25 Random Things About Modern College Media: Part 1

Inspired by the Facebook phenomenon “25 Random Things About Me,” which I’ve now happily received from roughly two dozen friends and colleagues (Time reports more than 5 million such lists have been completed since the start of the month), I’ve drawn up my own “Random” list.  It’s not personal, but professional passion-based.  Below is part one of “25 Random Things About Modern College Media”:

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1) Students still read their campus newspapers, in print! In an era of online-overwhelmingness and stereotypes (and published evidence) about youth predilection for Internet news over the dead ink variety, student readership of print campus publications is almost astounding.  The motivation for such an old media activity varies.  I’ve asked past students of mine for their reasons.  A few of the most oft-repeated: The college paper is the most accessible news source to grab on campus.  It’s free.  It’s the most relevant to students’ lives.  And it’s the easiest to peruse (or at least quickly scan) while on campus (in class, the library, the coffeeshop, cafeteria, etc.).

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2) The alternative college media landscape is like the modern indy-movie sceneThey are both more pervasive, professional, and popular than ever.  The alt college press specifically now pops up in newsstands and Google searches worldwide, providing more alternatives than ever to that holiest-of-holy standby, the student newspaper.  A few examples of alt-outlets I’ve blogged about previously: NYU Local, Amherst Wire (UMASS), and The Student Newspaper (UN-L).  And I come across new ones every day!  The latest: The Trojan Times at Mount Olive College.

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3) College journalists are stars! Personal branding and exposure via online means (see the UWire 100) have elevated a lucky/ambitious few into a college media elite or cognoscenti category unlike anything collegemediatopia has ever seen.  (Literally, in my related historical research, the only batches of student journalists with similarly heightened and sustained national prominence were student sex columnists in the late ’90s/early 2000s and those who fought and gained independence for their student newspapers in the late 1960s/early 1970s).  A few of the biggies: Emily Kostic (the inventor of Journalism 3.0, if you haven’t heard), Greg Linch, Daniel Bachhuber, Jackie Hai, and Andrew Dunn (see College Rag).

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4) The college media talent pool is still deep.  Students are still excitedly signing up for j-schools and majoring in journalism in record numbers at colleges and unis worldwide.  As I asked in a previous post, “So Where’s the Beef with J-School Enrollment?“: “Why are students still enrolling en masse?  Is it their love of writing?  Their infatuation with the pop culture aura of the journalist-as-superhero?  Their loathing of other subjects like math and science?  Their idealistic belief that they will be one of the remaining few to merge the words newspaper and career together?  Or maybe their hope that new media’s worldwide (web) domination will soon lead to an explosion of related j-jobs?”

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5) Your mom reads college media, online.  In an interesting reverse of item number #1 in this “Random” list, CICM guru Bryan Murley reported recently that findings indicate that readership of campus newspaper Web sites is not generally student-centric.  Instead, it is individuals off-campus who have some connection to the affiliated schools who are checking things out online- alumni, donors, prospective students, and maybe even your mom.

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Stay tuned for Part 2 soon!

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  1. […] 17, 2009 by Dan Reimold Last week, I kicked off my list of “25 Random Things About Modern College Media,” putting a professional twist on the Facebook-centric personal list phenomenon that […]

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