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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

‘Daily Tar Hell’ Disappears: NC State Student Newspaper Kills Annual UNC Spoof Issue

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For the past week, Sam DeGrave has been in a hell of his own making. The editor-in-chief of The Technician at North Carolina State University recently decided not to publish a 2014 version of The Daily Tar Hell, a spoof issue mocking its neighbor and rival the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Vitriol and calls for his firing have ensued.

According to the paper, “Since the 1980s, Technician editors have conspired to make fun of UNC-Chapel Hill and the town of Chapel Hill in the annual edition of The Daily Tar Hell, a satirical riff on The Daily Tar Heel, the student-run newspaper at UNC. Some years, the Tech guys pulled it off; others, it all fell through. The Tar Hell [has] embodied the rivalry between the two schools.”

In response, the Daily Tar Heel’s perspective: “We like to joke that for at least one day a year their paper looks nice, since they copy our style to make it look authentic.

Last week, DeGrave told current Daily Tar Heel editor-in-chief Nicole Comparato the Technician staff was simply too busy to put together the satirical issue this year. The reaction of some NC State (and UNC) students and alumni: Oh, Hell no. Read More

Richmond Collegian Goes Online-Only; Third Student Paper in a Month to Drop Print

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After publishing one more issue this Thursday, The Collegian at the University of Richmond is going online-only. The digital shift will apparently save the 100-year-old weekly student newspaper roughly $15,000 annually in printing costs.

According to Style Weekly in Richmond, Va., the paper’s editor-in-chief is also confident the full-on online move “will help students hone journalism skills needed in a largely post-print job market.” So over Spring Break, the Collegian is rebranding — an effort that will include finalizing and rolling out an enhanced website.

EIC Clay Helms: “We’ve come up with things that we think are going to make this transition very smooth and very powerful. We’re going to re-establish our name on campus.” Read More

Florida Journalism Class Enjoys ‘Brief Internet Stardom’ Through Live Tweets

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Besting mighty combatants including the city of Chicago, the state of Florida, the phenomenon of Pokemon and the insanity of Mardi Gras, a multimedia writing class at the University of Florida trended nationally on Twitter late last week.

According to The Independent Florida Alligator, UF’s campus newspaper, the 90-student introductory-level class “achieved brief Internet stardom” through a nonstop stream of live tweets sharing the journalism advice of a guest panel. Read More

UMass Daily Collegian Runs Advertisement Across Entire Front Page

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The Daily Collegian at the University of Massachusetts Amherst attracted some blogerrific and social mediatastic attention late last week for publishing an issue featuring an advertisement splashed across the ENTIRE front page. The full-color ad from UMass Amherst Residential Life runs directly underneath the paper’s flag. It features teasers for some unique student housing options.

Top editor Stephen Hewitt confirms the front-page ad decision presented an “ethical conundrum” for Collegian staff and was ultimately approved as “an innovative tactic to help aid our funding.” According to Hewitt, the paper fairly recently cut copies from its regular print run and eliminated its Friday edition as cost-saving measures. Read More

Princetonian Posts Ethics Code Online, Offering ‘Unique Window Into Journalistic Practices’

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In an effort to increase reader understanding and underscore a call for greater transparency campus-wide, The Daily Princetonian has posted its full internal code of ethics online.

Prince editor-in-chief Marcelo Rochabrun describes the code as “a set of guidelines that is mandatory reading for all our staff members and details the standards that we seek to uphold, as well as the regulations we have in place.” Read More

Franklin & Marshall Student Newspaper Now Online-Only; 2nd Paper to Drop Print in 2014

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

Interestingly, an issue of the Reporter will still be produced each Monday night during the semester in traditional print-page style — just without the printing and next-day physical distribution. In its place will be PDF and email. Read More

My Initial Take on Penn State’s ‘Reporter’-Gate (& Mad-Rush-Pack-Mentality Retweeting)

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So yesterday I stumbled across a screenshot of an email message and an entirely separate tweet that got me thinking about context and blind acceptance — the latter from the mad-rush-pack-mentality journalism/social media perspective.

As every Romenesko reader and college media geek knows by now, the email screenshot I’m referring to is a private message written by a Penn State University administrator that has gone C-list viral. In the email, the admin. complains about a student journalist who is apparently seeking some info on underage drinking — while trying to dump her request onto a colleague instead of tackling it himself. He also seems to have accidentally hit ‘reply all,’ thus sending the message to the student journalist along with his intended co-worker.

The snippet that landed him in the blogosphere and Twitterverse yesterday afternoon: “If you want to appease a ‘reporter’ who won’t report, feel free. I’m afraid I don’t have the time just now.” Read More

Canadian University Press in ‘State of Crisis,’ Turns to Crowdfunding for Survival

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Major existential and financial questions are apparently plaguing Canada’s largest student media association. According to Maclean’s, the Canadian University Press (CUP) is running a deficit, sporting zero savings, preparing to lay off a dozen part-time staff and just generally facing a “state of crisis.”

In response, the group is staging a six-week crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. The surprisingly naked act of desperation centers on a request for $50,000 in donations, so the CUP will not “be forced to rely on volunteer staff and make drastic changes to [its] newswire and other services, which include access to legal counsel, mentorship and the annual conference.” Read More

Crimson White Issues Open (Records) Challenge to Alabama Officials

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The Crimson White is screaming for information. The student newspaper at the University of Alabama has launched a new page on its website offering a detailed rundown of all its open records requests starting this semester.

