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?

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

University Daily Kansan at KU Goes Digital-First, Shifting to Twice-Weekly Print Edition in Fall 2015

The University Daily Kansan is set to become a digital-first enterprise. Beginning in the fall, the student newspaper at the University of Kansas will focus more intently on “utilizing online resources” while shifting its print publishing schedule from four days per week to two. Amid the reinvention, however, the UDK editorial board confirms to readers, “We aren’t changing the news — just how you consume it.”

In an announcement, top editors broke down what they feel are the financial and editorial benefits of the shift: “We believe the money used to print and distribute Tuesday and Wednesday papers can be allocated more effectively in a way that will best benefit our readers. … While the production of the printed paper will be reduced by half, the Kansan will not cover only half the news. Without the stress and pressure of producing content for four print editions per week, the Kansan staff will focus its resources on breaking news, multimedia and online-exclusive content, as well as in-depth articles for the two print editions per week for news, arts and features, sports and opinion content.” Read More

Student Newspaper Sex Edition Flagged as Explicit By Digital Publisher Issuu

[Update, Feb. 12th: Can we claim a minor victory? It appears less than 24 hours after this post went up and some outside media reported on it and linked to it, Issuu ‘unblocked’ the issue — although DiNatale tells me some of the Spectrum’s old sex issues remain trapped behind the “Content Warning” screen.]

Joining a slew of other student newspapers nationwide, The Spectrum at the University of Buffalo just released its annual sex edition. You can view it through the popular digital publishing platform Issuu — but only if you sign in first and prove you are a legal adult.

According to Spectrum editor-in-chief Sara DiNatale, Issuu has flagged the sex-themed edition as explicit and deems its content as potentially “inappropriate for some users.” The designation forces all readers to first log in to Issuu and confirm they are at least 18 years old before they can check it out. It also means Spectrum staffers cannot share the Issuu-hosted link on Facebook, an obviously essential promotional platform for a student outlet. (The Issuu plug-in is still active on the Spectrum website at this point.) Read More

Media Ethics Alert: Should Chinese Journalists Have Snapped Photos of Dead Pop Star?

By Kelly Patterson, CMM correspondent

In an op-ed for The Red & Black, a University of Georgia student questions whether advancements in technology are giving journalists new platforms to speak or simply enabling them to exploit subjects without a voice of their own.

As part of her debate, UGA sophomore Hannah Gray specifically targets the overzealous coverage of recently deceased Chinese pop star Yao Beina — flogging it as a blatant abuse of journalistic responsibility.

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Advice for Young Journalists: 100 Silly & Serious Tweets Sharing Words of Wisdom

The hashtag #AdviceforYoungJournalists exploded like a thunderbolt on the Twitterverse last night and trended out of the blue worldwide. Thousands upon thousands of 140-character words of wisdom were unleashed in rapid succession.

Some of the advice tweets are deliciously snarky. Others contain straightforward and uber-significant tips. And still others are cringeworthy cynical or genuinely strange. Collectively, they are tweet-plated gold for student journos and fresh grads looking to break into the media game.

Below are 100 #AdviceforYoungJournalists tweets that caught my eye, made me laugh out loud or triggered a vigorous head nod. I present them in no particular order, purposefully shooting for a mix of funny, on-point and slightly out there. Read More

Dan Rant: The University of Oklahoma Blacklist & Student Press Censorship

In the wake of guacamole-gate at the University of Oklahoma, one of the country’s leading talent agencies is declaring war on the student press and good journalism everywhere.

As I previously posted, The Oklahoma Daily recently reported on some quirky details included in a contract that rock star Jack White signed to perform at OU. In response, William Morris Endeavor Entertainment — which represents White and many other A-listers and B-listers — has blacklisted OU. The agency says 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.

As a journalism professor who covers the student press, I find the agency’s decision frightening, infuriating — and worthy of a video rant. Check it out and please spread the word about this blacklist ridiculousness to other student and professional media. Read More

The Binge Movement: 20 Things College Students are Currently Obsessing Over & Addicted To

The binge movement is having a moment. As a term, hashtag and activity, the binge phenomenon has firmly implanted itself into all corners of pop culture and proven especially trendy among college students and the Millennial generation.

It began with binge eating and drinking. It segued to binge watching. And now 21st-century teens and early twentysomethings are proudly and secretly bingeing on every conceivable food, drink, drug, product, activity, article of clothing, celebrity, TV show, movie, mobile app, book series, website, hashtag, video game, form of exercise, travel location, social movement and (whew) sports team.

In the spirit of this binge boom, I recently asked my own students to share a bit about what they’re currently bingeing on. Specifically, I wanted to know what they most intensely and consistently obsess over, engage in or can’t live without. I was also interested in what fuels their particular binge focus and the impact it is having on their lives and the lives of those around them. Read More

The Student Paper, the Rock Star & a Recipe for ‘FRESH HOME-MADE GUACAMOLE’

Musician Jack White went on a mini-rant against The Oklahoma Daily during a concert Monday night at Oklahoma University. He claimed the student newspaper violated his privacy and also said on stage that he spoke with Daily editors about the Freedom of Information Act — a chat that did not actually take place.

Yowza. So what compelled the A-list performer to publicly criticize the top-notch campus paper and blurt out what one observer (awesomely) called “a White lie”?

As Judy Gibbs Robinson, the pub’s editorial adviser and OU’s assistant director of student media, tells me, “He was unhappy that the Daily had reported on his contract, including demands that no bananas be present anywhere, no photos be allowed and guacamole be made for him according to his own recipe.” Read More

7 Standout Student Press Stories: Big Brother, a Two-Year Beard, ‘Tragedy ADD’ & ‘Michigan’s Most Intergalactic Fan’

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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College Media News: Daily Texan Still Waiting for Help, DJ Giggles & an ‘Open Letter to Taylor Swift’

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.

1An All-Female Board. The Cavalier Daily at the University of Virginia has elected an all-female managing board for the first time in its 126-year history. Incoming editor-in-chief Julia Horowitz: “I want to make sure that when news breaks two months from now, five months from now, 12 months from now that we have an institution there that can react … and that comes from being financially sustainable.” (The Cavalier Daily, University of Virginia)

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CMM Fellows: What’s Your Journalism Junk Food?

From the moment student journalists first enter a newsroom or introductory reporting class, they are told to feast on and learn as much as possible from A-list national news sources like The New York Times, The Washington Post and 60 Minutes. Yet, that doesn’t mean they can resist clicking on, scrolling through and checking out less esteemed, less known or less serious press entrees as well.

With that in mind, I recently reached out to the spring 2015 CMM Fellows — an elite crew of top editors and reporters at student media across the U.S. and in Europe — with a simple question: What is your journalism or media junk food? Read More

‘American Sniper’: Student Media Review Film & Debate Its Cultural Significance

“American Sniper” has ruled at the box office for the past two weekends, racking up record-breaking grosses while also earning multiple Oscar nominations.

The film – focused on the life and legendary Iraq War exploits of Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle – has also stirred patriotic fervor and criticism in equal measure. Mainstream and social media continue to debate the film’s accuracy, its depiction of snipers, its perspective on the U.S. military presence in Iraq, its impact on the Arab and Muslim communities and whether Kyle represents everything that is right or wrong with America today.

Amid those debates and staggeringly strong ticket sales, student journalists nationwide are weighing in with their own reviews of the film and commentaries on its political and cultural significance. Read More