Student Journalists Sound Off, Episode #1 (Targets: Guns & Normcore Fashion)

What would the world — or at least college students — be better off without? What is confusing, worrying and frustrating the heck out of a vast majority or a vocal minority of undergrads? And what are students finding evermore evil, weird or dumb and dumber by the day?

In separate op-eds and articles published within campus media worldwide, students regularly offer a bevy of suggestions on “unnecessary traditions, ideas and institutions” that should be scrapped, significantly changed or scrutinized with much greater skepticism.

Simply put, from time to time, student journalists sound off — angrily, bitterly, sarcastically and judiciously. This lighthearted CMM series is aimed at amplifying their voices — offering one extra platform and promotional push for frustrations deemed especially fascinating, funny or on point.

1Read closely. Whether you agree with them or not, rants can often be remixed or spun off into excellent news stories.

For more story ideas, order a copy of my book Journalism of Ideas, dubbed “the next new mandatory text for college journalists.” Also check out 1 Million Story Ideas for Student Journalists, a quick-hit, unending, hopefully indispensable, fun, fun, fun digital story ideas fountain.

Episode #1

Normcore Fashion




Arizona State University rising sophomore Becca Smouse is not a fan of normcore, the latest fashion trend popular among students.

In a well-written column for The State Press, ASU’s campus newspaper, Smouse calls the whole style shebang dull, arguing normcore’s core “idea of ‘fitting in’ rather than standing out” is a huge fashion faux pas.

Smouse’s two cents:

Normcore encourages individuals to wear boring, dated clothing, like the wardrobe found on most ’90s sitcoms (think ‘Friends’ and ‘Seinfeld’). … Mom jeans, solid sweaters and flat colors are common staples in this latest movement. … [D]ressing in such a plain manner doesn’t represent our current day and age, as these fashion trends characterize a previous generation. ‘Is normcore actually about blending in and rejecting fashion?’ Erica Cerula of Vanity Fair said. ‘Or is it really about looking normal … but only if you lived in Pittsburgh in 1994 and weren’t rebellious enough to be smoking under the bleachers at Liberty High School?’ Obviously, our clothes do not encompass our personality completely, but they give a snapshot for others to create first impressions. By muting this freedom, the fashion world silences the creative minds behind those who look to express themselves with eccentric patterns or edgy shapes.”




Saran Mishra at Purdue University does not mince words when assessing where our nation stands on guns — even if it angers an old teacher. As she wrote last semester in The Purdue Exponent, “It’s simply sad where we are at as a nation when it comes to guns, gun-safety, gun laws and the gun culture. My eighth-grade English teacher would be disappointed in the amount of times I used one noun in the previous sentence, but maybe that reflects the amount of weapons that are in citizens’ hands in the U.S.”

Mishra quickly segues from sad to straight-out horrified. In her words:

As a student-journalist in an university it is horrifying to see the number of mass violent incidents involving guns happening throughout the country. It is especially disheartening that in the last few years that they have spilled into education. Since Sandy Hook elementary in December of 2012, there have been 74 reported shootings in schools, Purdue included. It’s the rate of mass gun violence that is so concerning to me … I guess the more disappointing part of our new conversation about gun violence is that we think we can’t do anything about it. We think if someone is going to kill someone, or a lot of people with a gun, it’s inevitable.

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