Student journalist captures video, speaks his mind

As the Huffington Post is reporting, high school students in Parkland, Fla., are speaking their minds pretty freely about gun control. Whether on Twitter or on camera, they have been poised, well-spoken and passionate.


PARKLAND, FL – FEBRUARY 15: Students Kelsey Friend (L) and David Hogg recount their stories about yesterday’s mass shooting at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where 17 people were killed, on February 15, 2018 in Parkland, Florida. Police arrested the suspect after a short manhunt, and have identified him as 19 year old former student Nikolas Cruz. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images) Photo credit: MARK WILSON VIA GETTY IMAGES

One student is David Hogg, a journalist at the high school. This is what he told the BBC.

I figured, if I died, at least this would be passed on to other people, so these voices would echo on,” he told the BBC.

Not sure what 17-year-old David plans to do after graduation, but he would be an asset to any college media program.

Another student media connection is the story of Melissa Falkowski, the yearbook adviser at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. According to CNN and multiple other reports, she managed to hid 19 students in a closet with her.


1 Million Story Ideas & Writing Prompts for Student Journalists [Updated Regularly]

Over the past decade, digital tools and mobile platforms have rocketed journalism to a universe of innovation, interactivity and immediacy once unimaginable. Yet, without stellar content, journalism 2.0 is not worth the effort to read, watch, click on, scroll through, contribute to or connect with. Everything journalism was, is and will be rests on our ability to tell a story. And every story starts with an idea.

So let’s brainstorm. To help get you started, below is a quick-hit, unending, hopefully indispensable, fun, fun, fun digital story ideas fountain. It is aimed at inspiring student journalists to localize, adapt and reinvent a range of stories — quirky and mainstream, text-based and visual, interactive and investigatory. Many ideas come from your student press peers. Others originate with the professional press. And still others are pulled from independent journalists, viral videos and social media mavericks that catch my eye. Read More

College media tackles love and presents this Valentine’s Day

In a beautiful project, The Daily Pennsylvanian partnered with other organizations, (34th Street Magazine and Under the Button) to put together The Love Issue. This ambitious project covers features, submitted arts and literary pieces and even some humor. Two hearts

In one of my very favorite pieces, The State News did a feature on couples who found love in the newsroom. And who hasn’t at least considered dating someone from the newsroom.

Finding love is definitely the theme of the day and The Occidental at Occidental College covered students who found partners on campus.

The College Heights Herald even provided Valentines for students to share.

The Berkeley Beacon gave us a playlist to make it through the day.

The Daily Orange created a handy guide to celebrating Valentine’s Day at Syracuse University, including two different reviews of new release “50 Shades Freed.”

Over in Chapel Hill, The Daily Tar Heel focused on couples who work together on campus, specifically in the biology department.

The Prospector at University of Texas-El Paso offered a guide for Valentine’s Day procrastinators. While many items are V-Day staples, succulents was a nice addition to the usual favorites.

The O’Colly offered a Valentine’s Day movie guide.

Kenyon Collegian covers itself after story goes viral

When Emily Birnbaum started covering the story of a controversial play set to be staged at Kenyon College, she thought the story might gain some additional traction. How right she was.

The play’s script, written by a faculty member, was shared and the backlash was immediate and intense. So intense the playwright canceled the production. Emily covered the story for the Kenyon Collegian, and predicted some backlash from conservatives.

“We are college journalists,” Emily, a senior majoring in sociology, said. “We are hyper aware of the conservative media, [that many of them believe in] the idea that political correctness has run amok on college campuses. We know what grinds the gears of right-wing media.”

The Kenyon Collegian staff

The Kenyon Collegian staff

The play about white college students who discover an undocumented worker was meant to be satirical, but many found the depiction of the worker as insensitive and harmful.

What Emily couldn’t have expected was for this story to be conflated with a story written about a new group on campus intending to discuss whiteness. She said the group was started before the play controversy and is “essentially for white people who want to figure out what it means to be white, and how to be allies to people of color.”

