College Media Highlights, Lowlights from Fall 2009

Fall semester 2009 played host to great feats of student journalism excellence. It also featured several callous fights and a spate of blunders that made j-students both grimace and blush.  It was a typical term.

As students begin to sober up and look toward spring 2010, here is a quick glimpse back at the highlights and lowlights within collegemediatopia in S1AY09-10.***  The first award is below.  (Check back for more over the next few days.)

Most Industrious Reporting: Yale Daily News & Pitt News (tie)

The Daily News boasted regular scoops and extremely thorough reporting as the top news outlet, student or professional, covering the tragic killing of Yale graduate student Annie Le.  As a Poynter feature quoted one reader proclaiming, “I have been following this story from Austin, Texas, and time and again I find myself on the YDN site because this is where the truly excellent reporting has been.”

Meanwhile, the Pitt News covered G-20, 360. A crackerjack team of student editors, reporters, videographers, photographers, bloggers, and tweeters braved crowds, the elements, and even tear gas and the police to provide round-the-clock, multimediated coverage of nearly every facet of last September’s G-20 political summit in Pittsburgh.  As Pitt News editor in chief Drew Singer told me, “No other news organization in the world was providing as thorough and expedient description of things as they happened than we were.”

Runner-up honors go to The Student Life at Washington University in St. Louis. Staffers at the paper used their student connections and new media savviness to cover the now infamous Chicago bar racism incident in-depth and from numerous angles. They posted the insta-famous Rejected, Admitted photos and had their opening story on the alleged blow to Civil Rights picked up by HuffPo and a host of other national outlets.

Separate kudos to California j-students who covered and editorialized about the tuition hike announcement fallout statewide.

*** Semester one, academic year 2009-10 for those playing at home.

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