Amid Pro Press Cutbacks, Student Media Stepping Up, Covering Off-Campus News

Student media are increasingly covering and shaping news on and off campus, according to a New York Times report posted and published today. Through their work on college newspapers, independent start-ups, classes and school-sponsored news services, student journalists are stepping in to fill what Michigan Daily editor-in-chief Peter Shahin calls “a need that is unmet by our regional newspapers in an era of constrained resources.”

Writing for the Times, reporter extraordinaire Jennifer Conlin similarly confirms “a new model has emerged in many communities in which college journalism students increasingly make up for the lack of in-depth coverage by local papers. … Journalism schools and student-run newspapers across the country are operating a variety of programs that are not just teaching students to be journalists, but embedding them in the media industry and allowing them to produce content.”

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Among the current and recent student journalism achievements mentioned by Conlin:

1) The Daily’s enormous sexual assault scoop earlier this semester that involved the University of Michigan football team.

2) The investigative awesomeness of Arizona State University’s News21 initiative.

3) The transformation of a University of Kansas journalism class into a newswire service focused on state politics.

4) The series of special issues being produced by The Daily Cardinal at the University of Wisconsin-Madison “investigating under-reported topics in an effort to inform the campus community and spark change.”

5) The Harvard Crimson’s top-notch coverage last December of the logistics, consequences and mysteries of a campus bomb scare.

I pop up briefly in the piece. As I tell Conlin, “Higher education issues like the big business of college sports, sexual assault, student debt and youth unemployment are all national discussions now. In many towns, there are newspapers hovering around the campus, but the students are the ones covering that campus. These students can have real scoops and, of course, digital media is second nature to them.”

Related

After Big Football Scoop, Michigan Daily Not Invited to Press Conference with Head Coach

Harvard Crimson Publishes Special Edition Covering Campus Bomb Scare

Daily Cardinal Special Issue Offers ‘360-Degree Look at What a College Degree Means’

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