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.

University of South Dakota Student Newspaper Photographer Killed in Car Crash

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 9.02.59 PM

Rebecca Kroeger, a sophomore at the University of South Dakota and a photographer for The Volante student newspaper, died at the start of the week in a two-car crash in Minnesota.

In a touching special editorial published yesterday — headlined “Remembering Rebecca: A Farewell to Our Photographer” — fellow Volante editors described Kroeger as “a beautiful person … a student wandering through life who happened to walk into our newsroom a year ago looking to shoot a few photos.” Read More

Daily Texan Editor: ‘Why Does the University of Michigan Insist on Secrecy?’


The editor-in-chief of The Daily Texan is publicly criticizing the University of Michigan for seemingly trying to scuttle his recent Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

In a guest column for the Detroit Free Press, DT EIC Riley Brands writes that “the way the University of Michigan handles requests for such information flies in the face of … transparency and erects nearly impenetrable roadblocks for investigative journalists and concerned citizens alike.” Yowza. Read More

100 Things I’m Learning at SPJ/RTDNA’s Excellence in Journalism 2014

Screen Shot 2014-09-07 at 1.38.23 AM

Brian Stelter has an itch. Kara Swisher has an “ultimate message.” And SPJ has a new ethics code.

Judging by just the tweets and vines, SPJ/RTDNA’s Excellence in Journalism 2014 Nashville extravaganza was chock full of helpful tips and tools for j-students and the pros — not to mention some mediatastic celebrity sightings. The Stelters. Swisher. ButtryCuillier. Koretzky. LoMonte. Hernandez. Tompkins. Nagler. Neuts. Ebersol. There was also a moment of silence for James Foley and Steven Sotloff. And some line dancing.

The #EIJ14 festivities are now past tense, but here’s a quick-hit rundown of the advice, links and vids I’m still presently chewing over, clicking on and learning from — on topics as varied as fact-checking, broadcast news writing, digital portfolio building, newsroom diversity, digital enterprise stories and lessons from Ferguson. Read More

Kansan Calls Out KU on Special Front Page, Homepage for Mishandling Student Rape Case

Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 12.38.51 AM

The University Daily Kansan has responded to an alleged sexual assault case bungling by University of Kansas officials with an editorial bang-pow-boom — in print and online.

According to the top-notch KU student newspaper, this past October “a male student confessed to raping a female student in her dorm room after she got drunk at a fraternity party. He was found ‘guilty of non-consensual sexual intercourse’ — which is rape — by the Office of Institutional Opportunity & Access, the campus entity that primarily deals with sexual assault reporting through the university. … [T]he university proceeded by placing the student on probation, banning him from student housing and requiring him to write a four-page reflection essay as well as seek counseling.”

Those punishments, first brought to light by The Huffington Post, are being criticized as far too light by some members of the KU community. The school’s acting student body president: “When the University of Kansas doesn’t expel, doesn’t suspend and doesn’t even submit to community service someone who is an admitted rapist, we are absolutely not fulfilling our obligation to eliminate a hostile environment for our students.” Read More

Columbia Student’s ‘Mattress Performance’ Protesting Campus Rape Goes Viral

Screen Shot 2014-09-04 at 4.24.17 AM

A Columbia University senior is drawing a sudden burst of news media attention for her unique performance art project aimed as a “protest against the school’s sexual assault policies and her alleged rapist.” The Columbia Daily Spectator’s video interview with the student has amassed more than 600,000 views since its YouTube posting two days ago and become a core part of the story’s ascent to national prominence.

For her senior thesis, Columbia visual art major Emma Sulkowicz will be carrying around an extra-long twin mattress everywhere she goes during her final year at the Ivy League school — either until she graduates or her alleged rapist is expelled. The title of the thesis: “Mattress Performance: Carry That Weight.”
Read More

Daily Collegian at PSU Declines to Participate in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge for Ethical Reasons

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 1.34.08 AM

The Daily Collegian at Penn State University has declined to participate in the making of an ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video, saying it “calls into question our integrity as an impartial reporter of the news.” For similar reasons, the paper will also not make a donation to The ALS Association.

As I previously posted, The Daily Iowan crew at the University of Iowa recently recorded a humorous Ice Bucket Challenge video that includes shrieks, a brief water balloon fight and a call-to-arms for other college media to join in the fun. The Daily Collegian was one of the outlets nominated by Daily Iowan editor-in-chief Jordyn Reiland to take part in the icy awesomeness.

Read More

More Than 1,000 Plainsman Copies Go Missing in Under Two Hours at Auburn University

Screen Shot 2014-09-02 at 1.57.32 AM

In a roughly 90-minute span last Thursday morning, more than 1,000 copies of The Auburn Plainsman were allegedly stolen from at least eight locations across the Auburn University campus. In a news story about the incident, the Plainsman confirms staffers have filed a related police report and a public safety investigation is underway.

