dallas with his girlfriend. “The typical Dallas city dweller is friendly. In terms of scale the city is huge. But once you get into it, it’s not that big,” Prewitt said. I snapped the shot and the adrenaline left my body. Prewitt’s statements couldn’t have been more accurate. Here I was in an unfamiliar city, wandering around seeking the perfect moment to capture, and I had finally found it.

Gear and settings used:

Canon 5D Mk IV with a Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM Lens mounted on a Monfroto 190x Tripod; Settings: 24mm – 1/4 sec at f/8.0 ISO 1600

What three things do you think are key in capturing a great photo?

  1. Context
  2. Sharpness
  3. Throwing out the rule book.

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PULSE Magazine Fall Issue Cover |
“Celebrating Body Positivity”

What do you feel your greatest accomplishment in college media has been?

Collaborating with innovative writers, photographers, designers, and professors from PULSE Magazine.

In honor of College Media Matters’ found Dan Reimold, what is your six-word memoir?

6 word: Dreams don’t work unless you do.

15 Words: Time is money, time is gold, it can’t be pawned and it can’t be sold.

Image 3.jpg

Washington Larch Trees - “First snow after one of many Washington wildfires” |

Student media affected by Hurricane Harvey seek to cover the storm

Unless you’ve literally been living in a cave, you’ve seen something about the devastation Hurricane Harvey has wreaked throughout Texas and Louisiana, but its winds and rains have reached much further.

The College Heights Herald at Western Kentucky University is not only reporting on the storm, but suffering from its wrath. Editor-in-chief Helen Gibson woke up to the news that the newsroom of The Talisman, the Herald’s sister publication, had been damaged.

College Heights Herald

Water soaked ceiling tiles collapsed on a work station Photo credit: Chuck Clark

“I was here late last night,” she said. “And everything was fine. “But as I was getting ready this morning, I heard from our adviser that Hurricane Harvey happened.”

Overnight water apparently came in through the roof above one of the main work stations, damaging at least two computers.

College Heights Herald 2

A hole in the ceiling above a workstation in the newspaper office Photo credit: Chuck Clark

Currently the staff is setting up a temporary work station while also covering the damage to other spots on campus. Schools around town are closed for the day, and other buildings have taken on water.

“It’s more significant than I thought it was going to be,” Gibson said. “I didn’t think it would be this bad.”

College media organizations around Texas have also been affected. Check out their coverage here:

Texas publications:

The Cougar, University of Houston

The Rice Thresher, Rice University

The Houstonian, Sam Houston State University

The Battalion, Texas A&M

Coverage from outside Texas:

The Plainsman, Auburn University

Iowa State Daily, Iowa State University

The Campus, Oklahoma City University

UC Davis newspaper thrives after students approve media fee


In his four years with The California Aggie at University of California, Davis, Scott Dresser had a front-row seat on the student newspaper’s roller coaster ride. He was there when The Aggie hit bottom and was forced to halt print production and stop paying staffers. And, as editor-in-chief for two years, he helped lead the effort to return the newspaper to financial viability and resume print publication.

In an age of falling advertising revenue and hard decisions about print publication, his experiences offer some important lessons for 21st century student media operations.

The Aggie’s troubles became evident to Dresser in the spring of 2014, soon after he was named campus news editor. But the newspaper had actually been losing money for five straight years due to falling advertising revenue and financial mismanagement. As College Media Matters reported at the time, The Aggie’s budget reserves had plummeted from a half million dollars to less than $20,000.

In the winter of 2014 the newspaper staff launched a “Save the Aggie” campaign and tried to get the student body to approve a $3.10-per-quarter student fee that would have raised an estimated $272,800 annually for the newspaper, according to The Davis Enterprise. But too few students voted and the measure failed, compelling the leadership of the newspaper to halt printing and move to an online-only format.

“The mood was pretty grim,” Dresser recalled. “I was incredibly disappointed when we transitioned out of print. I understood the financial necessity but I grew up reading print newspapers, and I felt it was a disservice to the campus not to have a print paper.”


Former California Aggie editor Scott Dresser led the effort to once again start printing the UC Davis student newspaper.