The Weekly Standard picked up the two stories and discussed them in the same piece, and the writer, a Kenyon alum, highlighted an interesting rule which further conflated the two stories.

“[The stories] were picked up along side, reported in conjunction with each other, which was the most upsetting part,” Emily said. “They were not at all related. I resent the fact that they’ve been conflated.”

The story has been included on The College Fix, Breitbart and The Drudge Report. The attention didn’t really bother Emily as much as the factual inaccuracies in the pieces, but the staff didn’t want to stoke the fire too much. She said they tweeted at the pieces authors and asked them to fix the inaccuracies, and most did. She even posted her own Twitter thread to clear up the confusion.

“Twitter has been the main way to get through to people,” Emily said. “It’s amazing how accessible people are if you put their handle in [a tweet]. [We kept] reporting and saying what’s true in a way the reporters of these stories [would] see them. That was important.”

She said Twitter also allowed the staff to connect with their supporters.

“I think that Twitter really did get to people,” she said. “People really cared. All the alumni retweeted. Folks reached out to me and said they appreciated the working we were doing. Given all the backlah, there is a lot of support from people I don’t even know.”

The support wasn’t just from alumni or Twitter. The president of the university wrote an op-ed in the Kenyon Thrill about his experience with the controversy.

Emily said it’s easier to go viral now and if you do, you have to have faith in those writing about you will want to be professional and accurate; even if their mission is different.

“Keep doubling down on what’s true and what’s accurate and emailing the reporters,” she said. “ Keep going to Twitter. Commenting on the articles. You can’t say someone shouldn’t write something. But you can say they shouldn’t write something that isn’t true.”

The Crusader changes its name…but not for the reasons people may think

Change can be tough, but changing the name of a college media outlet can be truly brutal. The entire campus, faculty, staff and students, has an opinion. But so do alumni and former campus workers, and sometimes people who have no real connection to your school.

Crusader mastheads.png

Crusader headers through the years

But that didn’t stop the staff of the student newspaper at the College of the Holy Cross from tackling the decision to change the name of the paper from The Crusader to The Spire.


Spire Masthead Samples-3.jpg

The new masthead of the first-ever The Spire

As the editors in chief outline so beautifully in twin editorials, James Gallagher, Jack Godar and the staff have been investigating the possibility for more than a year. As James writes in his piece, the conversation “was prompted by a letter, signed by nearly fifty faculty members, which was submitted to the managing editors of The Crusader one year ago. It argued that, given the rising tide of xenophobia in the American political sphere and the fact that The Crusader shared a name with a KKK-sponsored newspaper, perhaps a name change should be considered.”

The student staff started discussing the issue, but wanted to bring in more voices, and that process took up more than a year.

“We wanted [any possible new name to] to convey respect for tradition, but highlight something better about ourselves,” James said. “We wanted to be democratic. [We encouraged] pieces in the paper, public discussion. We are proud at how long it took. We feel we brought in all the perspectives.”


James Gallagher

This means that the group that made the decision is not the same group that heard the first suggestion. But this group stands by the decision.

“[It might] not seem controversial outside the Holy Cross bubble,” James said, “But inside it is controversial. We hear lots of angry reactions.”

That didn’t surprise him though. What did was the reaction of people outside the Holy Cross community.

“[I was surprised] how others outside the Holy Cross community were willing to turn it into culture clash,” James said. “I was also surprised by how people who obviously don’t read things, but have really in depth opinions about [them].”

He said this was obvious by how many people accused the staff of changing the name because the paper shared a name with a KKK publication, even though the editorial explicitly states they did not.

To complicate matters, the College of Holy Cross was also considering renaming their mascot, The Crusader, at the same time. But James said the paper made the decision to change the name a month ago and announced it in coordination with their first print publication. Days ahead of the university’s announcement that the mascot would not be changed.

