Most Impressive College Media Startup, Fall 2009

This is the second installment of a multi-post glimpse back at the highlights and lowlights of fall 2009 in collegemediatopia.

Most Impressive College Media StartupCollege News Network

College News Network is a nationwide student press content-sharing service that Ohio University duo Ryan Dunn and Ryan Hendricks launched for just $17 in the wake of UWIRE’s sudden disappearance.  (Here’s the related RSS feed.)  As Dunn told me:

We started College News Network out of necessity. I manage the opinion page of The Post, and when our well of letters dried up, we would pull a column from UWIRE. If local content isn’t an option, we still need something to put on the page. . . . Our main strength against UWIRE is that we have no corporate owners demanding a profit, or any intention of profit at all. College News Network doesn’t exactly have a budget. Dave and I continue putting the time in because the site’s grown into something that we’re very pleased with. We do read a lot of these newspapers anyway to see what other student papers are reporting on, that’s why we asked them to join. Of course, if UWIRE wants to buy us out for a few hundred million dollars, we’d probably listen.

Runner-up honors go to Her Campus, an online magazine for college women co-founded by four Harvard University students that debuted early in the fall. It is a student-produced “hub for everything college women need to know” that its founders wittily dub “the collegiette’s guide to life.”

According to president and publisher Windsor Hanger, in its first 100 days, the magazine accomplished the following (a list I am including in full because it is impressive and to show what a student media start-up can do with ambitious staff and an excellent game plan):

  • Hired 40+ contributing writers from 20+ colleges
  • Published 100+ fresh articles, with new content on the site each day
  • Publish 4 blogs with new content each day as well as a daily poll and a weekly giveaway
  • Built significant following on both Facebook (1,291 fans) and Twitter (276 followers)
  • Featured in The Boston Globe, seventeen.com, About.com, UWire.com, The Chronicle of Higher Education, University Business, and numerous campus publications
  • Attracted over 80,000 unique visitors and generated over 170,000 page views
  • Sold advertising packages to Juicy Couture, Lauren Merkin, Lady Vanderbilt, Explosion Sportswear, and Purple Lab, and hired by Juicy Couture to build out national network of campus brand representatives, as well as other strategic marketing partnerships to launch in Spring 2010
  • Developed template for rolling out My Campus branches
  • Rolled out our first three My Campus branches (Harvard, BU, FSU) by December 1, 2009, with 20 branches to have launched by February 2010 and 50 branches to have launched by May 2010

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