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.

College Media Geeks: Cameron Austin, Editor, The Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech


Virginia Tech student Cameron Austin became involved with The Collegiate Times during her freshman year — before she even set foot in her first collegiate class. Now a senior, she currently serves as the CT’s editor-in-chief.

“After I discovered my passion for print, I focused on being the best journalist I could be and worked my way into leadership positions,” said Austin, a native of Roanoke, Va., who interned this past summer at The Roanoke Times. “That didn’t happen overnight though. I was turned down the first time I applied to both the editor positions I eventually got. I didn’t let being turned down deter me. I used it as a motivator to work harder and prove I deserve those positions. Now in my final semester of college, I can look back and say my college newspaper has taught me not only valuable professional skills, but has taught me life lessons and provided me with a network of best friends who are interested in the same things as me.” Read More

College Football Fun: Ole Miss, Miss. St. Student Newspapers Honor Teams’ Successes

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The stunningly swift, unexpected and simultaneous ascents of the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University squads to the top of the college football polls have sparked a media frenzy. Sports Illustrated has contributed a cover. The New York Times has weighed in with a feature. And pieces on ESPN and other outlets have run the gamut, all sporting headlines such as “Why Not Mississippi State?”

The standout student newspapers at both schools have also dived in with some front-page theatrics — boasting special designs, images and headers capturing the madness and significance of the teams’ (so far) undefeated runs. Read More

O’Colly Cover Story at OK State Investigates ‘Sexual Assault Case in Which System Failed’

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Earlier this month, O’Colly digital news editor Kassie McClung unleashed a stunning cover story on Oklahoma State University readers detailing “a sexual assault case in which the system failed.”

The 2,100-word investigative report — “She Said ‘No': A Firsthand Account of Campus Rape” — is impressively thorough, unarguably eye-opening and occasionally infuriating for what it depicts. The piece spotlights the many internal doubts, peer pressures, investigative procedures and cultural norms that can leave a sexual assault victim re-victimized and feeling “like a statistic pushed under the rug.”

As McClung writes about OK State student “Ashley,” who reported a rape to campus police in spring 2012, “She was too ashamed to tell her parents what happened and felt discouraged by police officers. Ashley said because she didn’t want to spend years fighting for a case she would likely lose, she closed it. Almost three years later, Ashley sees a chaotic process in which justice didn’t play a part in. The process was so discouraging, Ashley said, she regrets reporting the incident to the police.”

McClung tells the story of this chaos, shame and regret through an assortment of primary and secondary sources — including related police reports, case files and videos of “normally confidential … victim, witness and suspect interviews” and in-depth interviews of her own which she conducted with the victim, victims’ advocates, sexual assault experts, OSU administrators and university law enforcement officers. Read More

Yik Yak Finds a ‘Spot in Students’ Hearts and Phones Next to Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat’


An 11-month-old mobile app — sporting a pair of forgettable one-syllable words — has “found a spot in students’ hearts and phones next to Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.”

1Yik Yak is an easy, free and anonymous social networking service that at the moment is “outrageously popular on college campuses.”

Students are tapping, scrolling, reading and sharing any thoughts they’d like — some of them R-rated — with people nearby whom they may or may not know. As DePaul University student Ally Zacek writes about “riding the Yak” in The DePaulia campus newspaper, “Our parents always warned us to ‘never talk to strangers,’ but they never warned us about something like this.”

The Connector at the University of Massachusetts Lowell similarly calls it “an anonymous user’s playground.” According to Connector student contributor Henry St. Pierre, “The app is chaotic, it’s fast, it’s inappropriate and it’s extremely inappropriate. … In my opinion, every post on Yik Yak is entertaining, and reading through all of them makes it seem like everybody’s part of one big, sometimes creepy, family.” Read More

1 Million Story Ideas Special: ‘Every PR Email’


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 Newspaper in Canada Retracts, Corrects, Then Deletes (?) Plagiarism Bug

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Happy Friday. Question one: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Question two: If a student newspaper runs a “retraction and correction” atop a plagiarized article and then removes the article from its website, does it really count as a “retraction and correction”?