Over the next year the staff looked for new ways to bring in revenue. At one point, a local newspaper, The Vacaville Reporter, agreed to print the Aggie in exchange for the right to sell advertising, but that deal fell through, according to Dresser and news reports.

When Dresser became editor-in-chief in the spring of 2015 he vowed to make The Aggie financially viable again – and, if possible, to bring back the print newspaper. He worked with student government leaders and university administrators to craft a new fee initiative and mobilized the newspaper staff to convince students to approve it.

“We were speaking in classrooms daily, speaking at student organization meetings, tabling on the quad,” Dresser said of the 2016 “Print the Aggie” campaign. “We wanted to empower our staff to feel like they had skin in the game. We encouraged them to find innovative ways they could contribute to the campaign.”

A couple of weeks before the vote, The Aggie printed a special 100th-anniversary edition to “show students what they were missing,” Dresser said. In a letter from the editor in the print issue, Dresser noted that UC Davis was the only school in the 10-campus University of California system that didn’t have a print newspaper. “We pointed out that students were missing out on a service that students across the UC system had,” Dresser said. “That was pretty effective.”

A staff editorial hammered home the plea for print.

“Print journalism is important, especially on a college campus,” the editorial said. “In addition to increasing transparency of local issues and keeping an official record of UC Davis history, an on-campus print newspaper gives student groups more visibility for their events and allows for a higher level of accountability for ASUCD and the administration.”

The Aggie’s efforts paid off. About 21 percent of students voted on the initiative (a little more than what was needed to meet the 20 percent voter participation requirement) and of those, 61 percent agreed to charge themselves $3.73 per quarter to fund the Aggie. According to the initiative, of the money raised, 80 percent of the funds, about $230,000 per year, goes to the newspaper, and 20 percent covers the fee increase for those who can’t afford it.

The fee is scheduled to last for four more years and could be renewed with another election.

On Sept. 22, 2016, The Aggie started to print weekly once again. But the staff didn’t just use the fee money for printing. With the new revenue, the newspaper was able to hire a business development director who revitalized the advertising department and provided continuity for the student-run newspaper.

With money from the student fee and new advertising revenue coming in, The Aggie now has a healthy annual budget of $350,000, up from just $4,000 two years ago, Dresser said. The newspaper has been able to invest in new equipment and once again pay its staffers. “This year alone, we put over $100,000 into our reserves,” Dresser wrote in his final Letter from the Editor earlier this month.

Dresser said the paper is now a modern media enterprise that takes advantage of both print and online. The print newspaper reaches students where they live and study. “If they see a print copy outside a lecture hall or an on-campus coffee shop, we’re able to reach a wider audience,” Dresser said. “By getting back to print we’ve really increased our presence in the community. A lot of people in the community didn’t know we were still around.”

Meanwhile, the website features breaking news and multimedia content, which The Aggie promotes through social media.

“We fully understand that the future of journalism is digital,” Dresser said. “We have worked to get back into print, but we understand our digital product is as important if not more important than the print product.”

While Dresser thought it was vital for The Aggie to return to print, he understands that for other college newspapers digital-only publishing is the best way to serve their communities.

“I don’t think college newspapers should print just to keep printing,” he said. “Those decisions should be made on a case-by-case basis.”

And not all campuses would support a student newspaper or media fee. But for those having financial troubles, it’s certainly worth considering. The Daily Californian at UC Berkeley, The Daily Nexus at UC Santa Barbara and The Daily Bruin at UCLA are among student newspapers that benefit from student media fees.

After years of fighting to save and then revitalize The Aggie Dresser is ready for his next challenge. He graduated with degrees in economics and political science last week and plans to take a break and travel before looking for a job in politics or journalism.

The Aggie was my life for four years so it’s really sad to be leaving,” Dresser said. “But I’m confident next year’s staff has the ability to continue this legacy.”

College Media Geeks: Andrew Grottkau, Rice University

New England Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick doesn’t smile often. It’s such a rare occurrence, USA Today felt it important to alert the world that they had unearthed groundbreaking footage of such an occasion back in 2016.

Leave it to college journalist Andrew Grottkau to elicit both a smile AND a brief chuckle from the usually unflappable Belichick.

bill belichick smiling.JPG

A screen capture of one of the rarest sights in nature: a smiling Bill Belichick.

