Suffolk Journal Starts International News Section

Kudos to Suffolk Journal editor Alex Pearlman for her initiative and outside-the-box thinking.  In a letter published earlier this week in the Journal, the student newspaper at Suffolk University in Boston, Pearlman announced the creation of an international news section.


It is an idea with a ton of merit, one that Pearlman wrote stemmed in part from her desire to resurrect quality international reporting: 


Interest in international reporting has recently taken a nosedive, forcing newspapers to close down foreign bureaus and rely solely on wire services like Associated Press and Reuters. As a journalism student, and I’m sure that a number of others in the Communication and Journalism department agree with me, this is a disheartening and upsetting development, especially for those hoping to become foreign correspondents one day.


The content plan: Suffolk students studying abroad in various global hotspots send in dispatches.  The study-abroaders get clips.  The Journal gets articles.  Suffolk student readers gain knowledge.  Everyone wins, especially college journalism.  Good luck!

Student Paper Barred from Campus Event

An administrator at Missouri Southern State University has admitted banning the display of The Chart student newspaper from a recent on-campus career fair. 



The reason?  You guessed it.  Negative news on the front page about the university.  Specifically, a report about the school’s enrollment decline.

Student Newspaper: We Did Not Steal Sandwich

In an editorial published today, top editors at The Maine Campus deny involvement in the swiping of a sandwich from the student union.


Headline of the Week: The Miami Hurricane

Sometimes, the headline says it all: “Our opinion: Crocodile attack begs questions of campus security.” 


Yes, I imagine it would.  In all seriousness, a sad story.  Read The Hurricane‘s original report on the “dead and mutilated crocodile” here.


Somewhere a student media staffer is rolling her eyes

I’m putting this in the Not-Exactly-New New Media Department: A journalistic call to arms to engage youth via myspace and facebook! Somewhere, a student media staffer is rolling his or her eyes.


A number of college media outlets have established presences on Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter, among other social networks and blogs. A new piece in Online Journalism Review suggests that professional outlets should follow their lead.


Just one more example of student media being the forerunners in Journalism 2.0.


A screenshot of the Twitter homepage for The Rebel Yell at UNLV.



Journalist Spotlight: Emily Veach, Wall Street Journal Asia

Emily Veach is roughly a half-day ahead of you.  She recently arrived in Hong Kong, part of the larger “Wall Street Journal Copy Desk Diaspora” (an actual Facebook group).  She works nights.  She travels to Tapei on weekends and recently kayaked in the waters off Cheung Chau Island.  She enjoys playing “Rock Band.”  And she’s a twentysomething journalist worth knowing.


Emily Veach, Assistant News Editor at Wall Street Journal Asia, got her start at The Indiana Daily Student.

Emily Veach, assistant news editor at Wall Street Journal Asia, got her start at The Indiana Daily Student.


Who is she and how did she get to HK?  In a recent blog post, she explained:


Here’s me: A 26-year-old assistant news editor at The Wall Street Journal Asia who once walked the streets of West Lafayette [Indiana] with her best friend Annemarie dreaming of our future together as marine biologists . . . How did I morph from that daydreaming 9-year-old to the person I am today?


In part, Veach’s metamorphosis into WSJA editor extraordinaire began similarly to many professional journos at work worldwide today: Her stint as a college journalist.  Below is a brief Q&A exploring her student press experience and the role it has played in her professional journalistic journey:


1) What is your current position and general responsibilities?


I am assistant news editor at The Wall Street Journal Asia. I am responsible for the Economy & Politics pages of the paper. On any given night, I have between two and seven pages under my purview. I edit stories and art; write headlines; coordinate coverage with bureaus in Asia, Europe and the U.S.; and ensure my partner in crime is adequately fed.  We both work better that way.


2) Quick-hit summary of your college journalism experience.


Indiana Daily Student (Indiana University): copy editor, reporter, arts editor, paginator.


3) Write a six-word memoir of your time as a student journalist.


Turns out, writing sets me free.


4) How did the experience help you or shape your current work in the professional j-world?


My time at the IDS was a beginning for me, in terms of getting to know myself. For as much as we laughed at ourselves and lounged on comfortable couches, I learned a whole lot about professionalism and responsibility. Newspapers aren’t one-man shows, nor are they assembly lines. They need stars and they need good leaders. I saw my peers at the IDS scoring cool stories and organizing coverage of issues that mattered to us and to the thousands of people reading it every day. It made me want to be better every day.



5) What’s an example of a story on which you were especially proud to have reported or edited?