“No matter what we say, people will say we were trying to influence the decision,” James said. The people in [the newsroom] have the right to make this kind of decision. We made the decision about a month before we announced.”

He said the paper did let the school know about their decision and that the staff “didn’t want it to be seen as reactionary, not a response.” It was their decision based on their own research and input collecting.

He said the best thing for media outlets who might be considering a name change to do is take their time.

“People will respond the way they are going to no matter how graceful your editorial is,” James said. “The process being as long as it was benefited us because we could hold discussions, we published a lot of opinions from students. We didn’t want to seem like one day we decided we don’t like this [name] anymore and changed it. Engage in a long and well thought out process.”

The Daily Egyptian breaks major news the hard way

Last week the Daily Egyptian at Southern Illinois University posted a fascinating story about the university chancellor finding jobs for his daughter and son-in-law at the university, all while proposing cuts to many departments.

The excellent reporting and remarkable story made waves through the college media world. It seemed remarkable that Chancellor Carlo Montemagno would exhibit such nepotism, but even more remarkably, it doesn’t seem to be the first time.


While the daughter and her husband don’t report directly to the president, they were named to jobs they previously hadn’t applied for, according to the story. Montemagno claimed the positions were part of his job negotiations.

Now two ethics inquiries are underway, all thanks to the student newspaper.

Kentucky Kernel asks ‘How Many More’

With the national conversation focused on sexual assault and harassment, college communities are discussing not only the cases they know about, but also the ones they don’t and the ones that will still inevitably happen.

That’s exactly what strikes Paidin Dermody at The Kentucky Kernel. That this story isn’t going anywhere, so she and the paper asked How Many More? In an unusual move, the editorial ran on the front page and tied all these horrible stories into the secrecy surrounding them on college campuses.


Paidin, a junior majoring in journalism and English, and others on the Kernel staff started forming the idea for the piece as the Larry Nassar sentencing was being covered.

“We just thought that it was about time someone, even a small college newspaper in Kentucky, voiced what everyone in this country needs to hear,” Paidin said. “It’s all been in the news, we hear it on a daily basis. Who is going to be the next victim, what industry will be highlighted next?”

She said she was struck by the impact journalists were having on telling these stories.

“Through our research and experience we saw how journalists in several instances have been the people who are bringing these crimes of sexual assault to light,” Paidin said. “Without reporters doing their jobs, several offenders would have gone unnoticed and continued to sexually abuse innocent lives.”

While these stories can be hard to tell, to report on and to read, she thinks they are important in helping to reduce sexual violence.

“It’s our jobs as journalists to expose the truth,” she said. “The truth can hurt, but it can also heal. We don’t want to keep hearing about the next victim of sexual assault and the next one after that, but that is the reality that we live in. But actively reporting on these crimes and getting others to speak out will start the process of no longer being complicit, and that was our main message.”

Obviously Paidin and her staff are passionate about ending sexual assault on their campus, as are many college journalists. Paidin said college journalists are seen more as advocates sometimes and that’s OK.


Paidin Dermody, editor of the Kentucky Kernel at the University of Kentucky on 4/11/17, in Lexington, Ky.

“[W]e mostly live on our campuses and sexual assault is very present on our campuses,” she said. “It is something that we don’t get away from, especially as a media source. It’s our job to report on what goes on in and around our campus and unfortunately that includes several instances of sexual assault crimes, whether it happen in a dorm room or at a party or anywhere.”

She said college journalists are connected to their audience through age, proximity and similar experiences.

“Even though we are working for a media source, we are students, too,” Paidin said. “We are the same age as the victims on our campuses. It is not far removed from us. We are not just reporting on it. We are living it with every other student on our campus and it’s our job to keep each other safe, whether that be in the form of writing a story to bring the reality of sexual assault to the forefront of our conversations, standing up for a friend, or speaking out when we see something that isn’t right. It’s not just our job as journalists, it’s our job as people.”

She said she believes journalists can be advocates for social change while still striving to be fair and objective.