Grottkau, a sophomore at Rice University, managed the feat by asking Belichick about his days at Phillips Andover Academy during a news conference for this year’s Super Bowl held in Houston.

“For some reason … there was this second where it was kind of silent, which isn’t typical,” Grottkau said. “I decided to just butt right in and ask Bill Belichick a question. It was pretty surreal that he answered it.”

Grottkau said he never imagined he’d have the opportunity to interact with professional sports personalities, as he’s currently a mechanical engineering major. So how did he end up covering the Super Bowl?

“It’s kind of by accident that I got involved, but I’m really happy I did,” Grottkau said.

During his first week at Rice, his adviser noticed that he was a sports fan, and put him in contact with the sports editor of the student newspaper, the Rice Thresher. Shortly afterwards, he had his first assignment: preview Rice’s first football game of the season.

“I really enjoyed it,” he said.

The Thresher became so impressed with Grottkau’s skill covering sports, he assumed the role of sports editor during his freshman year and started writing his column The Final Kauntdown (a pun on the last three letters of his last name). When he heard the NFL planned to host the Super Bowl in hereby Houston, he realized he needed to try and cover it.

He said he didn’t know anything about the process, however he managed to acquire an account with NFL Communications, which allowed him to request press credentials for the event. Even though the Thresher does not regularly cover professional sports, he still managed to secure week-of-game passes for him and his photographer.

At the Super Bowl Opening Night (formerly Media Day), he attended his first professional news conference. He said 20-30 people crowded around Atlanta Falcons head coach Dan Quinn, which differed greatly from the three to five people that usually attended Rice news conferences.

andrew photo jpg.JPG

Rice Thresher Sports Editor Andrew Grottkau interviews New England Patriots DL Trey Flowers during one of this year’s Super Bowl media-day events.

“It took a little bit of building up the confidence to actually ask a question, but once I did, I just blurted it out,” Grottkau said. “Just asking that first question really broke the ice.”

He managed to talk to some players milling around the hotel and Minute Maid Park before stunning Belechick with question about his high school days.

“I decided to enquire what he felt that year was like for him and so I got a pretty cool answer,” Grottkau said.

Phillips Andover Academy found out about Grottkau’s question via Twitter, and they they were “thrilled” about Belechick’s answer, which they posted to their Facebook account.

“It was pretty cool,” Grottkau said.

Grottkau’s currently a sophomore with the goal of expanding Rice’s coverage to online platforms.

“When I started we had very little website presence and very little social media presence,” Grottkau said.

When he became an editor, Grottkau said he wanted to run the publication’s Twitter account, which had laid dormant since 2013.

“I tried to make sure that we brought that back and were actually doing live coverage of things throughout the week,” he said.

He said his organization’s efforts to transition to providing digital content paid off once they started making an effort to post their stories more often on their Facebook page. The staff soon found the site generated more traffic than their print edition, piling up more than 4,600 likes.

Grottkau also had the opportunity to try his hand at podcasting when a fellow staff member Madison Buzzard approached him about starting a podcast devoted to covering Rice sports modeled after “Pardon the Interruption.” The duo brainstormed and researched for a couple of weeks before recording their first episode.

“We just kind of went for it the first time,” Grottkau said. “It actually ended up working really well.”

Grottkau said he hoped to release a new podcast every two weeks. Though he plans to get a job in industry once he graduates Rice, his experiences as a sports editor have left an indelible mark on him (like the time he got to watch Kris Jenkins hit the game-winning shot at the NCAA Final Four last year and interview players and Charles Barkley in the post-game madness).

“I really like it,” he said. “I don’t think I would have made it this far if I wasn’t having fun.”

College Media Geeks: Gabi Wy, University of Southern Indiana

While many college students spent their sophomore years figuring out what they want to do, Gabi Wy of the University of Southern Indiana has spent her second year of college pursuing her passion and deepening her knowledge of an ever-evolving media landscape.

Gabi has already participated in the Asian American Journalists Association’s VOICES program and the Discover Your Drive Diversity Journalism Program, and those experiences have encouraged her to become a multimedia journalist. Additionally, she has grown her passion for diversity in journalism.

