College Media in Action #3: Water Cooler Camaraderie in Iowa State Daily Newsroom

College Media in Action is a CMM photo series aiming to provide glimpses of student journalists and college media outlets at work (or kicking back) — in the newsroom, the classroom, the field, the dorm or at an unofficial sacred journalist hangout of some sort.

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The North Wind vs. Northern Michigan School Officials: ‘A Battle for the Soul of This Campus’

This is the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad irony of the student press: The better they do — and the harder they push — the less support they receive from their own schools. On spec, it’s insane. There are literally NO other academic programs, student organizations or sports teams at colleges and universities worldwide that are criticized, threatened and attacked when their quality improves. And yet, of course, viewed through a wider-angle lens, it’s also perfectly understandable. Because when student journalists do well, their school’s weaknesses, weirdness and full-on failings are often exposed.

Exhibit A for today: The North Wind at Northern Michigan University. Under a new adviser and gung-ho editorial board, the student newspaper has upped its aggressive A-game in recent months. Instead of crafting “cupcake stories,” the pub has been digging, exploring, asking tough questions and filing FOIA requests. Has the pub’s reporting been perfect? Nah. But the first draft of history never is (and newsflash, neither are faculty and administrators).

Bottom line, the North Wind’s overall mission and many of its individual stories as of late have been laudably on-point and newsworthy. And so, of course, school officials are putting up roadblocks instead of offering their full cooperation. Sigh. Read More

College Media in Action #2: Matching Shirts & a Photobomber in Collegiate Times Newsroom

College Media in Action is a CMM photo series aiming to provide glimpses of student journalists and college media outlets at work (or kicking back) — in the newsroom, the classroom, the field, the dorm or at an unofficial sacred journalist hangout of some sort.

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Bird-Flip Flap: Middle Finger Photo in State News at Michigan State Spurs Criticism, Apology

The State News at Michigan State University is apologizing to readers for a photo published earlier this week showing a student, well, flipping the bird — a pair of birds actually.

On page nine of Monday’s 12-page SN issue, a photo captures a male student clearly extending the middle fingers on both his hands to an invisible crowd. Judging by the cutline beneath the pic, the act is one of defiant exuberance. The young man is apparently celebrating his fraternity’s victory in a step show, an annual dance competition among black frats and sororities at MSU. Read More

In New Video, Michigan Daily Writers Read Mean Reader Comments & Tweets

“As a student at U of M, I feel embarrassed for you and by you for publishing this. … Seriously man, f*ck this dude. He has no idea how to write. … It annoys me when obscure hacks like the writer, whose only job is to write daily copy about what more talented writers have created, says something ridiculous just to have something to print.”
This is a sampling of the mean reader comments, tweets and emails that Michigan Daily staffers at the University of Michigan read aloud in a new video. “Daily Writers Share Reader Responses” sports the look and feel of Jimmy Kimmel’s popular “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets” series. But video creator Victoria Noble — a Daily videographer and columnist — tells me the aim is serious audience interaction along with straight comedy.

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College Media in Action #1: The Lantern Staff’s Presidential Sitdown

College Media in Action is a CMM photo series aiming to provide glimpses of student journalists and college media outlets at work (or kicking back) — in the newsroom, the classroom, the field, the dorm or at an unofficial sacred journalist hangout of some sort.

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Why Wesleyan’s Student Newspaper Isn’t Naming the Molly Overdose Suspects (At Least Not Yet)

Although edged out of the national spotlight a bit in recent days by a dress debate and llama-gate, the Molly/MDMA scare involving nearly a dozen Wesleyan University students and a few others continues to reverberate heavily across the news, social media and higher ed spheres. 
The latest major update was the arrest last week of four Wesleyan students allegedly connected in some way to the distribution of the possibly tainted drugs. The university also immediately suspended the student suspects.
Soon after the quartet was booked on a number of drug-related charges, most professional media such as ABC News published each of their names and other personal information (including the fact that one is apparently the founder of the school’s chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy). Rolling Stone also ran their mugshots
By comparison, thus far, The Wesleyan Argus has held back. In its initial Molly arrest article, the campus pub confirmed it was declining to ID the students.

