Young Journalist: ‘If I Was at a College Newspaper Today, I’d Quit’
Antiquated. Curmudgeonly. Doomed. Lauren Rabaino uses a number of words to describe student journalism circa 2011 — innovative, awesome, and digitally aware are not among them.
In a recent blog post/rant, the standout young journalist and designer extraordinaire waxes pessimistic about the current state of college media. Her ire originated in Hollywood. While attending and speaking at the recent ACP National College Journalism Convention, Rabaino ran into the general manager of her former student newspaper, The Mustang Daily at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Rabaino ended her stint as the paper’s web editor in December 2009.
The eye-opening news the GM broke to her: Now 15 months after her departure, the Daily is still searching for a replacement. As the GM told her, “We just can’t find anyone who wants to be a web editor in journalism!”
The position-filling #epicfail underscored a theme Rabaino could not escape throughout her convention travails: Too many j-students today are not itching to innovate or even learn the basics of Journalism 2.0.
In Rabaino’s words: “Why don’t students WANT to learn this stuff? College media confuses me. At least five different people at the conference (usually the lone web champion or the point-of-desperation advisor) told me that they just can’t get students motivated about the web. They just can’t get them to care about posting stories online or engaging with the audience through social media or excited about learning video. What the hell?”
The exchanges and whole experience reminded her “how doomed college media is.” As she concluded her post, “If I was … at a college newspaper today, I’d quit. I’d start my own competitor news site on campus and leave the antiquated, curmudgeonly, long-established college media in the dust.”