Gabi Wy Headshot.jpg

What is your year, major and title?

I’m a sophomore journalism and criminal justice major. I’m the incoming editor-in-chief of The Shield at USI, and an intern at the Evansville Courier & Press.

You are an underclassmen and yet have already participated in two advanced journalism programs. Why did you seek those opportunities?

I never really thought twice about applying for those opportunities the second I heard about them. At times, when you’re just attending classes at your school and taking local opportunities, you feel a little stuck. I’m a dreamer and envision myself traveling the world. These opportunities seemed like the perfect blend of getting valuable experience and also satisfying a little bit of my thirst for adventure. From both experiences, I’ve been blessed to meet professional journalists who are willing to vouch for me when I apply for other opportunities, and that’s priceless. I’ve made amazing connections I couldn’t have made otherwise.

What is your biggest takeaway from the AAJA VOICES program?

VOICES gave me the confidence I needed to cover really important stories. I’m fascinated by criminal justice, but until that point, I hadn’t covered much beyond the crime that happens on our campus. One of my projects for VOICES was a story about the Las Vegas Metro Police Department and their progress with body-worn cameras. To be honest, I got really scared for a second, because that was the first time I really felt like I was covering something that reached beyond our campus. With the help of my mentor, I was able to build up the confidence to write about a police department across the country from my hometown and talk to key figures about a pretty important issue today. As only a freshman, I had felt I didn’t have the capacity to be covering things like that. With VOICES help, I proved myself wrong.

Also, I interviewed a guy who was wearing nothing but a diaper, bib and bonnet for a video of Fremont Street performers. He calls himself the Lost Baby in Las Vegas. That’s something I’ll never forget.

What was your greatest learning experience from the Discover Your Drive Diversity Journalism Program?

Discover Your Drive was all about teamwork. With the help of some pretty awesome students and mentors, I helped produce a video on the top technologies that came out of the North American International Auto Show. I found myself focusing on things I don’t necessarily always gravitate towards, like photography and video editing. It pushed me out of my comfort zone (especially since I am the farthest thing from a car fanatic) and taught me to adapt. We were all really, really pleased with the result, which was published in Inc. Magazine.

Why do you think it’s so important for college journalists to be learning about diversity?

It’s crucial for college journalists and really just plain journalists to learn about diversity, simply because there is such a lack of it in our profession. Sometimes it’s incredibly difficult to be the only minority in your newsroom. There needs to be active effort to increase the range of viewpoints you have at news sources. Through these two very diversity-focused programs I’ve been in, I’ve realized how valuable it is to have individuals from so many different backgrounds working together on projects. Without diversity in newsrooms, critical stories about the American demographic could be missed simply because there isn’t anyone with the eye to catch it.

What advice would you give a student who is trying to get involved in programs like you have?

Apply for as many of these opportunities as you can. AAJA Voices, despite being the Asian American Journalists Association, is not confined to just Asian Americans or minorities. Most of these diversity programs (if not all of them) welcome any demographic who applies. It never hurts you to send in an application, and I wouldn’t trade the skills I’ve learned from them and the connections I’ve made for the world.

Also, don’t think that just because you’re an underclassman or haven’t had much professional experience they won’t pick you. My only experience when I applied for VOICES was at my school newspaper and school radio station.

What is your career goal?

I started out college thinking I was set on being a reporter either on the cops or courts sort of beat, but I think my tastes have expanded. I think now I’d like to be a versatile, multimedia reporter at a newspaper/news source covering lots of different things throughout my career. I picked journalism because it’s a career in which you never stop learning, and there’s always new things around every corner. With the competitive nature of the field, I probably need to be open to trying a lot of different things.

Dan Reimold, the founder of CMM, loved to ask people to write their memoirs in six words. What would yours be?

“She wrote because there was hope.”

The Campus Ledger cuts prints

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Just in time for its 40th birthday, The Campus Ledger at Johnson County Community College in Kansas is going under the knife – it’s cutting print.

When the paper returns in the fall, it won’t be paper, but it will be a new challenge for the students and staff involved.