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College Media News: Sex Issues, Student Press Legal Resources & the J-School Gender Gap

Here’s a rundown of recent college media and journalism education news, a smidgen of student press history, some student journalist perspectives and a few funny headlines and tweets.

To pass along tips, stories, links and tweets for the next college media news rundown, email me ASAP.

J-School Gender Gap. There is a troubling dissonance between the amount of women enrolled in journalism programs nationwide and the amount employed professionally as journalists. Guess which is lower? Yes, in j-schools, women are dominant. As a USA TODAY College report notes, “Women made up two-thirds of the student body enrolled in bachelors and masters degree programs during the fall 2013 semester. … Yet, post-school, the opposite is true: Women were credited with only 36.1 percent of total bylines or on-camera appearances as anchors or reporters.” Read More

Cartoon in Georgetown Student Newsmagazine Spurs Campus Rally, Charges of Racism

An editorial cartoon in The Georgetown Voice has angered some student readers at Georgetown University, triggering social media complaints, a campus-wide demonstration and a town hall meeting. The Voice’s top editor and the student cartoonist have both apologized and the image has been removed from the newsmagazine’s website.

The cartoon depicts the newly-elected student government leaders at Georgetown clobbering a pair of losing candidates — who are stuffed inside a horse costume — with bats labeled “Satire” and “Heckler.” The student leaders with the bats are also editors of a satirical outlet called The Georgetown Heckler. The Heckler poked fun at the other candidates — the ones inside the horse — in a joke piece posted prior to the election. Read More

Say Hi in LA! Stop By My Story Ideas, Satire, Sex & Hackathon Sessions at 2015 ACP Convention

This week the epicenter of the college media universe is Los Angeles — AKA the City of Angels, La La Land and Tinseltown — the site of the 2015 ACP Midwinter National College Journalism Convention. I’ll soon be camped out at the LA Sheraton Universal, along with a slew of other j-profs, student press advisers, professional journalists and j-students extraordinaire.

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7 Standout Student Press Stories: ‘Second Chance at Life,’ ‘Expert at Napping’ & a Barefoot Commute

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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Top Student Journalists Weigh in on the Brian Williams Scandal

The Brian Williams scandal AKA Conflate-Gate, the Chopper Whopper and #BrianWilliamsMisremembers has sucked a gigantic amount of oxygen out of the news media universe this past month. Professional journalists and journalism scholars have sounded off at length about every facet of it. It’s absolutely time for the student journalist perspective, especially now that the sensationalist fog is starting to lift and we can consider the controversy more on its merits.

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College Media Geeks: Brandon Zenner, Editor-in-Chief, Northwest Missourian, Northwest Missouri State University

1Brandon Zenner is a mass media major with a multimedia journalism concentration at Northwest Missouri State University. The senior from Platte City, Mo., a small town north of Kansas City, is also editor-in-chief of the Northwest Missourian.

Prior to his EIC stint, he served the paper as a reporter and news editor and earned an award in 2014 as the pub’s staffer of the year. He also freelances for the Kansas City Star and previously interned with The Platte County Citizen. Outside the journalism sphere, Zenner is a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

Bottom line, Zenner’s press love knows no bounds. His words: “I am passionate about journalism in any form: sports, news, videography, photography, copy editing, social media, managing and everything in between.” Read More

College Media News: Radio Dreams, Life at Medill & ‘The Day the Newsman Died’

Here’s a rundown of recent college media and journalism education news, a smidgen of student press history, some student journalist perspectives and a few funny headlines and tweets.

To pass along tips, stories, links and tweets for the next college media news rundown, email me ASAP.


