Campus Newspaper Files Lawsuit Against College, Says Officials ‘Intimidate & Harass Student Journalists’

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A dozen current and former staffers of The Calumet at Iowa’s Muscatine Community College are suing school officials for a series of actions they claim are harassing and in retaliation for quality journalism.

1Among the charges laid out in the lawsuit, covered in more detail by Mark Keierleber for a Student Press Law Center report: 1) The removal of the paper’s longtime faculty adviser Jim Compton soon after an odd dispute between the paper and an MCC professor. 2) A sudden reduction in funding and other attempts “to marginalize the journalism program” at the school. 3) A general push by some administrators and faculty to, in the words of the staff’s legal counsel, “create a restraint on free speech and to essentially let the newspaper — without getting rid of it — allow it to die on the vine.”

One example of these restraint efforts: An MCC admin filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint against the Calumet’s now-former adviser Jim Compton. Why? Because, gasp, the paper had the gall to report on the fact that the college’s student senate president had been named Student of the Month twice — in a contest in which the winning student’s uncle was a judge.

Then came the phone call. Read More

Editor to Student Newspaper: ‘Thank You for Giving Me a Front-Row Seat to a Hell of a Year’

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Sarah E. Brown is wrapping up her run as state and national editor of The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She’s also worked at or written for a host professional news organizations during her time at UNC including The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bloomberg, La Jeune Politique and the North Carolina daily The Pilot. In the post below — originally published on her blog and reposted here with permission — Brown says goodbye to the DTH. The sentiments are at times specific to Brown’s paper, school and coverage area, but they should also be recognizable more generally to anyone who’s served or is still serving on staff at a student media outlet.

By Sarah E. Brown

It hasn’t hit me that it’s all over. I’m not sure when it will.

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Sarah E. Brown is the outgoing state and national editor of The Daily Tar Heel at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon graduation, she will be working at The Chronicle of Higher Education.

For the past week I feel like I’ve gotten a much-needed few days off from The Daily Tar Heel to take finals in classes that I’ve mostly attended but to which I’ve sometimes not devoted my full attention (dear professors: I really am sorry). I’ve pretended not to care about my grades anymore — because, well, it’s the senior journalism major thing to do — but I care a little.

Now I’ve finished my last exam and have no plans for the next five days besides cleaning, packing, Netflix and a beer or two. I feel kind of confused

The DTH has structured my life five days a week for nine months. I knew I had to be in the office by 3:30 p.m. every day. Before then, I was frequently responding to texts and emails from staff writers who needed help with their story angle or who had called state legislator after state legislator and heard from none of them (no surprise there).

I squeezed in runs during the hour break between classes or between editing stories. Homework, papers and studying took a backseat until StatNat’s content was copyfit and the shells for the next day’s writers were written. That often wound up being 11 p.m. — or later.

No, I haven’t gotten enough sleep, I haven’t hung out nearly enough with people outside the newsroom and I haven’t given a whole lotta love to my battered GPA. But I wouldn’t have spent my final year at UNC any other way. Read More

Student Advice Columnist at U. of Kansas Helps Undergrads Navigate ‘Whirlwind of College Life’

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Anissa Fritz has the answers to your questions, concerns and insecurities. Need help motivating friends to exercise more? Ask Anissa. Trying to decide whether grad school is right for you? Ask Anissa. Working up the courage to talk to your crush after class? Ask Anissa.

“Ask Anissa” is a popular advice column produced for The University Daily Kansan at the University of Kansas. Since it debuted in January, Fritz, a rising junior from Carrollton, Texas, has weighed in on a bevy of life, love, health and career conundrums.

A few other samples: Should I get a dog? Should I transfer schools for my significant other? What if I hate my relationship partner’s pet names for me? How do I tell my roomie we won’t be sharing living quarters next year? Read More

College Media Geeks: Lisa Khoury, Award-Winning Journalist & U. of Buffalo Alum

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Lisa Khoury is a graduate of the University of Buffalo. During her time at UB, she served as managing editor of The Spectrum student newspaper.

Lisa Khoury graduated roughly a year ago from the University of Buffalo with an English degree, a certificate in journalism and multiple national awards for her reporting and editing work.

During her time at UB, Khoury served as managing editor of The Spectrum student newspaper and helped launch the outlet’s first online newscast Spectrum 360. She also interned at or contributed to Artvoice, Tonawanda News, WGRZ-TV and The Buffalo News.