Nell Gross, editor in chief, said the switch will probably make her life easier and will serve the readers better.

“It’s been difficult to split up my time between print and digital,” she said. “It’s a lot of work for such a small staff to do. And this is how most people our age get their news. How they are most likely to see it.”

Corbin Crable, the paper’s adviser, said he agrees.

“As a student publication, we must adapt to the ever-changing needs and demands of our audience,” he said. “Our research has shown that both our social media activity and web hits have increased in recent years, while print readership and advertising revenue continues to slowly decline.”

Crable said the transition has been in the works for three years, and has benefitted from converging with the radio and video groups on campus.

“We operate in a converged newsroom alongside our counterparts at the campus Internet radio station and the student-run video production outlet,” he said. “So even if a reporter couldn’t post a full article each day, or a photog couldn’t post a photo or gallery each day, we would at least help cross-promote our other media outlets by posting podcasts, video news packages, or full multimedia packages.”

Tips from Johnson County Community College

  1. This is certainly not a decision to be made hastily. Research other collegiate publications that have made the same move to become an exclusively online media outlet.
  2. Network with student editors and advisers who have made the leap and learn from them what worked and what didn’t.
  3. Survey your campus community to get a sense of what they truly want to see in your website and social media presence.

  4. Find out where your students live. If most live off campus or telecommute, a print edition might not be a good fit.
  5. Work with your existing and incoming staff members to carefully craft the changes in employee roles, schedules and workflow.
  6. Above all else, be patient as all involved get used to this new operation.

  7. Acknowledge and embrace the reality that mistakes will be made and that the transition won’t be flawless, but be proud of the fact that, in most cases, you’re operating in the best interests of your campus community and its media consumers.

April Fools’ Day editions

Ahhhh, the April Fools’ Day edition. Some media outlets avoid the concept altogether, some go all in and some carefully label each piece of satire. But sometimes these things are just fun (when done right). Here is a sample of what your college media companions were up to this week.

North Dakota State University: Normally the Spectrum, but this week The Rectum

Pepperdine University: Where the Graphic becomes the Grunion (think Graphic and Onion)

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Colorado State University: The Rocky Mountain Collegian reported on what it called a “unique story”:

SUNY Buffalo State: The Record produced such a great joke, University of Buffalo students believed it.

Rice University: The Rice Thresher normally, but this special edition is the Trasher

Piedmont College:

Capital University: Usually The Chimes, but they are The Funion around April 1.

Missouri Western State University: The Griffon News Network pokes for at their adviser, Bob Bergland, for warning against April Fools’ Day pranks.

UC San Diego launches news outlet

A lot of college media folks are talking about the latest trends – reducing or dropping print, focusing on digital first content, finding new revenue streams, keeping up with technology. We’ve heard about these trends so much, we might be tired of them.

But we can get excited about something The Triton at the University of California, San Diego is doing. Starting a news outlet from scratch and celebrating its success. That’s a trend many of us could probably get behind.

Gabe Schneider, founder and current editor in chief, said he wanted to start The Triton because he didn’t feel the student newspaper, The Guardian, was covering hard news and student opinion.

UCSD Triton

Editor in chief Gabe Schneider and managing editor Aleena Karamally Photo credit: Courtesy of Gabe Schneider

“They weren’t covering campus issues and protests,” he said. “We thought it would be important to expand coverage and not just news.”

Incoming editor in chief Jaz Twersky said she agrees.

“The Guardian is funded directly by the university and is an older institution and is still more PR in focus,” Twersky said. “We were in need of an independent news on campus to do investigative work.”

Jaz Twersky EIC.jpg

Managing editor Aleena Karamally said she agrees on the importance of founding an independent outlet, but also stressed the importance of the digital approach.

“The Triton is a digital source of news and does not print,” Karamally said. “We find digital media to be much more accessible and convenient for our audience.”

Additionally Schneider said UC-San Diego doesn’t focus on student journalism as much as other schools in the UC system.

“When you look at the other UCs, the missing puzzle piece is we aren’t known for student journalism,” Schneider said. “We are known for the Koala. But [UCSD] has a rich history. Conservative, and liberal papers and minority focused papers. Everything.”