The IDS sent me along with another reporter, Elise LeBlanc, and a photographer, Nick Kapke, to New York City during the summer of 2002 to do research for the paper’s “Sept. 11, One Year Later” special section. We came back with some great stories. We fed off each other and are grateful still for the generosity of the people we met there. In particular, the staff from the Borough of Manhattan Community College, who shared so much and have so much to be proud of.


6) To all the j-student haters out there, why does college journalism matter?


It’s true: You learn more in the field than in the classroom.


7) What is one question we should all be asking much more often about the current state or future of journalism?


Are we having fun?


Read the full Q&A here

CU J-School to Help Keep Steve Jobs Alive

Steve Jobs is alive, a revelation that has placed citizen journalism under the microscope in the lands of mediahysteria and nearby blogosphere. 


A phony “news” brief by a CNN “ireporter” (citizen journalist) stating that the Apple CEO had suffered a massive heart attack caused the company losses of more than $14 billion on Wall Street in a matter of minutes.  It also has prompted j-scholars, journos, and wanna-be-journos to bash and more closely examine an undertaking that has far too long hovered under journalism’s radar.  As the headlines of related blog posts and stories explained: “Steve Jobs Is Not Dying: Why Citizen Journalism  Doesn’t Work”; “New Media Feels Heat After Apple Misstep“; and “Jobs Rumor Debacle Besmirches Citizen Journalism.”



Besmirched, I say!  Enter CU-Boulder’s J-School.  Through a McCormick Grant, faculty and students will work to help right the wrongs and shortcomings of citizen journalism, the field’s suddenly shameful stepcousin.  According to a basic press release:


The Web-based “Resolving Door” project will invite reader-participants to describe local problems, which other reader-participants will be encouraged to research and help solve. . . . Student journalists working on the project will create a series of online tutorials by which novice citizen-journalists can learn how to upload information using a number of different media.

ROAR’s “Ridiculously Good,” Must-Watch Show

“Do you wanna be on top?” 


It is the tagline of what has to be the funniest Web series in collegemediatopia: “LMU’s Next Top Ridiculously Good-Looking Person.”  NTRGLP intermeshes elements of “Project Runway,” “America’s Next Top Model,” and “The Real World,” all with a huge wink to the camera. 


 LMU's Next Top Ridiculously Good-Looking Person Nicole Exposito


The first season of the five-episode series is available for viewing or download on the main site of the ROAR Network, the only student-run TV station at Loyola Marymount University.  In an e-mail to CMM, executive producer Nicole Expposito (a sociology and screenwriting major at LMU, pictured above) explained the premise for the show, which you have to watch immediately in a setting in which you won’t get in trouble for laughing out loud:


The premise is a drama about a crappy reality show shot on the LMU campus.  The show is being funded by Cole Scott, a magazine publisher whose business isn’t what it used to be, and the inept producer and crew have just enough money to hire a bitchy ex-top model, Filisha Gale, to act as the host.  Ten college students who want to be models for various reasons are the contestants, and some of them play dirtier than others. 


Expposito said the 21-day shoot for the series took place late last year, combining scripted portions and improvisations by the “top top model” host and the “ridiculously good-looking” student contestants:


A lot of the time we’d add and cut lines as we were shooting.  We’d think of something that would be funny to do, and add that in.  As the show went on and the cast and crew started to get to know each other better, the actors in real life and the characters they played started to converge.  Like, one of the girls, Elisabeth, wanted to play Cinderella at Disneyland, so we worked that into the show.  And Brady and Amanda, who played a romantic couple in the show, actually developed a flirtatious relationship in real life.


The second season of the series is set to debut in January.

Should Students and Profs Be Facebook Friends?

The wonderful Meredith Cochie at the University of Florida sent me an interesting piece from today’s Austin American-Statesman whose headline says it all: “Professors Navigate the Tricky World of ‘Friending’ Students Online.”




OK, so they are not exactly college media- media produced by college students (although Facebook was started by a Harvard undergrad!)- but social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Friendster, MySpace, and hi5 are certainly at the center of many students’ undergraduate experience.


The ethics of their use in journalism recently came under scrutiny with NYU’s Twitter-gate. This piece posits a new ethical question: What should the new (media) rules be for professor-student social (networking) interaction?


According to the Statesman, professors have a social networking presence but are not quite sure how best to use it:


Unlike middle or high school teachers, many of whom avoid online social networks altogether to avoid even the appearance of unwanted contact with their students . . . [m]any professors use networking sites to post personal and professional details about themselves and to maintain contact with colleagues, friends and ex-students. But the phenomenon is so new that many college campuses . . . have not caught up with formal rules about how students and their instructors should communicate online. Instead, some teachers say they’re making it up as they go along, determining along the way what’s educational, what’s appropriate and what might just be awkward and weird.

