College Media Hall of Fame: Vinny Vella, Former Editor-in-Chief, La Salle Collegian

The College Media Hall of Fame is a digital enshrinement of individuals, news outlets, and organizations who have made a lasting impact on collegemediatopia or greatly contributed to it over the past year. Much like last year’s inaugural batch (known as the CMM 10), this year’s inductees include standout student journalists, innovative student media entrepreneurs, and impassioned advocates of campus press 2.0. With a hat tip to the annual Time 100, many of the posts announcing each honoree include a few words of adoration penned by a close friend or colleague. Next up…

Vinny Vella

Former editor-in-chief, The La Salle University Collegian

The legend of Vinny Vella is built atop strippers, censorship, and a partially blank front page. This past spring, administrators at Philadelphia’s La Salle University attempted to stonewall its student newspaper from publishing an embarrassing story about a professor hiring exotic dancers to participate in an extra-credit seminar for students. The La Salle University Collegian, run by Vella (since graduated), had the scoop but was forced to hold off on publishing due to a temporary embargo imposed by school officials.

After the news broke elsewhere, admins. finally gave the Collegian the green light, but only if the piece was first vetted by a university lawyer and run below the fold of the front page. At that point, Vella decided enough was enough.  So he beat the school at its own game, by following its edict literally.

In the subsequent issue, the paper ran nothing above the fold except a teaser to check out what was beneath it — the story its staffers had been waiting weeks to print. The four-word message, surrounded by white space, stated simply: “See below the fold.”

Vinny Vella, holding the Collegian’s now famous front page.

As Vella said at the time, “You need to stand up for yourself every once in a while. You can’t let authorities intimidate you.”

For their quick thinking and courage in the face of censorship, Vella and his Collegian co-workers are a very worthy addition to the College Media Hall of Fame.

To read my take on the La Salle censorship situation, click here or on the screenshot below.

Other Class of 2011 CMM Hall of Fame inductees:

Arez Hussen Ahmed

Michael Koretzky

Frank LoMonte

Victor Luckerson & The Crimson White

Connor Toohill

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