“Tell the truth, present the facts of the situation, do your research, and get it right. Let the facts argue for change,” Paidin said. “In this case, we laid out Nassar’s crimes and other cases of sexual assault in other industries and on other campuses, including our own. We showed the numbers and let them speak for themselves. Too many, how many more? There comes a time when you need to take a stance on a subject like sexual assault, and as journalists we can use our voice for good. Collectively, as a Kernel staff, that was our truth on what we made of the facts and the research and how it made us feel and what needed to be done about it.”

She said the reaction on campus has been good and personal.

“I’ve had someone who has a history of being sexually abused come up to me and say that they admire the work that the Kernel has done, especially with this front page editorial,” she said. “They said that we may not be the biggest paper out there, but more people need to be writing stories like the one we did because it does help and hopefully it will help others from being silenced and offenders from going without punishment.”

The Kentucky Kernel has a long history of being brave and trying to tell the truth. In fact the University of Kentucky is suing the student media outlet in an effort to keep some sexual assault files sealed. But that obviously hasn’t deterred the student staff.

“We believe wholeheartedly that what we are fighting for is the right fight,” Paidin said. “If we don’t do it, how many more people in positions of power over innocent lives will abuse their authority and slip away unpunished. It’s just the humane thing to do, keep fighting for what is right. Our entire staff believes that and we have the backing of so many people nationwide to keep us motivated.”

She also said that the responsibility to prevent sexual assault lies with everyone.

“No one should be complicit when it comes to a crime like this,” Paidin said. “If you see something, you should say something, and doing so could save a life or many lives from being changed forever.

The Daily Collegian defends their coverage of a couple who found love at Penn State

The Daily Collegian at Penn State University has gotten used to covering controversy. We’ve all heard of the Sandusky story, and the conflicted legacy of former football coach Joe Paterno.

But this month,they covered something the staff considered normal: they covered a couple who had met at Penn State; the couple just happened to be gay. The staff didn’t anticipate any controversy, but they got some. A prominent conservative lawyer tweeted about the piece, and his followers responded with some pretty strong reactions. Strong enough that Matt Martell, the opinions editor, felt the need to explain just why pieces like this are important.


Matt Martell

While Matt, a senior majoring in digital and print journalism, wasn’t a huge part of the initial story planning, from what he heard in budget meetings, he considered the story a routine feature.

“We tell stories of people meeting at Penn State all the time,” he said. “A football player proposed at homecoming, and we covered that. We thought this shouldn’t be any different. It’s just about a couple who found love on Penn State’s campus. We didn’t think there’d be backlash.”

A fellow staffer, who is a member of the LGBTQ community, saw the tweet from the conservative lawyer and the responses he was getting. The staffer shared her desire to issue some kind of response and Matt agreed.

“It was disgusting some of the stuff [people were saying],” he said. “One commenter said he feels bad for hotel workers who have to clean up a hotel room after a ‘night of gay frollicing.’ And I thought how ignorant and insensitive. What’s different? You’re not comfortable with their story. If it was a straight couple, it would have been nothing.”

So Matt responded to the backlash with a pretty passionate editorial.

“[I felt the need to respond] because the conversation of being gay and accepting people for who they are still isn’t where it needs to be,” he said.

According to Matt, journalism has two purposes.

“One is to report the news,” he said. “To be this neutral party in the constant back and forth between the polarization in our society. And two: to be the voice for people who don’t always have one.”

He said the horrible backlash to what the staff viewed as a routine story showed why these stories need to be told.

“The backlash confirmed our decision to post it,” Matt said. “Why we need to hear these stories. Stories that make people uncomfortable are why we need to keep telling them.”

He likened it to listening to a song you just don’t like.

“After [listening to it] 30 times you A: tune it out or B: you understand why people like it or you can finally listen to it without being angry.”

The Daily Collegian is used to facing backlash from angry readers. When you are a student newspaper covering Sandusky and Paterno, that’s bound to happen. Matt said the reactions that bother him the most are from people who call anything they don’t want to hear “Fake News.”