Why? Because, according to CW editors, “[q]uietly requesting information and only hoping to get that information as we have done in the past will no longer satisfy our role as a watchdog of this campus and community.” Read More

Purdue Police: We Did Not Harass, Unlawfully Detain or Violate Rights of Student Journalist

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In the immediate aftermath of a campus shooting late last month, Purdue University police allegedly “pushed to the ground, verbally abused and threatened” student photographer Hiraku ‘Michael’ Takeda as he was reporting on the scene.

While initially detaining him, Takeda — photo editor of The Purdue Exponent — said “police cursed at him and told him he’d wind up working at McDonald’s.” Officers then held Takeda in custody for two hours and confiscated his cameras, mobile phone and other equipment, apparently preparing to search them until the Student Press Law Center “pointed out that they’d be violating federal law.”

So what did they officially do wrong during those proceedings? Nothing, according to an internal police investigation whose findings were released late last week. Hmm. Read More

Tons of Funny Journalism Student Tweets [Regularly Updated]

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Below is a ginormous running stream of snarky, sarcastic, groan-inducing and giggle-worthy tweets posted by — or aimed at — current, former and future journalism students. The 140-character fun deals most often with the craft, j-classes and j-profs, college media and how much math and science classes stink. Read More

Starting Next Fall, Daily Nebraskan Will Shift to Twice-Weekly Nebraskan in Print


Starting next fall, The Daily Nebraskan will no longer appear daily in print. The student newspaper at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is shifting to a twice-weekly publication schedule, part of a larger “concrete financial plan” the paper is still in the process of forming to help ensure its long-term survival. Read More

Happy Birthday! Vermont Student Newspaper Celebrates 130 Years of Cynical Awesomeness

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Editors start with the name. On a special front page draped atop its latest issue, the current leadership of The Vermont Cynic reminds its University of Vermont readers why the student newspaper sports such an offbeat moniker.

As a huge, bold pull-quote grabbed from the Cynic’s first issue — circa 1883 — explains in wonderfully antiquated English, “Criticism has been passed upon the name distinguishing our paper. … If the name on our cover means anything, it means that we shall honestly speak the convictions of our mind; it means our objects are utilitarian; it means that all things conflicting with the interests we represent, we shall constantly and consistently combat.” Read More

Without $9.30 From Every Student Every Year, UC Davis Campus Newspaper Will Die

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Except for the masthead, the front page of the most recent issue of The California Aggie is empty above the fold. The huge swath of white space featured in the University of California, Davis, student newspaper is not a printing error or editorial protest. It is an eye-grabbing funding push.

Aggie editors are aiming to convince the UC Davis faithful to accept a $9.30 increase in their annual student fees to help keep the paper alive — and ensure news on campus does not fade to nothing but white space. Apparently, without the added fees support, the ink-stained Aggie might truly morph into nothing more than a memory. Read More

10 Signs You Have Seen ‘Shattered Glass’ Too Many Times

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As I mention in my previous post, “Shattered Glass” is considered by most in the business as the best or at least one of the best journalism movies of the new millennium. One consequence of its awesomeness for journalism educators, publication advisers, student media directors and student editors: We have seen and screened the film a TON — in ethics classes, reporting workshops, newsroom orientation weeks, campus film series and even a few times (long, long ago) for, you know, fun and sheer entertainment and stuff. Read More

Journalism in Pop Culture Podcast: ‘Shattered Glass’

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“Shattered Glass” is undoubtedly considered by most in the business as the best or at least one of the best journalism movies of the new millennium.

As anyone who has worked for even a millisecond in the field or who is currently teaching journalism knows, the 2003 film based on a true story stars Hayden Christensen – who of course went on to play a young Darth Vader in the “Star Wars” prequels. It’s a fitting tie-in given his role in “Shattered Glass” as the fallen — and, arguably, evil — title character: Stephen Glass. Read More

Otterbein Student Editor Sues School for Police Reports: ‘It’s an Issue of Transparency for Us’

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Today’s equation, one that has triggered a multi-semester fight and now a full-blown lawsuit: Does a private university + “a public entity” = open records?

Anna Schiffbauer simply wants to see some police reports — and let other interested people see them too. The news editor of at Ohio’s Otterbein University is suing the private school to obtain copies of 47 reports filed since the start of last year. Schiffbauer and her supporters say the school should not be legally allowed to withhold the records because — unlike many private colleges and universities — it boasts a certified police force. Read More

Printer Rejects Canadian Student Newspaper Due to Nudity, Masturbation Featured on Cover

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A printer has refused to publish the current issue of The Athenaeum student newspaper at Canada’s Acadia University due to its cover art depicting a topless woman masturbating.

The explicit illustration is the gateway to a full-blown theme issue focused on female sexuality. Stories in the issue touch on everything from menstruation, campus pregnancy support services and sexual abuse and rape culture to anal sex, the female orgasm and pornography addiction. Read More

Daily Utah Chronicle Faces ‘Really Frightening’ Budget Woes, Turns to ‘Shark Tank’ for Answers

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The Daily Utah Chronicle is facing a cash crunch and reader shortage so dramatic an affiliated student media director calls it “really frightening.” One possible solution: “Shark Tank.” Wait, what?

Later this month, the University of Utah Student Media Council — which supervises the Chrony, as it’s known on campus — is staging an all-comers gathering inviting individuals to pitch ideas aimed at keeping the student newspaper alive, innovative, profitable and relevant to 21st-century students. The event is apparently “modeled after the entrepreneurial TV show ‘Shark Tank,’” which airs in primetime each Friday on NBC.  Read More