J-Student Interns Tiptoe Around “Emotional Minefields”

A fascinating new feature in American Journalism Review describes the climate of fear, the “emotional minefields”, and the ever-present fights for change that the most recent batch of j-student summer interns faced in newsrooms nationwide.


Ironically, AJR writer Tim Collie describes an intern crop still aspiring to work in newspapers, even as the older faces around them frown or disappear.  As the piece begins:


They watched mentors lose their jobs.  They saw the desks around them empty.  They saw passions flare, tears flow and the newspapers they’d staked their futures on shrink in size.  And their careers are only just beginning. The real-world experience that newspaper interns gained this summer wasn’t exactly what many expected, but it apparently hasn’t crippled their enthusiasm for news.


Please check out the rest of the story.  It’s a great quick read.

A Sports-Centered, This-Just-In Web Rumor

A sports-centered, this-just-in Web rumor, via The Big Lead, via College Rag: ESPN is actively pursuing a major “college sports project” that will challenge for college sports reporting dominance.  College Rag writes that the project will include student journalists, although no relevant sources are cited.  Below is a screenshot of what The Big Lead reports is one of the project’s sites-in-progress: Bucknuts, focused on sports at Ohio State University.



The two most pertinent questions to CMM: How will this help or hurt college media outlets’ sports coverage??  And is it confirmed that college journalists will somehow be involved??

Enquirer.Sg Debuts

The Enquirer, an ambitious, issues-based online news outlet begun by j-students at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University (NTU), recently debuted online. 




The site’s founders hope to provide a more realistic window into NTU students’ world, using the World Wide Web as a platform for truly free expression that is not possible within school-sanctioned publications.  In an introductory editorial headlined, “Reason for Being,” the chief editor writes:


In setting up the Enquirer, we hope to restore the imbalance where readers have become almost an afterthought in this equation by answering only to our readers—the most important stakeholders in journalism. . . . There is currently a void in the discussion of issues. . . . We will fill that void with in-depth reporting on matters that impact the lives of NTU students.  True to our mission, we believe the student body of the university will be better off with one more outlet of news, and that is our reason of being.

Better RED Than Dead?

It will focus on “everything college life.”  RED, a new, ambitious general-interest student magazine has launched at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with the promise, “You haven’t read a magazine until you’ve read RED.”



The founders pitch RED as a “central publication to the university.”  They aim to fill a niche, ironically, by focusing bigger picture, attempting to present a must-read for all students beyond the many student mags more narrowly tailored to those of specific backgrounds or interests. 


According to co-founder Sydney Burdick, a UW-Madison junior: “Although there’s a diversity of students on campus and we all have our own things going on, we all have our own interests, we’re all Badgers.  We can all be our individual personalities, but on game day, we’re all red and we’re all Badgers.”


The Badger Herald, the student newspaper at UW-Madison, isn’t buying.  In an editorial headlined “Better dead than RED,” the sarcasm leapt off the page:    


The University of Wisconsin-Madison could use a little help in a few key areas. . . . However, one could hardly argue we suffer from a dearth of student publications on campus. In addition to the two student newspapers, there is a music-oriented quarterly, a humanities-oriented quarterly, the occasional rogue satire newspaper and a per-semester cultural arts magazine published in conjunction with the journalism school. Add in the Wisconsin State Journal, Isthmus, Onion and Capital Times, and it’s obvious there is no lack of reading material on this campus.  But, apparently, you haven’t read anything “until you’ve read RED.”  Yeah, we thought it was a typo too.


Wow.  In newspeak, those are fighting words!  Any thoughts?

The Story of the Student Press So Far This Semester…

The story of the student press so far this semester: The existence of the first sustained crack in college print papers’ seeming invincibility to the online takeover and economic downturn. 


Some major student newspapers have cut back print runs and claimed financial woes, at times tying them directly to the reasons behind the doom and gloom affecting professional papers.  In turn, other editors have fought back, declaring the college print press as vibrant, ad-worthy, and well-read as ever.  For example, late last month The Chronicle at Duke University claimed to be “insulated” from commercial newspaper woes. 


In response, Bryan Murley, founder of The Center for Innovation in College Media, pointed out the hard reality of such insulation: “Unfortunately, [the] students aren’t going to be shielded from the economics of the industry once they graduate.” 


His comment raises a new question definitely worth considering: Does too much work on a dying medium make student newspaper staffers the journalistic equivalent of twentysomething dinosaurs



As a follow-up, I asked Bryan whether any value remained for students to gain experience working on a print publication.  He wrote me the following:


I think working on a college publication is still relevant as long as students are getting training in thinking about the web alongside their print training. ALL students need to spend more time with their web sites, not just web editors or multimedia producers. The basics of telling a good story are still the same, but they need more to succeed in journalism in the future.