“No matter what you say there are some people don’t want to hear it,” he said. “Those kinds of things are dangerous. When people call and say it’s fake news, when it’s actually been proven, [that’s just wrong].”

Matt said he and the Daily Collegian are committed to telling the important stories.

“We can’t make homophobes accept [homosexuality],” he said. “But we can try to keep them from hurting people with their views. We believe there is truth. We are truth seekers, and want to tell the truth that there is nothing wrong with being gay.”


The State News at Michigan State covers Nassar story

It’s the story that has spread throughout the country. More than 150 women gave statements in the sentencing of ex-MSU and USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar. The defendant claimed listening to the statements was cruel; the judge made a name for herself by sticking by the victims and not just ignoring Nassar’s claims, but almost mocking them.

Finally, after years, the story is being covered pretty much everywhere, with a special Outside the Lines airing this week. While the national attention is shining a light on abuse and how it is allowed to thrive, The State News, the college media outlet at Michigan State, has been following the story much longer and much more in depth. That shouldn’t be forgotten while the national spotlight is shining.

Not only are they covering the news stories (the president resigning, the athletic director “retiring”), they are covering the support the campus has been showing to the survivors and the unusual relationship the president’s husband had to campus.


Students in the IZZONE throw up newspapers before the men's basketball game against Wisconsin on Jan. 26, 2018 at Breslin Center. (Nic Antaya | The State News)

The State News also covered every day of the sentencing with multimedia pieces, and they were strong when asking the president to resign, days before she did.

The national media is covering the highlights, but it’s The State News who have been covering how this scandal has affected their campus, not just their administration and athletics. And it’s The State News who will be covering the affects of this tragedy for years to come, even when the national spotlight has dimmed.

So when stories like this are breaking, consider looking for the coverage by the campus student media. It’s often just as good, or in the case of The State News, even better.

Two more college newspapers drop to once a week

At least three times a year we hear about another college newspaper reducing its print frequency. This semester the College Heights Herald and The George-Anne have become weekly newspapers with a greater focus on their digital products. Editors at both papers said while the timing of the decision was largely financial, the end result will be better and more timely coverage.

While both media outlets are facing declining print revenue, other factors played into the decisions. The College Heights Herald at Western Kentucky University discussed their decision in this column, but the gist is the university cut their reserve fund in half at the same time that print revenue was declining. The money in that fund had been carefully saved for years from self-generated revenue, and for years the paper had been able to keep that money.

College Heights Herald

WKU Herald photo editor Mhari Shaw, (left to right), Brook Joyner, Asst. Picture Editor, Shaban Athuman, Asst. Digital Editor, Craig Ostertag, Design editor, Sam Flick, Designer, and Lashana Harney Managing Editor, all look over the cover of the WKU Herald on the first production night of Fall 2017, August 21th, 2017.

But due to a tough budget year at the university and some leadership changes, that reserve was dipped into and the College Heights Herald has no assurances it won’t happen again. So they made the unusual decision to drop to once a week mid-academic year.

“There is no promise that our account is exempted if this were to happen again,” Andrew Henderson, editor in chief, said. “This is a pre-emptive move to get ahead of it before we are forced to.”

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The George-Anne

The George-Anne at Georgia Southern University was also facing a decline in print revenue coupled with a small, local market. But the university is also consolidating with Armstrong State University, so the timing seemed perfect.

“It was a hard decision to make especially in the middle of the school year,” Jozsef Papp, editor in chief, said. “Would have been helpful to do it in the summer, but we have a great team, so we are going to be fine.”

Both editors have said that the change has been largely supported by their campuses and alumni.

“Response from alumni has been positive,” Henderson said. “They’ve been understanding and supportive. It’s not a surprise to anyone.”

Papp says just the delivery has changed, but not the paper’s main goal.

