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20 Science Journalism Tips, Myths, Rules, Tools & Sources of Inspiration

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By Leigh Anne TiffanyCMM correspondent

During a session at the 2014 ACP/CMA National College Media Convention, Henriette Löwisch dispelled, upended and beat back a few of the sillier and more serious stigmas surrounding science journalism. She also offered aspiring science journalists some sound advice.

Löwisch’s perspectives and words of wisdom are backed by years of related reporting and research and from the vantage point of her current well-respected post — journalism professor and director of the Environmental and Natural Resource Journalism graduate program at the University of Montana.

As her ACP/CMA conference session description stated, “Science stories should be an integral part of your college publication, and they don’t have to be boring. Discover the human side of scientific research and take away tricks on how to translate jargon into plain English.” Read More

1 Million Story Ideas Special: ‘Big Talk’

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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. Everything journalism was, is and will be rests on our ability to tell a story. And every story starts with an idea.

So let’s brainstorm. Read More

2014 College Media Year in Review, Part 4: ‘Poking Fun at an Inherently Funny Topic’

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Along with financial woes, technological reboots and excellent editorial work [see parts one, two and three], college media 2014 has been filled with free press and free speech heroes — including Oklahoma University student Joey Stipek and The Oklahoma Daily campus newspaper.

Stipek, the Daily’s special projects editor, filed a lawsuit last year calling for the release of the university’s parking ticket records — which he believed were public. The school stalled, until last month, when the Daily dropped an editorial bombshell across its entire front page: The paper was planning to join Stipek’s suit.

The school almost immediately caved, releasing the records. Administrators at Oklahoma State followed suit soon after. The bottom-line lesson, as the headline of a related Daily special report confirmed, “Students Speak, Change Happens.Read More

2014 College Media Year in Review, Part 3: ‘A Complete War Zone’

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Over the past year, along with reinventing and beating back evermore present financial challenges [see part one and part two], student media and student journalists inserted themselves into a number of hot-button national and international issues and events.

For example, during the 2014 Winter Olympics, the mastermind of the massively popular Twitter account and social media phenomenon @SochiProblems was a 20-year-old journalism student at Toronto’s Centennial College named Alexander Broad. Read More

2014 College Media Year in Review, Part 2: ‘Welcome to the Future of the Future’

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Along with reinvention [see part one], one other resounding trend among college media in 2014 was financial duress — and efforts to either beat it back or at least keep it at bay.

For example, facing an “apocalyptic threat” due to low cash reserves, The Daily Texan entered into a once-unimaginable partnership with the Moody College of Communications at the University of Texas at Austin. The Texan’s top editor at the time confirmed to readers that “the paper I’ve made the cornerstone of my college experience may never turn a profit again.”

After similarly failing to turn profits or secure needed student fees support, The Famuan at Florida A&M University, The Collegian at the University of Richmond and The California Aggie at the University of California, Davis, dropped their print editions. Read More

2014 College Media Year in Review, Part 1: ‘Go to Hell & Take the Print Newspaper with You’

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Roughly a month ago, Kyle Plantz agreed to shout strangers’ names in a newsroom for only $5.

Plantz, 20, a junior journalism major at Boston University, is not crazy. He’s passionate — about The Daily Free Press. In early November, the FreeP, the 45-year-old independent student newspaper at BU, launched a fundraising campaign to pay off a $70,000 debt and maintain some semblance of a print presence.

So what’s with all the shouting? As the paper’s editor-in-chief, Plantz promised to scream the names of everyone who donated at least $5 to the campaign — at random moments during production nights. Read More

1 Million Story Ideas Special: Movies in Class

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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. Everything journalism was, is and will be rests on our ability to tell a story. And every story starts with an idea.

So let’s brainstorm. Read More

Student Column Triggers Vandalism, Threats & Termination from Competing Campus Paper

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Before 2 a.m. last Friday, four young women entered an apartment complex near the University of Michigan.

Once inside, the anonymous quartet quickly donned oversized hoodies and proceeded to leave eggs, gum, uncooked hot dogs, a picture of the devil and handwritten notes containing vulgar asides and threats at the doorway of a UM student who wrote a campus newspaper column they apparently didn’t like. They then took photos of their handiwork and fled the scene.

College Fix calls the incident a hate crime. Read More

Adviser on Student Paper’s Online-Only Shift: ‘It’s Been a Roller-Coaster, Mostly Good, So Far’

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At the start of this past semester, The Columns at Missouri’s Westminster College reintroduced itself to readers as an online-only news outlet.

As I previously posted, the longtime student newspaper was forced to cut its regular print edition — and staff pay — due to a larger budget crunch impacting the student government and numerous campus groups at the liberal arts school. Columns adviser and Westminster English & Journalism professor Maureen Tuthill told local press last spring, “SGA’s budget was cut massively, and they’re dealing with some difficult situations, which we completely sympathize with. We’re just trying to figure out a way to stay alive.”

Its news-gathering operations have now been alive solely online for more than three months. How has the Columns 2.0 experience been going so far?

Given the massive print reductions and digital tinkering taking place throughout collegemediatopia, it’s a very pertinent question. Fortunately, Tuthill was kind enough to weigh in recently with some appreciably candid thoughts. Read More

Kansas State Student Shares the ‘Top Seven Woes of All Journalism Majors’

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Caffeine is your wonder-drug. A reporter’s notebook is a required appendage. And AP Style must be considered your second language.

