Student Media at George Mason University Merge to Form Fourth Estate

The campus newspaper and a prominent student news site at George Mason University are merging this fall to form a single, massive, multi-platform Fourth Estate.

On its face, Fourth Estate appears to be a genuine full-blown collaboration between GMU’s longtime paper Broadside and more recent A-list online upstart Connect2Mason– including staffs, news production and larger editorial missions. Along with daily digital news coverage, a print newspaper will continue appearing at GMU each week. 

Colleen Wilson, the editor in chief of the new venture, tells Fairfax News, “Before, we used resources separately and often wrote stories twice. It was very confusing for readers. It’s time for a change.”

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I’ve been a big fan of Connect2Mason since its early emergence as a digital power-player within collegemediatopia. A quick check of the CMM archives confirms I first wrote about the site in fall 2008, only three months after the blog debuted. That particular post reflects on professional journo Will Sullivan’s excitement about the innovative spirit he was seeing at the time among leading student press outlets including Connect2Mason.

Here’s a quote from Sullivan that I featured at the close of the post — perfectly capturing the upside of this latest bold step in Connect2Mason’s evolution:

“College is one of the few times in your career that you can try something totally wacky, fail and it won’t really set you back or ruin your career. Try alternative story forms. Learn new technologies. Break the mold of traditional journalism. Your generation and its ability to innovate will save the craft.”

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