The weekly podcast spotlights big college media news, standout student press work and tons of innovative tech tools. Click on the image above to listen in.

Journalism Student Creates ‘Video Letter Thing to My 16-Year-Old Self’

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Divya Bhavani is “an Indian journalism student living in London, who grew up in Botswana.On her page, she describes herself in all caps as three things: a “THIRSTY SOUL, THRIVING MIND [and] THEATRICAL HEART.”

Eschewing theatrics for sheer candor, Bhavani has created a new vlog post — cheeky, rambling and true — outlining life lessons she has picked up since her middle-teen years. The title of the roughly seven-minute confessional is possibly the best part: “A Video Letter Thing to My 16 Year Old Self.” Read More

Student Newspaper National Championship, Sweet 16 Special: Top Editors Weigh In!


Snapchat. The JFK assassination. Crowdfunding. Racial microaggressions. A #BestintheWest social media campaign. Wildcat Weekend. The Daily Cardinal Action Project. An on-campus barbershop. Marijuana legalization. A professor arrested for prostitution. An Oreo ice cream cake. Bikinis. A trampoline. A cigar. Blake Lively. And a microwave.

These are a few of the many random elements weaved into the editorial and new media successes of the student newspapers below over the past few semesters. Each of the papers operates at a school whose men’s hoops squad qualified for the Sweet Sixteen, starting later today.

I asked the top editors at the papers to sell me — half serious, half tongue-in-cheek (if they’d like) — on why their outlets deserve a spot in the Final Four of what I’m dubbing the CMM 2014 Student Newspaper National Championship. Read More

Student Journalist on SXSW Tragedy Coverage: ‘If It Bleeds, It Shouldn’t Always Lead’

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“Hey, I think something happened out there. … Something really bad just happened.”

Roughly two weeks ago in Austin, Texas, while waiting for rapper Tyler the Creator to take the stage during a show at South by Southwest (SXSW), Jane Claire Hervey witnessed the immediate aftermath of a deadly crash. A 21-year-old man is being charged with murder for plowing his car through a crowd of festival-goers, allegedly while drunk, killing three and injuring more than two dozen.

In a compelling piece earlier this week for Orange, the online student magazine she helps run at the University of Texas at Austin, Hervey writes publicly for the first time about what she saw — and experienced — firsthand. Read More

Beating Back ‘Apocalyptic Threat,’ Daily Texan Will Remain Daily in Print (for Now)

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The Daily Texan is emerging intact from a longstanding “apocalyptic threat” possibly involving radical cutbacks or a full shutdown. The daily student newspaper at the University of Texas at Austin will remain daily in print, at least in the short term.

The save-the-daily heroes: officials at the Moody College of Communication. The top Moodster, dean Roderick Hart, has told the DT’s overseeing body Texas Student Media (TSM) that the college will step in with money and fundraising prowess to help the paper weather its current financial mess. Read More

Yoga, ‘Demonic Hindu Gods,’ Perez Hilton & a Student Newspaper Op-Ed Controversy

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A student newspaper in Arkansas has somehow managed to anger representatives of Hinduism and the world’s largest bloc of peaceful meditators in a single op-ed. Even Perez Hilton has weighed in. Ready for this one? Assume the Lotus position.

A recent commentary in The Threefold Advocate at John Brown University contends that yoga has its roots in some actual devilry of the Hindu variety. As student Deborah Raiees-Dana writes:

“This column is not a theological exegesis, but rather a heartfelt cry. I understand that yoga has become an accepted part of the American culture. The National Institute of Health promotes it vigorously and much of the Church has accepted it as harmless. I have to disagree. As I have been thinking of all the arguments and reasons why yoga is not as beneficial as we’ve been led to believe, it all keeps coming back to the fact that yoga has its roots in the worship of demonic Hindu gods.”

Wait, what? Read More

Leading Student Newspaper in the UK May Be Unable to Publish Due to ‘Funding Crisis’

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The Leeds Student at Britain’s Leeds University may be unable to publish a print edition for the remainder of the semester due to a “funding crisis” involving the school’s student union. The student newspaper’s sudden print-less plight has spurred a stream of criticism and concern from student groups, Leeds alumni and some of the paper’s former staffers — including those now working at A-list media throughout the UK. Read More

’14 Student Newspaper National Championship: A College Media March Madness Bracket


Update: Sweet 16 Special: Editors Weigh In!

