1 Million Stories for Student Journalists

1 Million Stories for Student Journalists

A quick-hit, unending, fun, fun, fun digital story ideas fountain for student journalists updated in real time.

Have You Read The State Press Police Beat Lately? (If Not, Check It Out. Now.)

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Cops in Tempe, Ariz., the home of Arizona State University, have been busy lately busting all sorts of weirdos, wackos and criminal creepazoids. Along with arrest reports and mug shots, their work has spurred an especially eye-opening, cringe-inducing “Police Beat” in The State Press.

Here are the 10 wildest, clickbait-worthy police beat headlines published in the SP over the past month or so. Happy Friday. Read More

Funny & Fascinating Student Press Headlines #2: I See Dead Creatures

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This CMM series shares funny, fascinating, creative and quirky headlines topping student press stories worldwide. To nominate a headline, email or tweet me ASAP.

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Funny & Fascinating Student Press Headlines #1: Badass Women Throughout History

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This CMM series shares funny, fascinating, creative and quirky headlines topping student press stories worldwide. To nominate a headline, email or tweet me ASAP.

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Student Op-Ed on Black History Month: ‘Why Don’t We Have Redneck or Midget History Month?’

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A student newspaper op-ed questioning the appropriateness of Black History Month has triggered so much controversy and attention the school’s president felt compelled to weigh in.

The piece appeared late last month in a “Black to the Future” special issue of The Student Movement at Michigan’s Andrews University. The student writer Nathan Davis states upfront, “Though I’m male and my skin is pale, I am not a white man. Both ‘whiteness’ and ‘manness’ are social constructs. … I am raceless by choice.” OK, then. Read More

Say Hi in NYC! Stop By My Story Ideas, Satire, Sex & Hackathon Sessions at 2015 CMA Convention

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This week the epicenter of the college media universe is New York City, site of the 2015 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.

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College Media in Action #3: Water Cooler Camaraderie in Iowa State Daily Newsroom

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College Media in Action is a CMM photo series aiming to provide glimpses of student journalists and college media outlets at work (or kicking back) — in the newsroom, the classroom, the field, the dorm or at an unofficial sacred journalist hangout of some sort.

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The North Wind vs. Northern Michigan School Officials: ‘A Battle for the Soul of This Campus’

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This is the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad irony of the student press: The better they do — and the harder they push — the less support they receive from their own schools. On spec, it’s insane. There are literally NO other academic programs, student organizations or sports teams at colleges and universities worldwide that are criticized, threatened and attacked when their quality improves. And yet, of course, viewed through a wider-angle lens, it’s also perfectly understandable. Because when student journalists do well, their school’s weaknesses, weirdness and full-on failings are often exposed.

Exhibit A for today: The North Wind at Northern Michigan University. Under a new adviser and gung-ho editorial board, the student newspaper has upped its aggressive A-game in recent months. Instead of crafting “cupcake stories,” the pub has been digging, exploring, asking tough questions and filing FOIA requests. Has the pub’s reporting been perfect? Nah. But the first draft of history never is (and newsflash, neither are faculty and administrators).

Bottom line, the North Wind’s overall mission and many of its individual stories as of late have been laudably on-point and newsworthy. And so, of course, school officials are putting up roadblocks instead of offering their full cooperation. Sigh. Read More

College Media in Action #2: Matching Shirts & a Photobomber in Collegiate Times Newsroom

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College Media in Action is a CMM photo series aiming to provide glimpses of student journalists and college media outlets at work (or kicking back) — in the newsroom, the classroom, the field, the dorm or at an unofficial sacred journalist hangout of some sort.

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Bird-Flip Flap: Middle Finger Photo in State News at Michigan State Spurs Criticism, Apology

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The State News at Michigan State University is apologizing to readers for a photo published earlier this week showing a student, well, flipping the bird — a pair of birds actually.

