New Student Site: One-Stop Shop or Pretend Journalism?

I’m ambivalent.  Here’s the deal: The Philadelphia Inquirer has announced it is launching a new Web site aimed at providing a platform for the journalistic and creative work of college students throughout the Philly area, according to a new report in The Hawk at Saint Joseph’s University.  News reports, op-eds, blogs, photos, even fiction pieces are all fair game for the soon-to-be-active site, which apparently will feature dedicated areas for each school involved.

If the idea actually works, I envision an interesting mishmash of a site that might draw students in occasionally to see what their peers are passionately espousing or creatively vetting.  If the idea flounders, it will join the ranks of the growing number of what I’ve started calling pretend journalism sites, pseudo-professional outlets that seem more just for their creators to have a place to publish and not for the audience to actually have something worth reading or watching.

The question I am left with that makes me cynical about this particular venture: What does it *really* offer average students that their campus newspapers, the blogosphere, Facebook, and other area outlets do not already provide?  Sure, a one-stop shop for all types of content can be convenient, or it can come across like an overwhelming, inexplicable campus graffiti wall.

The only other portion of the Hawk report that made me slightly cringe: Apparently a number of j-profs have approached the Inquirer and “said they have all this great student journalism from their classes but no place to publish it.”

Noooooooooooooo!!!!  This is NEW media.  Journalism is in OUR hands.  You’re a j-prof or j-student staring at great unpublished j-work?  Embrace the spirit of do-it-yourself.  Create a site.  Start a blog.  Sign up for a Flickr account.  Contact a campus media outlet.  Make it happen.  You don’t need the professional paper to do it for you.  You can end up with a site just as active, well-read, and even profitable, and you’re not beholden to anyone but yourself and the tenets of quality journalism.

5 Responses to “New Student Site: One-Stop Shop or Pretend Journalism?”
  1. Daniel says:

    My vote is for the “not going to work” option.

  2. Daniel says:

    Wait, they’re going bankrupt and launching this?! This is why the newspaper industry has an epic failure of leadership.

  3. davesen says:

    Many newspapers run a high school page as well. Usually it is poorly put together and simply a source of free content for the newspaper providing the space. I agree with you. With all the options out there now, keep your own content and publish yourself!

  4. Dan Reimold says:

    Great comments, all. Thank you. The thing that struck me about the related article on this site is that the talk was all about what it could do for ADVERTISERS, the host PAPER, and for J-STUDENTS. Nothing much about what STUDENT READERS or Web surfers might actually be longing to see…

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