Upon graduation, Khoury, a Buffalo native, worked first with the Buffalo News as a city and region reporter and later landed an internship with ABC News. Over the past seven months, she worked in the organization’s Specialized Units department, which handles investigative, medical, business and law and justice stories for all ABC News platforms. Read More

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

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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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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.” Read More

Former Student Newspaper Editor at American U. Talks Journalism, Washington D.C. & Nutella

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American University senior Heather Mongilio ran The Eagle student newspaper for 382 days. She moved on from the editor-in-chief position 14 days ago. She graduates in 10 days. She turned 22 two days ago. And she will be remembered by the Eagle crew for her journalism instincts and one very special dessert — the homemade Nutella and strawberry crescent rolls she baked and brought to weekly editorial meetings.

Read More

Journalism Lesson #1: Go Abroad NOW (Your Future Journalism Self Will Thank You)

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Click on the play button below to hear my spirited, rambly rundown about the opportunities awaiting future foreign correspondents and travel writers — even while still at the undergrad stage — if they’re simply willing to let go of fear or laziness and set foot outside the U.S. ASAP.

Read More

College Media & the Newsroom: ‘Why Do We Need Face Time When We Can Just FaceTime?’

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Roughly a week ago, the University of Tampa planned to kick The Minaret student newspaper out of its longtime newsroom — relocating the staff to a nearby office that is much smaller and without a few current amenities. The school’s rationale: A separate administrative team needs the newsroom space more than the paper nowadays.

Fortunately, in the face of mounting internal, social media and outside press pushback, UT administrators quickly caved and said the Minaret staff could stay in its current spot. But the larger question of newsroom relevancy lingers.

1In her recent farewell column, Hannah Jeffrey, outgoing editor-in-chief of The Daily Gamecock at the University of South Carolina, wrote, “I go to the newsroom like most people go home. I’ve screwed up there. I’ve cried hard and laughed way harder there. I’ve gotten and delivered the best and worst news there. I’ve moved on there.”

Do most collegiate journalists share Jeffrey’s sentiments? Is the student press newsroom still like home to them? Or have they moved on to a more anywhere-everywhere platform-based journalism existence?

To dig into these questions, I reached out like usual to the spring 2015 CMM Fellows — an elite crew of top editors and reporters at student media across the U.S. and in Europe — to get their perspectives on a main question prompt: In the digital-mobile era, how important is a permanent newsroom space for your news outlet? Or as one of the Fellows puts it: “Why do we need face time when we can just FaceTime?” Read More

College Media News: Peace, Love, Weed, Theft, Transparency Issues & March Madness Memories

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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.

Peace, Love, Weed … Theft? This past Tuesday, hundreds of copies of The Daily Gamecock at the University of South Carolina were swiped and trashed. The top story on that day’s front page was about a pro-marijuana rally, accompanied by a prominent photo of a student holding up a sign reading “Peace, Love, Weed.” The student is smiling in the shot but requested Tuesday that the pic be removed from the Daily Gamecock website and social media feeds. Might the peace-love-weed supporter be the student newspaper thief? Editor-in-chief Hannah Jeffrey tells the Student Press Law Center: “I don’t want to directly link it without the proof. All we know is that he came up and talked to our student media director and asked for the picture to be taken down. … And right around that time, someone came in and we have video of them taking the papers. I don’t want to connect A and B without that link but that’s our hunch.” Read More

Daily Titan Calls Out Cal State Fullerton Officials for Media Silence, Stonewalling & Rudeness

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The main image accompanying a new editorial in The Daily Titan at California State University, Fullerton, depicts a massive, seemingly impenetrable red brick wall with the words CSUF ADMINISTRATION scrawled across it. At the bottom, a tiny gentleman in a reporter’s cap is shown asking, “Would you like to comment on anything?”

According to the Daily Titan, the answer is often “nope,” or at least “not really.” Student newspaper staffers are apparently facing an increasingly air-tight and frustrating wall of silence or an overwhelmingly slew of PR dreck when seeking quotes and context for stories. Read More

‘Unwarranted Minaret Eviction': U. of Tampa Student Newspaper Forced from Newsroom, Relocated to Much Smaller Space

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Update, Friday April 24th: University officials have reversed their decision and cancelled the eviction.