According to the paper, a Plainsman adviser first became suspicious after coming across several news racks in the university’s student center that were empty — less than two hours after copies of the latest issue had been delivered. Read More

‘Confessions of an Ivy League Frat Boy': Student Newspaper Hazing Op-Ed Becomes a Book

Screen Shot 2014-09-01 at 3.24.29 AM

An infamous 2012 student newspaper op-ed detailing a Dartmouth University undergrad’s misadventures in an allegedly hazing-friendly fraternity is now a full-blown published memoir.

As I previously posted, in late January 2012, The Dartmouth published a personal piece by then-senior Andrew Lohse outlining the many degrading acts he said he’d endured in 2010 while pledging a fraternity at the Ivy League school.

In his confessional, headlined “Telling the Truth,” Lohse wrote, “I was a member of a fraternity that asked pledges, in order to become a brother, to: swim in a kiddie pool full of vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen, and rotten food products; eat omelets made of vomit; chug cups of vinegar, which in one case caused a pledge to vomit blood; drink beers poured down fellow pledges’ ass cracks; and vomit on other pledges, among other abuses. Certainly, pledges could have refused these orders. However, under extreme peer pressure and the desire to ‘be a brother,’ most acquiesced.” Yowza. Read More

1 Million Story Ideas Special: ‘New Hashtag Phenomenon’ #IAmNotYourStereotype

Screen Shot 2014-08-29 at 12.15.39 AM

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 Sound Off, Episode #4 (Target: Auto-Flush Toilets)

Screen Shot 2014-07-27 at 5.25.39 AM

What would the world — or at least college students — be better off without? What is confusing, worrying and frustrating the heck out of a vast majority or a vocal minority of undergrads? And what are students finding evermore evil, weird or dumb and dumber by the day?

In separate op-eds and articles published within campus media worldwide, students regularly offer a bevy of suggestions on “unnecessary traditions, ideas and institutions” that should be scrapped, significantly changed or scrutinized with much greater skepticism.

Simply put, from time to time, student journalists sound off — angrily, bitterly, sarcastically and judiciously. This lighthearted CMM series is aimed at amplifying their voices — offering one extra platform and promotional push for frustrations deemed especially fascinating, funny or on point.

Read More

Daily Pennsylvanian ‘Revamped, Revitalized, Re-energized,’ Launches $100,000 Innovation Fund

Screen Shot 2014-08-28 at 12.48.38 AM

The Daily Pennsylvanian is “revamped, revitalized [and] re-energized.” Boom. Read those R-words out loud a few times rapid-fire and tell me you don’t feel at least a smidgen of curiosity and excitement.

Those are the feelings the DP is hoping to instill in readers at the University of Pennsylvania. In a letter from the editor yesterday, the kick-butt A-list Ivy League newspaper introduced a bevy of transformations, new initiatives and a simple three-word rebranding: “the new DP.”

The paper’s affiliated websites and print edition are sporting new looks and much more engaged integration. And the staff is also leaving up to $100,000 on the table — for any certified Quaker passionate enough to come up with something fresh. Read More

College Newspaper Story on Students Dating Teaching Assistants Called Sexist, ‘Utter Fail’

Screen Shot 2014-08-27 at 1.15.11 AM

Let the controversies begin! The first college media kerfuffle of fall semester has already ignited north of the border — and it’s a doozy. It involves TAs, Facebook stalking, “three days of people losing their minds on Twitter” and a letter demanding a student editor vacate his post. Read More

College Media Geeks: Jonathan Black, Editor-in-Chief, The Pendulum, Elon University

Jonathan Black

Elon University senior Jonathan Black is a dog person with an infectious smile and a gigantic love of journalism. Along with outside internships and in-class experience, Black, 22, has previously served The Pendulum student newspaper at Elon as a columnist, assistant opinions editor and managing editor. He is currently the paper’s editor-in-chief.

Black first came onto my radar last fall due to a Pendulum column he wrote about Sadie, his aging Golden Retriever Labrador mix. The piece warmed my heart. Then, this past week, he broke it — by confirming in a second piece that after “years of countless walks, fetched tennis balls and constant shedding” Sadie had passed away. Read More

Today’s Student Press Homepages: August 25, 2014


As college media websites diversify, online-only outlets proliferate and traditional pubs adopt digital-first approaches, student press homepages are becoming the main vehicles for learning about big campus stories — and exploring how student journalists are covering them.

In the spirit of the Newseum gallery displaying professional newspapers’ front pages, this occasional CMM feature will spotlight an assortment of homepages from college newspapers, magazines and broadcast and digital media around the world.