With the play-in games complete and the 2014 NCAA men’s basketball tournament officially set to start, I have completed a purposefully quirky college media March Madness bracket. It is inspired by a tweeted suggestion I received last night from Cory Weinberg, the bespectacled editor-in-chief extraordinaire from The GW Hatchet.

His request: “[Y]ou should post a bracket where teams win based on quality of college paper.” The tweet was quickly favorited by what I assume are faux Twitter accounts Weinberg set up to publicly pat himself on the back. Read More

Due to Budget Cuts, Student Newspaper at Missouri College May Go Online-Only

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The Columns student newspaper at Westminster College may be forced to drop staff pay and stop printing starting next fall due to budget cuts being imposed by the Student Government Association.

The SGA at the liberal arts school in Fulton, Mo., is apparently facing its own financial woes, forcing tough decisions on a variety of student programs and groups. As the paper’s adviser Maureen Tuthill tells the Columbia Daily Tribune, “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.” Read More

Temple Student Sues Philly Police After Being Arrested for Photojournalism Class Assignment

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A Temple University student is suing a pair of Philadelphia police officers over a two-year-old incident in which the student says he was mistreated, falsely arrested and prevented from practicing journalism.

On a whim one evening in March 2012, Temple film and media arts major Ian Van Kuyk snapped photos of police pulling over a neighbor’s car near his apartment in South Philadelphia. The pictures were part of a “night-photography assignment” he was completing for a photojournalism course. Read More

Out of Money, California Aggie Becomes ‘Volunteer-Based, All-Digital Newspaper’

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Facing enormous financial difficulties, editors of The California Aggie have decided to “halt all print production” and cease staff pay for the rest of spring semester. It leaves the University of California, Davis — at least temporarily — as the only school in the UC system without a print student newspaper.

As I previously posted, over the past five years, the Aggie’s advertising revenue has been in absolute free-fall, depleting its budget reserves from a half million dollars to less than $20,000. The number of paid staffers — and the amount they receive — had simultaneously dropped. And the paper had also shifted from an almost-daily (four times per week) to a weekly in print to help offset costs.

Read More

O’Colly at Oklahoma State Changes Name, Size & Publication Schedule

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The O’Colly, the impossibly awesome student newspaper at Oklahoma State University, is undergoing a massive reinvention that will leave it with a new name, new printing schedule and new print issue size.

Moving forward, the paper will be known as the O’Colly — its  longtime nickname (and web address) — instead of its current moniker The Daily O’Collegian. The loss of Daily in the name mirrors the dropping of daily in the printing schedule description. Staff will now put out a print edition three times each week instead of five. And the new every-other-day issues will be tabloid-sized instead of broadsheet. Read More

Southern Oregon Student Newspaper Faces Funding Cuts, Fewer Readers, Zero Ad Revenue


Funding for The Siskiyou student newspaper at Southern Oregon University will be cut starting next fall, leaving staff without pay and saddled with a website currently not sporting a single advertisement.

According to The Medford Mail Tribune, the Siskiyou went online-only in 2011. High-hopes about interactivity and 24-hour updates have faded to concerns about campus relevancy, low readership, less fresh content, fewer staff and now literally zero ad revenue.

Siskiyou editor Shannon Houston: “I do know our visibility has decreased, being online only. It makes it harder to let students know that we’re even around. In the long run, that [will] probably affect revenue.” Read More

20 Journalism Tips & Perspectives from Scott Pelley at ‘CBS Evening News’ & ’60 Minutes’

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“CBS Evening News” anchor and “60 Minutes” correspondent Scott Pelley inspired and educated journalism students, advisers and professors earlier this afternoon in New York City as the opening keynote speaker of the 2014 CMA Spring National College Media Convention. He delivered a plethora of what attendees described as “Twitter-friendly soundbites” related to advice and thoughts on the news business circa now. Read More

Washington State Student Newspaper Sex Column Featured on ‘The Colbert Report’

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Anal sex is huge right now at Washington State University. A seemingly innocuous column in The Daily Evergreen student newspaper touching on the backdoor shenanigans has officially entered the viral stratosphere – landing on an episode of “The Colbert Report” earlier this week.