On page nine of Monday’s 12-page SN issue, a photo captures a male student clearly extending the middle fingers on both his hands to an invisible crowd. Judging by the cutline beneath the pic, the act is one of defiant exuberance. The young man is apparently celebrating his fraternity’s victory in a step show, an annual dance competition among black frats and sororities at MSU. Read More

In New Video, Michigan Daily Writers Read Mean Reader Comments & Tweets

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“As a student at U of M, I feel embarrassed for you and by you for publishing this. … Seriously man, f*ck this dude. He has no idea how to write. … It annoys me when obscure hacks like the writer, whose only job is to write daily copy about what more talented writers have created, says something ridiculous just to have something to print.”
This is a sampling of the mean reader comments, tweets and emails that Michigan Daily staffers at the University of Michigan read aloud in a new video. “Daily Writers Share Reader Responses” sports the look and feel of Jimmy Kimmel’s popular “Celebrities Read Mean Tweets” series. But video creator Victoria Noble — a Daily videographer and columnist — tells me the aim is serious audience interaction along with straight comedy.

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College Media in Action #1: The Lantern Staff’s Presidential Sitdown

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College Media in Action is a CMM photo series aiming to provide glimpses of student journalists and college media outlets at work (or kicking back) — in the newsroom, the classroom, the field, the dorm or at an unofficial sacred journalist hangout of some sort.

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Why Wesleyan’s Student Newspaper Isn’t Naming the Molly Overdose Suspects (At Least Not Yet)

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Although edged out of the national spotlight a bit in recent days by a dress debate and llama-gate, the Molly/MDMA scare involving nearly a dozen Wesleyan University students and a few others continues to reverberate heavily across the news, social media and higher ed spheres. 
The latest major update was the arrest last week of four Wesleyan students allegedly connected in some way to the distribution of the possibly tainted drugs. The university also immediately suspended the student suspects.
Soon after the quartet was booked on a number of drug-related charges, most professional media such as ABC News published each of their names and other personal information (including the fact that one is apparently the founder of the school’s chapter of Students for Sensible Drug Policy). Rolling Stone also ran their mugshots
By comparison, thus far, The Wesleyan Argus has held back. In its initial Molly arrest article, the campus pub confirmed it was declining to ID the students.

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College Media News: Sex Issues, Student Press Legal Resources & the J-School Gender Gap

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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.

J-School Gender Gap. There is a troubling dissonance between the amount of women enrolled in journalism programs nationwide and the amount employed professionally as journalists. Guess which is lower? Yes, in j-schools, women are dominant. As a USA TODAY College report notes, “Women made up two-thirds of the student body enrolled in bachelors and masters degree programs during the fall 2013 semester. … Yet, post-school, the opposite is true: Women were credited with only 36.1 percent of total bylines or on-camera appearances as anchors or reporters.”

1Seeking Support During Financial Struggle. The Delaware Review at the University of Delaware is cash-strapped “due to a general decline in print ads since the dawn of the Internet.” The top-notch campus pub is in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign aiming to secure $10,000 to help cover printing, distribution and web hosting and promotion costs. Here’s what I told the Newark Post about the need for outlets like the Review: “It’s incredibly important for student media to retain a voice and serve as a check on administrative power. … When you invest in your school’s student media, you’re investing in your campus’ first draft of history.”

Sex Issue #1: The GW Hatchet, George Washington University

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Student Press Legal Resources. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) has a new resources page for student journalists. It features “tips for student journalists, past writings from FIRE on free press issues, examples of FIRE cases involving student newspapers and media outlets and much more.”

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Sex Issue #2: Ampersand Magazine, a publication of The Red & Black, University of Georgia

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Transforming Journalism Education. A new Knight Foundation report pushes for massive changes in the way journalism is taught and practiced at colleges and universities worldwide. One recent j-school grad quoted in the report’s conclusion: “Journalism education needs to be about discovery, about constantly learning how to learn. Everything you teach should be the next thing, and the next, and the next after that. You have to have a culture of no sitting down, no resting, you always have to be pushing it out the door. There’s no longer a persistent or permanent model of journalism that can be passed on from one generation to the next, or even from one graduating class to the next. And if you’re not up for that as a faculty member, you really should go find something else to do.”

