Journalism of Ideas Visual Podcast #1: ‘Melvin’s Murder,’ Retention Rates, Office Hours, Old Exams & ’15 Things You Won’t Miss’ About School

Welcome to the first edition of the Journalism of Ideas Visual Podcast. 

In the video below, I scroll through and break down some especially fascinating, newsworthy, and slightly quirky stories and features recently published within the student press.  I also toss in a few thoughts on how to digitize, flesh out, and adapt them for other campuses.  The hope is that your journey through the stories with me sparks some ideas for your own news outlet.

In this first episode, I focus on an unfortunately dead beaver and the related campus animal issues he brings up; retention rates, transfer students, and student dropouts; a cool look at professors’ inner sanctums that has the potential to be a regular feature; what can and should be done with old exams and assignments; and a reverse campus bucket list of sorts.  See below for a links listing of all stories and sites I mention.


The visual podcast– and the brainstorming embedded within it– are connected to my new book Journalism of Ideas: Brainstorming, Developing, and Selling Stories in the Digital Age.  One early supporter calls it “an instant classic” and “the next new mandatory text for college journalists.”  Pre-order a copy today.

Links to Stories & Sites Mentioned During Podcast


The student news outlets cited: The Vermont Cynic at the University of Vermont, the Reporter at RIT, The Mooring Mast at Pacific Lutheran University, The Diamondback at the University of Maryland, the Pipe Dream at Binghamton University, The Observer at Fordham University, The Review at the University of Delaware, and The State News at Michigan State University.

Journalism of Ideas: Brainstorming, Developing, and Selling Stories in the Digital Age

Ben Plotzker, “Melvin’s murder: the story,” The Vermont Cynic, University of Vermont

“Newsflash: The Student Press Loves Crazy Squirrel Stories,” College Media Matters

“Student Press Story Headlines That Make Me Giggle #8,” College Media Matters

Nicole Howley, “The More the Merrier,” Reporter, Rochester Institute of Technology

“This graduation season, should there be a ceremony for dropouts too?” USA TODAY College

Daniel Drake, “A shout-out to dropouts,” The Mooring Mast, Pacific Lutheran University

Weiyu Li, “Office Hour With Professor Jackaway,” The Observer, Fordham University

“Vague policy surrounding old exam use needs defining.” The Review, University of Delaware

Greg Olsen and Katie Harrington, “15 things you won’t miss about MSU,” The State News, Michigan State University


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