The first visual rundown is below. Some of the newsy buzzwords and phrases that leap out on spec: first-degree murder, mega-parties, jumps to death, tobacco-free, a more perfect university, mold news and what all new freshmen need to know. (Click on the screenshots or outlet names to learn more.)

Read More

Facing a Lawsuit, Purdue Releases (Some) Video Footage Showing Student Journalist’s Arrest

Screen Shot 2014-08-25 at 9.44.27 AM

After months of public back-and-forth and in the midst of a pending lawsuit, Purdue University has finally released video footage that captures a controversial incident earlier this year involving a student photographer and campus police.

Here’s the 60-second, rapid-fire, small-words, easy-to-follow background breakdown: In January, there was a deadly shooting on campus at Purdue. Michael Takeda, the photo editor for The Purdue Exponent, raced to the scene. He brought his cameras. He started snapping some shots. Campus security didn’t like that. Officers arrested him and allegedly “pushed [him] to the ground, verbally abused and threatened” him. They also confiscated his cameras. He was eventually released and his cameras a while later returned (thanks SPLC). But the stench of his initial — potentially overzealous — police takedown lingered. The Exponent wanted proof — and to show the public what happened. They requested surveillance video footage from inside the building where Takeda’s arrest took place. The police and others initially said no, claiming the video was part of the ongoing shooting investigation. So the Exponent sued, with the help of the ACLU. And now, at last, online and for all the public to see, here is the footage — or at least some of it. Read More

Daily Iowan Rocks Out Ice Bucket Challenge, Nominates Other Student Papers to Dive In

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 2.17.56 PM

The Daily Iowan crew gamely got cold and wet earlier today, recording a fun ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video that includes shrieks, a brief water balloon fight and a call-to-arms for other college media outlets to join in the fun.

According to DI editor-in-chief extraordinaire Jordyn Reiland, the staff at the University of Iowa student newspaper stepped up to a challenge issued by their cross-state college media rival The Iowa State Daily. And in turn, on camera, the Daily Iowan has now nominated the staffs of other ACP Pacemaker winnersThe Harvard Crimson, Indiana Daily Student, The Daily Collegian and The Daily Tar Heel — to take part in the icy awesomeness.

Here’s the DI’s challenge video. Beneath that are the challenge videos spotlighting Iowa State Daily EIC Stephen Koenigsfeld and ME Maddy Arnold.

P.S. If any other college media have plunged to similarly icy depths, comment on this post or shoot me an email with the video links! Read More

1 Million Story Ideas Special: The F*ck Yeah Q&A

Screen Shot 2014-08-24 at 2.35.58 PM

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 Evicted from Newsroom, Operating Out of Former Editor’s Apartment

Screen Shot 2014-08-22 at 6.33.48 AM

The Phoenix student newspaper at the University of British Columbia Okanagan (UBCO) has been kicked out of its campus newsroom and is currently operating out of the apartment of its most recent managing editor. The newsroom eviction notice — served by the Canadian school’s student union — is linked to budgetary concerns, student media fees, the campus radio station — and even popular Mexican and Japanese cuisine.

According to an objective report in the Phoenix, a recent “space audit” carried out in the UBCO student center determined the paper’s newsroom “is not the best utilization of space as of right now.” While the paper pays $8,000 (Canadian dollars) per year for its place in the building, outside food vendors like Koi Sushi and Taco Del Mar are apparently willing to pony up $70,000 for a similar spot. Read More

Facing a Lawsuit from Student Newspaper, Purdue Ready to Release Controversial Video

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 10.00.18 AM

In the wake of a lawsuit filed by The Purdue Exponent, Purdue University is now offering to release video footage that captures a controversial incident earlier this year involving a student photographer and campus police.

As I previously posted, the Exponent student newspaper recently filed its first lawsuit against the school in its 125-year history to obtain a surveillance video allegedly showing one of its staffers “pushed to the ground, verbally abused and threatened” by members of Purdue’s security team. Read More

Bye Bye Bullet: Student Paper Changes Name Due to Concerns It ‘Propagated Violence’

Screen Shot 2014-08-20 at 10.27.43 AM

Come fall semester, the college media universe will officially be missing a bullet. Starting next month, The Bullet, the 96-year-old student newspaper at the University of Mary Washington, will be known as The Blue & Gray Press. The web address for the paper has already been changed to reflect the name switch and all Bullet-related social media accounts have been deactivated.

So why the change? As top staff explained to readers in a news release earlier this week, “The editorial board felt that the paper’s name, which alludes to ammunition for an artillery weapon, propagated violence and did not honor our school’s history in a sensitive manner. The board intends to remain faithful to the history our university stands upon, and we continue to honor this history both in a respectful and meaningful way.” Read More