1“Welcome to Medill.” 
As Northwestern University j-student Elizabeth Santoro writes, “Medildos, Medillionaires, anal, insane, brave, whatever you want to call us — from the outside, Medill life seems like a crazy mass of students asking for a quote. Yes, while an interview is most likely what we seek, journalism majors’ unique curriculum makes ‘college’ different from the traditional sense of the word.Medill makes you cold-call strangers, take the El to class and use outside class time to meet with an interviewee where you may have to ask some uncomfortable questions. While trying to report on homelessness in Evanston, I faced many painfully blank stares of people not wanting a thing to do with me. Welcome to Medill.” (North by Northwestern, Northwestern University) Read More

Indiana Daily Student Columnist: ‘Print Journalism Now Even More Dead Than It Was Before’

Indiana Daily Student columnist Riley Zipper is aghast at the amount of advertorials being primed, polished and shoved into evermore print magazines. According to the Indiana University junior, the growth of this ad-editorial blurring — popping up most prominently on the current cover of Forbes magazine — sends an ominous sign to news media watchers worldwide.

As he writes in a new IDS column, “It’s official: print journalism is now even more dead than it was before. … ‘Advertorial’ content — advertising poorly hidden within editorial content — is rampant in your favorite magazines. Hide your kids! Hide your wife! These ‘native’ ads attempt to trick the reader into thinking they aren’t ads at all. And they’re pretty good at it. Until you look closely and see the villainous marker lurking in the corner of the page, camouflaged in the shadows: ‘Sponsored Content.'” Read More

Dear Dan: What is Your Favorite Student Press Story of All Time?

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Dear Dan is a CMM series featuring perspectives and advice on serious and quirky college media issues of the moment. Most installments include a question or quandary submitted by a student journalist, professional journalist, journalism professor or student press adviser.

Dear Dan: What is your favorite student journalism story of all time? Read More

Guacamole Gate 3.0: In Letter, Jack White Says He’s ‘Disappointed in Young Journalists’ at OU

My fingers are dancing with glee over my laptop keyboard this morning largely because I am able to confirm: Folks, Guacamole Gate has officially entered its third week. 

Why? Because Jack White is publicly whining. The rock star released a silly, sanctimonious, poorly capitalized open letter yesterday confirming he remains “disappointed in young journalists” at The Oklahoma Daily.

For those not yet in the loop (get there): Earlier this month, the Daily reported on some quirky details included in a contract White signed to perform at the University of Oklahoma — “including demands that no bananas be present anywhere, no photos be allowed and guacamole be made for him according to his own recipe.” White wigged out a bit on stage about the related Daily article. And soon after the show, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment — which represents White — announced it was blacklisting OU. The agency said it will not allow any of its clients to perform at the school, asserting that it does want to risk them being embarrassed like White by student journalists who are simply out for the truth. Read More

What Will the Student Press Be Like in 2030?

Politico recently asked a group of leaders, innovators and big thinkers a simple, loaded question: What will the world be like in 2030? It sparked my interest in gathering similar predictions — about the student press.

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Student Editor: ‘Serious Concerns About Future of Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania’

The editor-in-chief of The Lafayette at Pennsylvania’s Lafayette College has penned an open letter asking readers to convince the school’s student government to provide the paper with greater financial support. According to the EIC, without that support, the pub may no longer exist.

The 145-year-old student newspaper has apparently lived off a thriving reserve account for years, but has fallen on hard financial times like many professional and student outlets. And so the account, alas, has been depleted. Read More

University of Tulsa Threatens Student Newspaper for Its Report on Facebook Harassment Case

Officials at the University of Tulsa sent a chilling message earlier this week to its student journalists: Stop investigating news we don’t want you to cover or you will be punished.

Happy Friday, folks. The word of the day: censorship. It is wrapped cloak and dagger around a strange case involving the university which is now weaving its way into the national news cycle. Read More