10 Standout Student Press Stories: Booze, Meat, Millennial Myths & a Wheelchair Test

Over the past decade, digital tools and mobile platforms have rocketed journalism to a universe of innovation, interactivity and immediacy once unimaginable. Yet, without stellar content, journalism 2.0 is not worth the effort to read, watch, click on, scroll through, contribute to or connect with.
In that spirit, this semi-regular CMM rundown spotlights some of the most impressive, engaging and offbeat content recently produced by college media worldwide. Along with being worth a read, the stories are also potentially worth emulating or using as inspiration for awesome storytelling at your own school.

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(To nominate a student press news report, feature story, profile, op-ed, editorial, video or multimedia package for inclusion in a future spotlight, tweet me or email me ASAP.)

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INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALISM ALERT: “Booze, books and the balance: Past and present, alcohol is a constant in Ohio State’s culture,” The Lantern, Ohio State University

An engrossing, eye-opening report by Michele Theodore and Madison Curtis on the history of alcohol at OSU. A snippet: “One of The Lantern’s first mentions of alcohol was in an 1895 article that said ‘alcohol is called the water of life, though this is not so.’ And that word — alcohol — would be repeated throughout the history of OSU and the Lantern. In fact, it keeps coming back again, and again and again.”

1SPORTS JOURNALISM ALERT: “Sitting Down with ISU’s Own Super Fan, Ross Cunningham,” The Bengal, Idaho State University

Bengal staff writer Steven Murillo profiles a passionate, “infamous campus character known as the super fan. The super fan, perhaps more commonly known as Ross Cunningham, has been attending games at ISU for over ten years. Cunningham began his practice of supporting teams by utilizing fancy gear, face paint and spirited antics when he was in high school.  When he came to ISU he was happy to continue the tradition. The energy he brings to games is hard to ignore.”

NEWSY LISTICLE ALERT: “Myths About Millennials,” & Magazine, affiliated with The Red & Black, University of Georgia

UGA student Laura James shares that “[w]e have all heard negative stereotypes about Millennials, but some of them may not be true after all.” One example: Millennials don’t read.

PRESIDENTIAL TRANSPARENCY: “The Faceless President Brown,” The Daily Free Press, Boston University

In a well-written, on-point editorial, the DFP ed board calls out BU’s current president Robert Brown. As the editorial asks, “[W]here is Brown? Seen only in pictures and never heard, Brown is definitely the leader of BU, but an invisible one. BU suffers from an appalling lack of transparency between the hierarchy of the administration and the student body. … Is it possible to run a business while being involved with the student body? It’s hard to say, but it seems to most students that Brown hasn’t even tried. Worse still, Brown’s longtime absence in the student body means that if he ever tried to take on a more active role, he would come off as disingenuous and fake.”

My Death Needs To Mean Something,” The Harvard Crimson, Harvard University

In the op-ed, Harvard student Bruno Moguel Gallegos uses the recent suicide of transgender Ohio teen Leelah Alcorn as the jumping-off point for an exploration into “how messed up this world is, with people who harm others out of prejudice, parents who wrong their children out of narrow-mindedness and institutions that stunt social progress.”

1FOOD JOURNALISM ALERT: “We meat again: vague-etarianism,” The Gryphon, Leeds University

As the fantastic headline hints, this story is a whopper of a good time. The gist: “After being a vegetarian for seven years, the editor of The Gryphon, Jasmine Andersson, discusses why she decided to start eating meat again, the social pressures of being a vegetarian and her reasons for initially giving up meat.”

Tour guides provide first impression,” The Duquesne Duke, Duquesne University

In an interesting essay, Duquesne Duke opinions editor Addison Smith questions who should serve as campus tour guides — pointing out correctly that “[t]here is something about a college tour that can make or break a school for a person.”

SPORTS JOURNALISM ALERT: “Road to Recovery,” The Daily 49er, California State University, Long Beach

49er contributing writer Zach Weber tells the fascinating tale of “LBSU senior Adam Denny [who] is back from a traumatic accident to rebuild the school’s wakeboarding program.”

SOCIAL MEDIA BEAT: “Our Obsession with Articles,” Daily Gazette, Swarthmore College

In the op-ed, Swarthmore student Yousaf Razvi asks, “Why has my Facebook news feed become a news feed? I scroll down endlessly and for the most part, all I see are articles from Vice News, Huffington Post, Washington Post, you name it. To be completely honest, it seems that Facebook has become a  lineup of the day’s articles written by know-it-all (political) pundits. Why are articles so appealing? And what’s the problem with their overuse?”

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For more ideas, check out 1 Million Story Ideas for Student Journalists, a quick-hit, unending, hopefully indispensable, fun, fun, fun digital story ideas fountain.

Also order a copy of my book Journalism of Ideas: Brainstorming, Developing, and Selling Stories in the Digital Age. Dubbed “the next new mandatory text for college journalists,” it features advice from hundreds of contributors, lots of digital storytelling tips, tons of story ideas and more than 300 games aimed at sparking you to come up with endless ideas of your own.

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