A recent article in The Brock Press at Ontario’s Brock University included plagiarized chunks from a similar piece posted by The BUG, AKA The Brock University Gadfly, an “independent intermedia publication” (cool description). Read More

Angry Sorority Sisters Allegedly Steal & Trash Student Newspaper Copies Over Hazing Report

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Happy Thursday. Here is the Elmhurst College student newspaper theft story in eight sentences sporting two words apiece: Alleged hazing. News report. Angry sorority. Missing papers. Some trashed. Sisters spotted. Total coincidence? Or thievery?!  

Yes, it appears some Phi Mu sorority sisters at Elmhurst, a private liberal arts school in a Chicago suburb, may have been especially peeved by a recent story in The Leader student newspaper. The front-page piece focused on “a report that an alleged hazing act occurred between the [Phi Mu] members.”

So, in response, some of the sisters were seen tossing copies of the Leader in trashcans around campus — leading to the instantly iconic student press censorship pic below. Read More

College Media Geeks: Taylor Carlier, Comm. Coordinator, Society of Professional Journalists

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While at Purdue University, Taylor Carlier created and stuck to a five-point plan for wildly succeeding as a journalism student extraordinaire: “asking a lot of questions and getting a lot of advice … making mistakes, taking risks and putting myself on a national stage for humiliation sometimes.” Read More

Alleged Rape & the Unnamed Frat: Evergreen Editor at WSU Breaks Down Tough Ethics Call

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The Daily Evergreen at Washington State University recently grappled with an intense, multi-headed journalism ethics monster. It evolved online in real time and involved a combustible mix of buzzwords including sexual assault, social media, student safety, angry readers and Greek life.

The ethical adventure began last week. As part of a front-page story on a “WSU student [who] reported waking up in a fraternity following an alleged rape,” Daily Evergreen editor-in-chief Nathan Howard decided to withhold the name of the frat “to protect the victim’s identity.” Read More

Beheading Image in Conservative Michigan Student News Outlet Called ‘Violent & Wrong’


A conservative student publication at the University of Michigan is in the spotlight after publishing a photo illustration that led a UM adjunct professor to bring up ISIS and alert campus police.

This past week, The Michigan Review posted a doctored photo online that included a depiction of the severed head of the school’s embattled athletic director — bloodied and decapitated from what appears to be a French-Revolution-era guillotine. Read More

1 Million Story Ideas Special: Over-Parenting 2.0

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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

Daily Iowan Columnist: Snapchat-Era Students May One Day List ‘Talking’ as a Résumé Skill

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By Karen Funaro, Garrett Miley & Leigh Anne Tiffany

Communication among members of the “Snapchat generation” is suffering, according to University of Iowa student Joe Lane.

“Kids my age have been growing up with emails instead of handwritten letters, text messages instead of phone calls and Snapchats instead of face-to-face conversations,” Lane proclaims in a column for The Daily Iowan. “So while we may be the most technologically proficient generation ever, we are also the least capable of handling simple in-person communication. … The issue is that as we move further into the Snapchat generation, interpersonal skills and strong relationships start to fade away. Although they may never be gone completely, I fear for the day that ‘talking’ falls under special skills on résumés across the country.” Read More

College Problems Podcast: Helicopter Parents & Date Rape Drugs

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Sexual violence and messy roommates. Unpaid internships and underbutt shortsRacial microaggressions and the Freshman 15.

College life is filled with an unending stream of serious issues, lighthearted frustrations, significant events and viral trends. The College Problems Podcast wades into this stream with a regular series of spirited chats attempting to make sense of it all, while also offering story ideas to student journalists and advice for undergrads on staying safe and sane.

I co-host the podcast with Christina Gaudio, a veteran first responder, former rape care community outreach coordinator and an adjunct professor of victimology. As younger educators and digital media geeks, we view the collegiate sphere through the lenses of journalism and personal safety.

Read More

Wyoming Student Writer Reflects on 9/11, Patriotism & Death Threats Over an Op-Ed


By Olivia McEachern & Kayla Soders

A University of Wyoming student journalist recently earned some online buzz and pockets of vitriol by calling for an end to “infectious patriotism” on the anniversary of the September 11th attacks.