“If your work is good, people are going to read it,” Papp said. “That’s our job. To inform the people.”

Henderson said to prepare for the switch he reached out to schools who had also seen a reduction in print.

“We reached out to the OU Daily [at the University of Oklahoma],” Henderson said. “We talked with editors who have made the shift. They talked about how it’s not just a change on the technical level but a cultural one too.”

Papp agreed that talking with other editors was helpful to the Georgia Southern crew, too.

“There are people out there who can help you with this,” Papp said. “We were lucky to go to conference and meet editors who have gone through the same thing. College media is a great community. Always people willing to help you out.”

Both editors said that to prepare for a such a switch, it’s important to do your research but to also be brave.

“Don’t be afraid,” Papp said. “That was my main concern. When the time for a switch comes, you have to do it. Journalism is moving online. Have an open mind. I was a little taken back and concerned, but take your time to go through it and make changes. Learn how to improve your publication.”

Henderson stressed taking as much time as you can to plan the transition

“If considering a change, I’d want [others] to slowly implement it,” Henderson said. “Take a semester and make a plan. Really consider a lot of things you are going to do beforehand.”


Guilt-free MLK ad riles up Thresher readers

Guilt-free MLK ad riles up Rice Thresher readers

A satirical ad on the Backpage of the Jan. 10 Rice (University) Thresher in Houston caused a flurry of publicity and tweets encouraging violence again Thresher staff, demanding parents remove their children’s college funds from the university, and accusing the newspaper of racism.

The ad read: Hey, there, white people! We know. You have a day off to celebrate someone who managed to beat your system. Don’t despair – for the low price of eternal shame you can spend these 24 hours doing something productive like beating off into a sock and wondering whatever happened to your 8th grade girlfriend. You’re disgusting.

Backpage.pngIn reply to the University’s response to the ad, Sandy Sutton tweeted: “So this is acceptable writing? We notice you didn’t Change the whole staff at the paper. No more donations from my entire family.”

In contrast Estevan Delgado retorted that “As a Rice Alum (and a POC) – god forbid we tempt people to ponder the past. I’ve seen worse back pages. What side of history are you on?”

The University responded to the ad by suggesting readers forward comments to

“The student-run Rice Thresher has a history of satire on its backpage. Rice does not manage the content but is disappointed w/this offensive attempt at satire, which is contrary to our values. We support a free press, even if we don’t agree. Comments can go to,” the University tweeted.

Publication of the ad was covered by Fox News, College Fix, Inside Higher Ed and Nation One. Adviser Kelley Lash said her students were “super chill” about the incident in spite of the threats aimed at the editors.

In its Jan. 12 response to the backlash from the ad the newspaper’s editorial board described the Backpage as “consisting of advertisements that poke fun at different events going on at Rice and in the world at large.” The purpose of the ad, the editorial stated, was to encourage students to reflect on the meaning of the holiday rather than use it simply as another vacation day without classes.

“The reference to masturbation, of course, is crude, as much of the Backpage’s humor has been in its several decades of existence,” the editorial said.

Much of the hostility towards the ad seemed to focus not so much on the masturbation reference but in what appeared to be the newspaper calling white people disgusting. Twenty-nine percent of the student population at Rice University is white.

The editorial staff argued that the “you’re disgusting” statement referred to white people beating off into a sock not to white people in general.

“Which we realize may have been unclear,” the staff editorial stated.

The ad gave the staff the opportunity to address the fact that while progress has been made since 1963 that “we still live in a system designed to favor white people at the expense of others.” Racism exists in the context of generations of oppression and slavery suffered by one population at the hands of another, the editorial said. The ad’s satirical reference to white behavior does not compare, in the staff’s opinion, to that tradition.

“We do not ask the university to stand with our editorial content on every occasion, but we are disheartened that Rice’s administration finds a part of a Backpage intended to target issues of institutional racism and general apathy to be “contrary to the values of the university,” the editorial said. Read the entire editorial response here.

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.