The Koala, known for humor and doing whatever they want, created such a controversy on campus in 2016 that the administration officially denounced them and the Associated Students council decided to defund all student publications. There was then a lawsuit filed by the ACLU.

But not only didn’t that negatively impact The Triton (they’ve always been independent), it might have helped their cause.

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“It got students talking and evaluating media on campus,” he said. “The defunding acted as a catalyst for us to keep pursuing independent student journalism.”

Twersky said the defunding reiterated the importance of being completely independent, and Karamally said it sent a message about how the campus feels about student-produced media.

“Defunding print media without concern for the future of student publications seemed to express our administration and student government’s lack of value for student press on campus,” Karamally said.

Being completely independent seems to have helped The Triton. In the short time it has been around, the staff has grown to around 50 members, website hits are around 5,000 a day and the staff is planning to put together an advisory board.

“Folks just want to get involved,” Schneider said.

Karamally said the quality of the Triton content has helped with recruitment.

staff photo.jpg

“Our staff has been drawn to this publication because of the content and results we produce,” she said. “It is the drive and initiative of our staff that has kept this publication not only running but constantly improving and progressing.”

Twersky, who is currently opinions editor, agrees that content helps recruit, but she still actively seeks out diverse voices.

“We’ve reached out pretty actively when they seem like they’d be a good fit for the paper,’ she said. “My team is a mix of people who reach out to me and who I’ve reached out to.”

Twersky said that while recruitment is going well, turnover, that at all college media, is constant, so an advisory board is important.

“[An advisory board] could serve as a steadying and grounding influence,” she said. “By helping us do our work in an informed way and help us maintain best practices, they could be helpful.”

Schneider said he agrees and hopes a council will be a great support system.

“An advisory board will hopefully help anchor us,” he said. “[We are] hoping that they’ll advocate for us. Students are tuned in, we’re not sure administration or faculty are. We’d like to see stronger involvement all around.”

Schneider said he hopes to see The Triton thrive in the next few years.

“I’d like to see us have a permanent space on campus,” he said. “Non profit status. 150 staffers. As we increase students on campus, there’s a bigger need to tell students what is going on.”

Twersky and Karamally want those things and more.

“I hope there is a journalism minor at UCSD,” Twersky said. “And that it’ll work with us.”

Karamally hopes The Triton will offer “panel discussions, workshops, and connections to internships for students.”

Students fighting cuts to yearbook


When the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors decided to cut funding for Nicholls State University La Pirogue yearbook, they got more than perhaps they bargained for. They got Hollyn Millet.

Hollyn, a sophomore birth to 5th grade education major, has been serving as editor in chief of the 69-year-old yearbook and leading the charge to save the publication.

“[We] are pretty worked up, pretty passionate,” she said.

The board of supervisors decided Feb. 23 to eliminate the $10 yearbook fee students at Nicholls pay for the 352 page yearbook. But students at Nicholls don’t get to keep that $10. Nope, it’ll be split up into two $5 fees for Student Success and QEP programs. Even though it’s unsure exactly what those programs will use the fees for.

Not only does Hollyn not understand why the yearbook has to be sacrificed for the two additional fees, she said students didn’t have any input in the matter.

“The La Pirogue students [had] no input into the discussion to discontinue the fee,” Hollyn said. “Nor did the student body, who pay the fee.”

According to a story in the Nicholls Worth newspaper (fun name, right?), the administration claims student interest in yearbooks has waned and technological advances have negatively impacted the book.

Hollyn disagrees.

According to another story, there’s $498,807.87 in the La Pirogue account as of Feb. 22. Enough to publish the book for years to come without the help of the fee. But it sounds like the administration wants that money, too. Though they haven’t said for what yet. Hollyn hopes the yearbook can keep some of it.

“I really, really hope that they would let us keep a little bit of the money,” she said. “This is Nicholls history.”

But don’t imagine that Hollyn and her staff are taking this lying down. To begin with, they are focused on producing a really great 2017 book.

“We are going above and beyond to produce it and have it out on time,” she said. “[Our theme is] ‘Oh the places we’ve been,’ and it’s highlighting past [coverage and contributions] made by the yearbook. We mean it to make the administration know this [book] does matter.”