Skiff Thief Fesses Up: He Stole Papers to Protect Prof.

A Texas Christian University student has admitted stealing more than 1,300 copies of The Daily Skiff campus newspaper.  According to a Student Press Law Center report, the student’s theft was in protest of a photo run in a late-September issue featuring a professor who had been involved in some sort of fight with another prof.


TCU Student Publications Director Robert Bohler:


He was sitting in the guy’s class, opened the paper and was stunned.  When he left the class, he had some free time and decided to dump the papers in his free time, because the professor was one of his favorites.

A Counter to College Papers’ Printeriffic Optimism

The debate over the future of print student newspapers continues. The Brown Daily Herald currently features a piece countering the printeriffic optimism of a recent Chronicle of Higher Ed report.


In the article, the executive director of the National Scholastic Press Association said the flailing economy and online advertising alternatives are now hitting the student press:


College papers are only now starting to see ad revenue dwindle. But they are suffering from a shortfall in advertising revenue. If people aren’t advertising in local papers, they’re not advertising in college papers either. . . . I think if I had to bet, I’d say college publications will stay around in print longer than commercial newspapers.  But they’re ultimately going to have to find a way to make it work financially, just like commercial papers.

The general sentiment of the NSPA exec. director and the student editors quoted seems to be: Print newspapers will die, sooner or later. College print papers will outlast commercial papers, but they too must be ready to present news in a Web-only media universe.


What do you think?

Intellectuals, Iraq, and Award-Winning College Journalism

A Harvard Crimson reporter who explored the influence and about-face of the U.S. intellectual community on pre- and post-war Iraq has earned The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s 2008 David W. Miller Award for Student Journalists.


The three-part series by Harvard senior Lois Beckett, included a glimpse at red-faced academics who originally advocated regime change in Iraq or predicted an easy rebuilding process; a profile of a Harvard economics professor involved in the post-war rebuilding of Iraq’s economic infrastructure; and a feature pondering the responsibilities and difficulties intellectuals faced when deciding to publicly speak or stay silent about their positions for or against the Iraq War.


According to a Chronicle story on Beckett’s receipt of the award, “the Miller committee cited the depth of Ms. Beckett’s reporting, the balance of viewpoints she presented, and the grace of her writing.”

Journalism Teachers’ Protection Act Becomes Law in Calif.

High school and college educators in California who back student journalists’ free speech rights now have legal backing of their own to call upon when needed.


A new bill signed into law yesterday by the governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, makes it illegal to fire or otherwise discipline a teacher or adviser for supporting a student’s freedom of speech, including within journalism.


“Under the legislation, a school employee could not be ‘dismissed, suspended, disciplined, reassigned, transferred … solely for acting to protect a pupil engaged in’ constitutionally protected speech,” a recent Los Angeles Times op-ed explained, partially citing language from the bill, which was originally called The Journalism Teachers’ Protection Act. The op-ed later declared: “By providing a narrowly tailored protection for journalism advisors, SB 1370 will help the next generation of media professionals and their mentors, without threatening the educational mission of our schools.”

“You Will Forget What Sunlight Looks Like”

A journalism professor lightheartedly warned Texas A&M j-student Nicole Alvarado two years ago about her work on The Battalion student newspaper: “You will spend all your time in the newsroom. I don’t care what you say now-if you keep a job there, you will forget what sunlight looks like.”



In a recent state-of-the-newspaper address to readers, Alvarado, now Battalion editor in chief, happily admits the prof’s words had proven prescient. Her description of her current EIC duties provides a nice (timeless) glimpse into the work of a student journalist:


I find myself locked away in the basement of the Memorial Student Center five nights a week, eyes glued to a computer screen, watching the time with bated breath. Deadlines, stories, copy editing, AP Style…industry terms rush through my head as quickly as the second hand on the clock. The adrenaline rush and positive stress of working for the paper is what really gets my blood pumping. I can’t imagine myself being this happy with any other job.

“To Write is Already to Choose”

Student media in the Philippines currently face a number of challenges, according to a report from a newspaper in the province of Cebu. Chief among them: administrative censorship and a lack of funding.


One group working for the betterment of student journalists nationwide: the College Editors Guild of the Philippines.  CEGP is an alliance of roughly 750 student publications distributed at more than 500 schools across the country that declares itself “the national center for the advancement of campus press freedom.” Founded in 1931, it is the only student organization of its kind in the Asia-Pacific region.  One of the group’s mottos: “To write is already to choose.”



According to the CEGP head in Cebu: “As a campus journalist and as a writer, we help the masses and expose the ills of society. . . . It is up to the youth to be vigilant and to be critical minded especially in anti-people and anti-student issues.”