Start of original post, from Thursday April 23rd:

The Minaret at the University of Tampa has been evicted from its newsroom in the campus student center and shoved into a nearby space roughly half the size. The required relocation was ordered without input from staffers, the paper’s faculty adviser or anyone else connected to student media or journalism education at the school.

In a meeting on Monday — timed curiously to occur when current faculty adviser Tiffini Theisen was teaching and so could not attend — administrators surprised a pair of top Minaret staffers and an incoming faculty adviser/journalism professor with news about the move. School officials told them the Student Conduct Office needed the newsroom space more than the student newspaper — which has occupied it for more than a decade.

As Theisen wrote in an email to admins and Minaret supporters, “Less than 24 hours after that, moving boxes were dumped onto busy students during the most hectic time of the semester, in a grim indication that the decision was final and it would be up to them to take on the enormous task of packing the entire office in their ‘spare’ time.” Read More

Pitt News Editors: Former New York Times Leader Jill Abramson ‘Hasn’t Let Journalism’s Reinvention or Gender Disparity Clobber Her Optimism’

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Jill Abramson ventured last week to the Steel City to talk journalism with University of Pittsburgh students. In recent months, the former New York Times executive editor has popped up evermore frequently in the mainstream press and on geeky insider media sites. The buzzwords surrounding most pieces about her and her post-NYT endeavors: Women Leaders in the Newsroom. Traditional Media’s Future. $100,000 Stories. And $1 Million Book Deal.

Prior to a class chat at Pitt, Abramson kindly sat for an interview with Pitt News editor-in-chief Natalie Daher (also a CMM Editorial Fellow) and managing editor Danielle Fox. Read More

Incoming Kansan Editor-in-Chief at KU: ‘We’re One of the Best Student Media Organizations, So Let’s Prove It’

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Katie Kutsko, incoming editor-in-chief of The University Daily Kansan at the University of Kansas, is currently oozing awesomely geeky journalism passion. It has spilled over into a compelling manifesto on the publishing platform Medium in which she rouses the Kansan gang and sets forth a vision to change “the newsroom’s culture from top to bottom.” In her words, “We’re one of the best student media organizations, so let’s prove it.”

The 110-year-old Kansan has been killing it lately, including through the staff’s sustained efforts to report on and call greater attention to issues and incidences of student sexual violence.

But change is coming — including a drop starting this August from daily to twice per week in print. With this shift as a foundation, Kutsko proposes a series of other renovations and reinventions touching on areas ranging from staffing and news production to content and reader engagement. Overall, her white paper for a revitalized Kansan reads as a fascinating case study for other college media to analyze and consider. Kudos to Kutsko for sharing it publicly, raw and in full. Read More

College Media News: Kentucky Kernel Editor Killed, Northern Michigan Lawsuit, ‘Fiscal Strains,’ Print Cutbacks & Oklahoma City Bombing Anniversary

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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.

“A Campus Remembers.” Kentucky Kernel photo editor Jonathan Krueger was shot and killed in an alleged robbery-homicide near the University of Kentucky campus last week. Two suspects have been arrested and charged. Kernel staffer Annie Dunbar: “Jonathan Krueger never met a stranger. He had an infectious smile, made an impression on everyone he met, was constantly looking for the next adventure and always maintained a positive attitude. Krueger lived for adventures. From showing everyone videos of intense snowboarding stunts that he planned to reenact or attempting to do tricks on his bike in the Kernel office, Krueger was the definition of ‘YOLO.'” (The Kentucky Kernel, University of Kentucky) Read More

‘It Happens Here, Too': Student Newspaper at Loyola Marymount Spotlights Sexual Violence in Special Report

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I carried with me the hopes of my family. … I carried my own aspirations. Most importantly, I carried the possibility of a fresh start as a burgeoning young woman in the city of my dreams. But those hopes and that naive sense of possibility were taken away from me the night I was raped. I was left empty, my humanity stripped from me, alone in a sea of skyscrapers.”

A new five-page special report in The Los Angeles Loyolan at Loyola Marymount University dissects and contemplates sexual violence on the modern college campus from multiple perspectives — including a student rape survivor, the parents of a student rape survivor and a sexual assault perpetrator.

The guest column by the student survivor’s parents is especially compelling. They share details of their daughter’s rape this past Halloween at a house party, their subsequent prolonged grief and their continued lack of understanding at what compels individuals to rape or help protect an alleged rapist. Read More