She said the staff is united in making their voices heard.

“All my staff is very passionate about the yearbook,” Hollyn said. “They feel the same way. They [are] pretty worked up. They [do] everything.”

That everything includes attending every meeting they can, signing the petition to save the book and bringing awareness to the situation.

And it’s not just her staff that cares. The student government passed a resolution asking the administration to give the money to student publications. And other students are just as concerned.

“Students have been posting and expressing their concerns and feelings about the decision,” Hollyn said.

And they are concerned, she said.

“If [the administration] did this behind closed doors, what is next? Students are worried.”

Additionally, she’s working with alumni to develop an awareness campaign.

But if the yearbook really does go away, Hollyn won’t.

“I will still work with KNSU (radio) or The Nicholls Worth,” she said. “Student media is my home away from home. The first time I walked in the stud publications office, I knew I was meant to be here.”

Hollyn said she is still unsure what will happen in the long run. But in the meantime, she said others can help.

“Share our stories, like us on Facebook,” Hollyn said. “Cause more of an uprise. It’s not just Nicholls. It’s the community, the state. And yearbooks in general.”

You can sign their petition here.

San Francisco State University launches The Fake News Watch

Kaylee Fagan spent years putting off the newspaper class required of her at San Francisco State University. She knew she wanted to do something different that didn’t fit with the traditional print product, so she was hesitant to take a class that required her to work at the student newspaper.


When she finally signed up for the course in her third year, she decided to pitch one of her different ideas: a weekly video series that focused on what was being called fake news, exploring its origins and proliferation.

“I’d heard somewhere in my time in university,” Fagan said, “that you should do the work in college that you want to be paid to do after college. So that stuck with me.”

Fagan pitched her idea for The Fake News Watch and was thrilled when the idea was accepted.

“I knew I had multiple ideas for things I wanted to make that weren’t going to be news copy,” she said. “I embraced it and pitched this idea. And I got approved to pursue it. It was really exciting.”

The Golden Gate Xpress video series is still new, but Fagan said she believes this topic is very important right now.

“I took the election and the results very personally,” she said. “I felt like what we do in journalism school and what my professors do was at stake. This pursuit of accuracy and getting it right was in danger and threatened. [This is] my own form of resistance.”

While the thoroughly researched show offers much for all audiences, Fagan said students are her primary audience.

“Our main focus is with a younger audience in mind,” she said. “Younger college students who are interested in being media literate. [People who want to learn] how to look critically at the country and their own communities.”

Her lofty goal, to teach students to be more media literate, can affect what kind of media survives these times, she said.

“If [viewers] take anything away from the show, [I hope] it is to be more aware of the media you consume,” Fagan said. “Our individual media consumption is very much vital to what kind of media survives and what media makes good journalism.”

As a student, Fagan said she has had to devote much time to this project on top of classes and a part time job. She said she routinely spends 16-18 hours a week on the video series. She said she also feels she has to please a lot more people than her professional counterparts.

“We are attempting to please a lot of people,” Fagan said. “I know that happens in the professional world, too. We have a unique experience as students with multiple advisers and the department who all have different expectations of us. We are being pulled in a lot of different directions.”

Recently Fagan was asked to speak at the ACP Midwinter Convention about her new project. She said she told students they “shouldn’t be afraid to push the boundaries of what they think student journalism looks like.”

“This was an entirely new format for Xpress,” Fagan said.“It was scary and [we didn’t have a] lot of guidance. [We were] hoping that what we made was something people would watch. I’m so proud that we took that chance and made that leap into the unknown.”

While The Fake News Watch has been educational to viewers, Fagan said she has also learned from the project.

“I have the tendency to not want to start a project if I don’t think I can get it right on the first try,” she said. “This demonstrated how silly and unproductive that is. Pitch the initial idea and start something even if it’s not perfect on the first try.”

Fagan also said she thinks journalism is at a crossroads right now.

“As far as fake news is concerned,” she said. “Fake news comes from so many different places and facets that it’ll either destroy journalism or revitalize it. Journalism, as an industry, needs to regain an understanding of our own place in the landscape and [the fake news myth] has propelled us back into the competition.”