These are a few of the sentiments Kansas State University senior Lindsey Staab considers the most sacrosanct among j-students worldwide. In a lively new column for The Collegian which compelled me to smile and nod repeatedly, Staab focuses on “the top seven woes of all journalism majors” — although depending on your perspective the woes can easily be read as seven wonders.

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Here are two of the wonderful woes Staab, a Collegian editor, lays out in her well-written piece:

Reading any publication or watching a video clip is no longer pure entertainment. No longer can we just look at a magazine or video package at surface level. We’re looking at design, layout and of course, the content. Our brains begin the analysis. Is this really the best quote they could’ve used? This segment would’ve been so much more captivating if it had been shot at ground level, right? Sigh. Gone are the days of being able to read an article without having an internal debate about serif versus san-serif font. …

If you hear one more person ask if you’re ‘worried print is dying,’ you’ll smack them with with a stylebook. As all print journalism majors hear anytime they state their desired career path — print is dead. Except it isn’t. Are hard-copy, newspaper subscriptions declining? Sure. But there is still plenty of demand for reading the written word, regardless of the medium. We’ll shake our heads or grin and bare it, because when it comes down to it, we love what we do, no matter what.”

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College Media Geeks: Marisa Iati, Notre Dame Alum & MainJustice.com Reporter

Marisa Iati
Atop the homepage of her professional portfolio site, Marisa Iati doesn’t introduce herself by immediately linking to published clips.

She starts off instead with a quick-hit list of the cities she has covered — including New York City, Pittsburgh, Pa., Princeton, N.J., South Bend, Ind., and Washington D.C.

As Iati, a 2014 graduate of Notre Dame University and a former reporter and editor for The Observer student newspaper, writes, “In more than four years as a news writer, I’ve reported in each of these places, constantly seeking out interesting people, important policy-making and untold stories. I’ve become accustomed to exploring unfamiliar cities and adapting quickly to new environments, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Iati, 22, is currently making her way and leaving her mark on Washington D.C. As a reporter for MainJustice.com, an independent outlet focused on “insider news about the U.S. Department of Justice,” she has covered everything from governmental support for foreign counterterrorism measures to recent die-in protests linked to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Read More

1 Million Story Ideas Special: International Student Guide

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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. Everything journalism was, is and will be rests on our ability to tell a story. And every story starts with an idea.

So let’s brainstorm. Read More

Arizona State Journalism Student Launches Groundbreaking Deaf & Hearing Network

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Inspiration alert: A journalism student at Arizona State University launched and maintains a trailblazing news operation known as the Deaf and Hearing Network.

According to a Downtown Devil report, DHN is “the first news broadcast to combine speaking, signing and captions.” As the network’s About page confirms, “We will give millions of deaf and hard of hearing people — as well as hearing, American Sign Language students, interpreters and generally curious people — a way to get news in the language they prefer.” Read More

Daily Iowan Editor Criticizes the Cancellation of One-on-One Interviews with School President

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Should a student newspaper have the right to conduct regular interviews with the university president?

Jordyn Reiland, editor-in-chief of The Daily Iowan, is publicly calling for the reinstatement of monthly sit-down interviews with University of Iowa president Sally Mason. According to Reiland, the exclusive one-on-one chats were a valued tradition between the prez and paper — until they were abruptly cancelled in June. Read More

Fascinating Student Column Focuses on ‘The Fine Print’ of College Life

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Nathan Lichtenstein likes looking at the fine print.

Over the past year, the Rochester Institute of Technology junior has dived into the nitty gritty of policies, procedures and contracts impacting RIT students, faculty and staff. The related column he produces every other week — aptly named “The Fine Print” — runs in the student news outlet Reporter Magazine. Read More

10 Tips for Successfully Pitching Stories & Yourself to Top Magazines and Other Media

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By Leigh Anne TiffanyCMM correspondent

During a session at the 2014 ACP/CMA National College Media Convention, journalist, j-prof and reality TV blogger extraordinaire Andy Dehnart shared a slew of timely and time-tested tips on pitching and publishing stories in major magazines and other media outlets.

As his session description asked, “How do you find places to publish your writing? How do you craft effective pitches that will get an editor’s attention? How do you find success as a freelancer? A journalist, TV critic and writer who’s written for Buzzfeed, Playboy, NPR, The New York Times and The Daily Beast, among other publications, will give you secrets to making your way as a writer.
” Read More

1 Million Story Ideas Special: ‘Sell Us Your Major’

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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. Everything journalism was, is and will be rests on our ability to tell a story. And every story starts with an idea.

So let’s brainstorm. Read More

Student Journalists Debate ‘Death with Dignity': Selfish Act or Personal Right?

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Roughly a month ago, Brittany Maynard ended her life on her own terms.

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‘Sex and a Whole Load of Carnage': UK Student Newspaper Criticized for Explicit Front Page

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It’s a Thursday morning in December, so here’s some free advice for college media mavens worldwide: You may want to steer clear of publishing a front-page story celebrating your student body’s sexual antics right next to a separate report on a series of suspected rapes. You’re welcome.

Read More

Editor at OU Student Paper Criticizes No-Photo Policy in Campus Dining Halls & Markets

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A section editor at The Post student newspaper is annoyed at a longstanding policy prohibiting individuals from taking photographs in the dining halls or on dining services property without permission.

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