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136 Questions Won’t Guarantee Soul Mate. State Press columnist Kayla Chan at Arizona State University isn’t buying into the “36 Questions That Lead to Love” phenomenon which recently went uber-viral via The New York Times. As Chan writes, “The experiment is great in that yes, it does seem to be able to propagate intimacy but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll fall in love with someone, especially if staring into their eyes for four minutes ends up creeping one of you out. There are too many flaws to really believe that this will make two people fall in love; there’s the possibility that someone is not open to answering honestly, or that they just don’t like any of your answers. … So there you go; these 36 questions will not guarantee you a soul mate, and it’s absurd to think it could.” (The State Press, Arizona State University)

Sex Issue #3: The Rocket, Slippery Rock University

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Cartoon Spurs Charges of Racism. An editorial cartoon in The Georgetown Voice has angered student readers at Georgetown University, triggering social media complaints, a campus-wide demonstration and a town hall meeting. The Voice’s top editor and the student cartoonist have both apologized and the image has been removed from the newsmagazine’s website. The cartoonist: “I made a mistake. I ignored perspectives outside my own and I tried to spread my own message using imagery that was far too severe. In doing so, I failed to look outside myself. And you know what, that’s the result of my privilege. … I stand with you, I ask to be your ally. I don’t want to contribute to racism and I don’t want to make anyone feel afraid.”

Sex Issue #4: The Spectrum, University of Buffalo

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1“Many Journalists Stretch the Truth.” Erin Rode at The Daily Trojan looks at the Brian Williams scandal through a wider-angle lens. As she argues in an op-ed, “Williams’ slip shouldn’t be considered a single scandal for the media to obsess over; it should prompt members of the media to revisit traditional journalism ethics. Sure, Williams’ transgressions were major and obvious, but many journalists stretch the truth. Nonetheless, the public outcry over Williams’ lies proves that audiences expect journalists to be trustworthy. … If journalists criticize Williams for stretching the truth, they must judge their own work accordingly. Williams may be an extreme example, but he’s an example nonetheless.” (The Daily Trojan, University of Southern California)

Student Press HistoryA 1990 Obamacare Push (The Breeze, James Madison University)

Sex Issue #5: The Daily Californian, University of California, Berkeley

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“Meet the Press” host and former George Washington University student Chuck Todd says he wants “to create more politics and journalism programming at the university.” (The GW Hatchet)

“The Pasadena City College Courier, one of the oldest student-run community college newspapers in the state, is celebrating its 100th anniversary this month.” (Pasadena News Now)

Coolest Alumni Ever? The Daily Pennsylvanian profiles a mid-1990s University of Pennsylvania graduate who practices immigration and transaction law and writes for Marvel and DC Comics. Last year, for example, he killed Wolverine. (The Daily Pennsylvanian)

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Three Funny Tweets

Funny Headline, via The Daily Barometer at Oregon State University

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Funny Headline, via The Massachusetts Daily Collegian at University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Funny Headline, via The Leader at Elmhurst College

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Funny Headline, via The Blog Daily Herald at Brown University

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Cartoon in Georgetown Student Newsmagazine Spurs Campus Rally, Charges of Racism

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An editorial cartoon in The Georgetown Voice has angered some student readers at Georgetown University, triggering social media complaints, a campus-wide demonstration and a town hall meeting. The Voice’s top editor and the student cartoonist have both apologized and the image has been removed from the newsmagazine’s website.

The cartoon depicts the newly-elected student government leaders at Georgetown clobbering a pair of losing candidates — who are stuffed inside a horse costume — with bats labeled “Satire” and “Heckler.” The student leaders with the bats are also editors of a satirical outlet called The Georgetown Heckler. The Heckler poked fun at the other candidates — the ones inside the horse — in a joke piece posted prior to the election. Read More

Say Hi in LA! Stop By My Story Ideas, Satire, Sex & Hackathon Sessions at 2015 ACP Convention

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This week the epicenter of the college media universe is Los Angeles — AKA the City of Angels, La La Land and Tinseltown — the site of the 2015 ACP Midwinter National College Journalism Convention. I’ll soon be camped out at the LA Sheraton Universal, along with a slew of other j-profs, student press advisers, professional journalists and j-students extraordinaire.

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7 Standout Student Press Stories: ‘Second Chance at Life,’ ‘Expert at Napping’ & a Barefoot Commute

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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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Top Student Journalists Weigh in on the Brian Williams Scandal

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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

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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’

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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.


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’

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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