5 Standout Student Press Stories: Pregnancy, Police Scanner, OCD & Paid Cuddling

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.


(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.)



PROFILE AWESOMENESS ALERT: “Pregnant at Harvard?” The Harvard Crimson, Harvard University

1In a powerfully raw first-person essay, an anonymous Harvard University student writes about Ivy League life, love, a break-up and an unexpected pregnancy.

In the student’s words:

“This isn’t Mean Girls — I’m not going to tell you, ‘Don’t have sex. You will get pregnant, and you will die.’ But what I will say is that, yes, there are nights when I wish I could die, when I look in the mirror and hate myself with every fiber of my being. There are nights where I stay up holding the locket, the one piece I have of both my ex-boyfriend and my child, and just cry hysterically. There are nights where I try so hard to convince myself that life is worthwhile by talking myself to sleep with thoughts of stargazing and dancing and laughter, but no matter what I think about I can’t get rid of an all-encompassing sense of pain.”

SOCIAL MEDIA AWESOMENESS ALERT: OU Scanner Twitter account stops operation,” The Post, Ohio University

Since 2013, a graduate student at Ohio University has been tweeting information gleaned from listening to a scanner tuned in to local police chatter. The Twitter account, recently shut down because the student is moving away from Athens, Ohio, amassed close to 11,000 followers. The student’s take: “People view it as an information service. … Most of what I send out is combined between what I hear from the scanner and the pictures and information I’m getting from the community.”

REGULAR SERIES ALERT: “That Time I…Paid to cuddle,” The Chronicle, Duke University

This is the second installment in what appears to be a new series in the Chronicle detailing students’ stories beginning with the phrase “That Time I…” On spec, it’s a fun, quirky way to nab compelling narratives about offbeat or momentous experiences undertaken by staffers or readers. In this case, Carleigh Stiehm details her trip to a paid cuddling service — kinda sorta like a massage parlor, I guess.

As she writes:

“My experience was comforting and pleasant. We tried out all five of the approved positions, and chatted happily through the first 50 minutes of my hour-long session. I am a listener by nature, so I enjoyed asking Jule’ questions about her daughters, dog and former life as a librarian. … Would I do it again? I just don’t know, but it’s certainly an experience I would recommend to seasoned cuddlers and novices alike.”


“I’m So OCD: Belittlement of Mental Illness,” The Elm, Washington College

Elm opinion editor Emma Buchman bravely shares a bit about her experiences living with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) — along with recounting the best media depiction she’s seen dealing with it and questions students can ask to determine if they might suffer from it.

Buchman’s take: “For me, my OCD is kind of like having a person being constantly attached to you. You can’t see them and you can’t get rid of them as they whisper awful things in your ear. They feel like a cumbersome weight on your mind and body, and the only time you can even dream of relief is when your terrible excuse for a friend decides to take a nap or go on vacation and you can finally just be happy without any strings attached.”

SPECIAL ISSUE ALERT: “Students of the Year 2014-2015,” The Statement, University of Michigan

1Who have been the most interesting, quirky, newsworthy and impacting students on your campus over the past academic year? The Statement, the magazine affiliated with The Michigan Daily, recently ran down 10 Wolverine students worthy of this designation.

A portion of the feature’s intro: “Some chosen for the intense commitment they show to one activity, others for the impact they have over campus as a whole. Some come to the University with ambitious plans in mind, while others have found their way and grown once arriving in Ann Arbor. Between these ten students, you will find ten different majors, dozens of student organizations, and hundreds of peers impacted and influenced.”

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