In an op-ed for The Branding Iron, UW’s campus newspaper, sophomore Jeremy Rowley writes simply, “[W]e, the United States of America, need to get over it. … [T]he way the country has viewed September 11th every year since the attacks has been anything but productive.” Read More

Rant in East Carolina Student Newspaper Spurs Racial Tension, Death Threats for Editor

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An anonymous rant with racist overtones run in East Carolina University’s student newspaper has triggered controversy, outside media coverage, a free speech debate, a campus-wide racial inequality panel and even death threats directed at the paper’s editor-in-chief. Read More

Nebraska Student Columnist: News Media Ignoring Christian Genocide in Middle East

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By Leigh Anne Tiffany

“Christians are being murdered all over the world, and no one seems to be talking about it.”

Faced with what she considers a startling related silence, University of Nebraska-Lincoln senior Tegan Colton is trying to start the conversation. In a new column for The Daily Nebraskan, Colton argues the news media and general public are ignoring a Christian genocide taking place amid the violence propagated by the terrorist group ISIS.

According to Colton, millions of Christians have died or been forced out of their homes in the Middle East during the conflicts — all under the unconscionably blind eye of the journalism establishment. Read More

Michigan Daily Column Calling for Football Coach’s Firing Goes Viral, Earns Praise

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“This isn’t about winning and losing anymore.”

A spirited, thoughtful column in The Michigan Daily calling for University of Michigan head football coach Brady Hoke to be fired has earned A-list viral status within the student press and sports universes.

In a related “Pardon the Interruption” segment on ESPN earlier this week, co-host Tony Kornheiser said the piece represents “exactly what a student newspaper should do. They should agitate.”

The source of agitation — which has accrued close to 4,000 Facebook likes, roughly 160 online comments and a New York Times shout-out — contends that Hoke deserves to be canned for putting a Wolverines player at risk in last Saturday’s game. Read More

Baylor Student Journalist: Forget Facebook & Emoji Mania; ‘I Believe in Writing Letters’

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By Sara LaMachia, Alli Murray & Malia Reynolds

Forget texting, instant messaging, Facebook chatting, emoji mania and other new media methods of interpersonal communication. Baylor University senior Sara Katherine Johnson prefers the simple, old-school art of the handwritten letter.

To that end, in a column for The Baylor Lariat, Johnson implores students to put down their phones and pick up a pen.

As she confirms, “I believe in writing letters. In class I’m usually surrounded by fingers typing hurriedly against plastic. Walking to and from class means that I’m navigating between waves of people concerned about texting in the 15 minutes before more classes start. … Laptops, tablets, smartphones, cars, calculators — what do they reflect back on us? … One way we can slow down and regain intentional time for others is to write letters. I love the roll of a ball-point pen over paper. I appreciate its glide, flexibility of ink and the occasional smear under my eager hand. It is messy and satisfying.” Read More

Oxford Student Newspaper Editor Fired Three Months After ‘Victim-Blaming’ Rape Report

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The top editor of The Oxford Student at Britain’s Oxford University has been axed, a long-term fallout from an article she co-wrote over the summer about a campus sexual assault investigation.

Rape allegations were brought this past spring against the student president of the prominent Oxford Union debating society. In June, OxStu editor Amelia Hamer was part of a reportorial trio which presented information purporting to refute those charges by stating “one of the victims knew their allegations were false.” The piece also worked to undermine the credibility of that victim by stating she “had a reputation” for being promiscuous. Specifically, for the victim, according to the report, “the allure of sexual encounters with well-known students was to develop a status as a ‘conquest-collector.'”

Upon its publication, a cavalcade of critics immediately swarmed, declaring the story little more than a sordid example of victim-blaming and slut-shaming. Read More

More Than 400 Student Newspaper Copies Damaged at Drake Due to Pregnancy Center Ad

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Late last week, unknown assailants swiped more than 400 copies of The Times-Delphic from their newsstands around Drake University, “drenched them in water” and dumped them in a pile outside the student paper’s newsroom. One copy atop the “stack of damaged issues” was opened to page 11, a below-the-fold advertisement for a local pregnancy center “prominently circled in black marker.”

An act of protest, perhaps?

If the circled ad is a clue, the not-so-subtle student press vandalism is a reaction to what a group of Drake critics claim is a not-so-female-friendly center. Read More