The fun, perfectly sensible piece by staff writer Abby Student (yes, it’s her real name) pokes at the prevalence, psychological underpinnings and physical concerns of anal sex. It mixes references to an iconic Robert Frost poem (“The Road Not Taken”) and a comic strip joking about “backstage passes” with some basic advice about “safety first” and engaging in Kegel exercises post-anal-sex to help regain “bowel control.” Read More

Live from New York: Lots of Story Ideas at the CMA Spring National College Media Convention


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.

Building off this idea, a group of student and adviser attendees joined me this morning for a special workshop on the day before the official start of the CMA Spring National College Media Convention. (Pic below.) The goal: share and brainstorm as many story ideas as we could from the most unlikely or seemingly ordinary sources. Read More

Say Hi in New York! Stop By My Story Ideas, Sex, Satire & Hackathon Sessions

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Beginning Wednesday, the epicenter of the college media universe is New York City, The Big Apple, site of the CMA Spring National College Media Convention. I’ll soon be camped out at the Sheraton New York, along with a slew of other j-profs, student press advisers, professional journalists and j-students extraordinaire. Read More

Minnesota Daily Photos of Student Drinking & Drug Use Stir Reactions, Questions

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The Minnesota Daily provoked some arched eyebrows, at least a few guffawed social media reactions and one administrative email for a candid photo spread published last week as part of a report on student drug use and drinking in campus dorms.

The report itself is mostly innocuous, a by-the-numbers rundown of cited infractions over the past five years in University of Minnesota residence halls. Unsurprisingly, the largest chunk of documented dorm-related bad behavior is linked to alcohol and illegal drug use. Cue the provocative photos — displaying in-progress student consumption or preparation of substances such as marijuana and MDMA. Read More

College Media Podcast: Public Ethics Codes & an Expresso Writing Tool

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Welcome to the latest installment of the College Media Podcast. The CMP is a collaborative venture with Bryan Murley from the Center for Innovation in College Media.

The podcast’s aim: spotlighting big college media news, standout student press work and an array of helpful and innovative tips, sites, programs and tech tools. Read More

Reporting on Student Honor Code Violations: Student Pubs at Emory, Princeton Dive In

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The Emory Wheel, the campus newspaper at Emory University, will soon begin publishing the details of student honor code violations. It is the first college pub I’ve come across willing and able (through an arrangement with the school) to report on the results of Honor Council cases — proceedings normally conducted in strict confidence.

As outlined in Emory’s Honor Code, the most common student violations appear to be instances of plagiarism, fabrication, exam cheating and lying to a professor or administrator.

Similar to the style in which many student papers run campus police reports, the Wheel’s honor code coverage will feature “brief summaries that describe the nature of the violation, the verdict and sanction and the rationale for the Honor Council’s decision. Details about the parties involved and the course will be generic (e.g. a junior in an upper level humanities class).” Read More

A Print Paper, Without the Printing Part: One Student Outlet’s Unique ‘Digital Transition’

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The College Reporter, the student newspaper at Pennsylvania’s Franklin & Marshall College, recently dropped its weekly print edition and moving forward will produce content exclusively for its website. As I previously posted, the shift is the culmination of a three-year “100-percent digital transition” plan spearheaded by past editors of the paper.

One facet of the transition plan especially fascinated me: Staff are still planning to hold a traditional production night each week and lay out a print-style newspaper — and then not print it. They will email each issue to the campus community and upload it online as a PDF instead.

In last week’s edition of the College Media Podcast, I chewed over those details with Bryan Murley from the Center for Innovation in College Media.

The questions I can’t shake: Why take so much time out from a full-blown digital journalism push to do something print-based? And why do something print-based without the print benefits (greater exposure on campus, advertising revenue, etc.)? Read More