The Cracks in College Media 2.0

In a new MediaShift post, Center for Innovation in College Media Director Bryan Murley writes that student newspaper Web sites have made leaps and bounds from their “little more than shovelware” days that were even as recent as three years ago. 


It’s a thoughtful piece, reflecting on the proactive journalistic push and general happenstances that have led new media to be tackled and tamed by many student papers.  In the happenstance category, Murley notes that at times a breaking news event has triggered a reporting plan that has laid the groundwork for continued online success, such as the historic Collegiate Times Web coverage of the 2007 school shootings at Virginia Tech and The Arbiter‘s newmediatastic reporting on Boise State football’s 2006 Fiesta Bowl triumph.


A screenshot of today's Collegiate Times at Virginia Tech.
A screenshot of today’s Collegiate Times at Virginia Tech.


For me, however, the most attention-grabbing aside of the post was the plight of the others that Bryan mentioned, the college media have-nots, the analogs in a digital world, specifically the more than one-third of U.S. college newspapers still lacking a Web presence (or those whose online identities I’ve found to be nothing more than prehistoric shovelware, with a page of PDF links to archived print issues).


Bryan talks in the piece about the cultural and journalistic hurdles that have stood in the way of new media’s seizure of a prominent stake in the student press pantheon and we talked recently about the continued print-online divide.  However, this seems to run deeper.  I mean, my goodness, I’m left with nothing but bolding to express my shock: Thirty-six percent of student newspapers with no Web presence at all.  The heft is not an indictment against the press outlets. It’s a call to arms!


What can we do to make that percentage drop faster than the Dow?  I went to a small liberal arts school as an undergrad, one that is still among the have-nots.  I know the challenges- too few staffers doing too much work with no j-curriculum set aside to teach them advanced reporting let alone Web work.  There’s got to be an answer though, a Googlable smoking gun, a way to ensure student news outlets at schools like these don’t fall through the cracks of the Web or the cracks still existing in college media 2.0.

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  1. […] text, lacking images, and an absolute affront to link journalism.  Worse yet, some outlets have no Web presence at all or scant efforts, such as a site housing PDFs of past print […]