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Journalism Grad School: 16 Tips for Picking the Right Program, Applying & Getting Accepted

By Leigh Anne TiffanyCMM correspondent

To kick off the final full day of the 2014 ACP/CMA National College Media Convention, a pair of journalism graduate school admissions gurus from New York City universities provided students with the inside scoop on the j-grad program admissions process.

The speakers for the convention session, titled “Graduate School Admissions 101″: Diane Nguyen, the assistant director of admission at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism; and Maximo Patiño, the associate director of admissions for the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School of Journalism.

As the teaser description for their session confirmed, the talk delved into “the graduate school search, admissions and financial aid processes; how admissions staff and faculty evaluate an application; and how you can prepare [an application] file that stands out from the rest.” Read More

1 Million Story Ideas Special: Student-Athlete Mind Games

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

Sports Reporting Advice: 6 Tips for Nailing the Post-Game Interview

By Sara LaMachiaCMM correspondent

In an afternoon session on day one of the 2014 ACP/CMA National College Media Convention, Philadelphia Inquirer sports writer Joe Juliano offered advice to student journalists on making their questions count during post-game interviews.

As his session description teased, “The game has just ended. Coaches are running to their locker rooms. Players are headed to their buses. Deadline is looming. Who should you interview? What should you ask?” Read More

Student Media Map Reveals Roughly 20% of College Newspapers Update Daily Online

In an era of print cutbacks and converged newsrooms within collegemediatopia, Bobby Blanchard has been curious about a single, increasingly significant question: How many student newspapers are actually publishing fresh content daily online?

He is seeking to answer that question with Student Media Map. Premiering today, the data visualization project displays how often student papers at all U.S. public colleges and universities update their websites.

According to the map, only 21 percent — or about one-fifth — of all eligible campus newspapers nationwide sport new material at least five days a week. Interesting. Read More

Say Hi in Philly! Stop By My Story Ideas, Study Abroad, Sex & Hackathon Sessions

Beginning Thursday morning, the epicenter of the college media universe is Philadelphia, the city of Brotherly Love, site of the 2014 ACP/CMA National College Media Convention. I’ll soon be camped out at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott, along with a slew of other j-profs, student press advisers, professional journalists and j-students extraordinaire. Read More

Crimson White Columnist at Alabama: Student Paper ‘Must Broaden Its News Reporting’

A columnist for The Crimson White at the University of Alabama argues the paper would be more relevant and well-read among its core student readership if it added a new section or regular feature focused on national and international news.

In her most recent column, sophomore secondary education major Carolyn Duke contends a majority of her fellow UA undergraduates do not read the CW. Even more dispiriting, some apparently do not know it exists — or at least are not familiar with it by name when it is mentioned to them. The reason, according to Duke: “It’s difficult to produce a daily newspaper of substance filled strictly with information regarding the university.” Read More

ASU Student Senator Impeached for Speaking to State Press Without Informing Her Superiors

Student government strikes again! The Tempe Undergraduate Student Government (USG) at Arizona State University has impeached one of its own members for talking to The State Press without first giving USG leaders a heads-up. Hmm.

The State Press interviewed ASU student senator Isabelle Murray earlier this month about a bill she was working on that would prevent students from sporting blackface at university events. The bill was in response to a publicized incident involving “a student wearing blackface to a recent football game [that] outraged members of the Black and African Coalition” at the school.

A noble effort, perhaps, but one Murray apparently should not have spoken to the State Press — or any other press — about prior to informing her USG superiors. Read More

ACP Story of the Year Spotlight Series: Orlea L. Miller & Juliet Spies-Gans, The Harvard Crimson, Harvard University

By Katie Comerer & Mary Kate GibbonsCMM correspondents

This past spring, Harvard Crimson staffers Orlea L. Miller and Juliet Spies-Gans investigated the abnormal eating habits of Harvard University student-athletes and the mental stresses and social pressures connected to them.

As the pair write in the Crimson, “For athletes, eating habits don’t just regulate their choices in the dining halls. They also affect their lives on the river and on the field, in classrooms and in dorm rooms. Whether it is bulking up for training camp or slimming down for a weigh-in, for many Harvard athletes, diet remains a constant in the forefront of their minds, impacting their academic, social and athletic experiences at Harvard. Much has been made in the media about abnormal eating habits and disorders in young adults. But what happens when those exceptions become the norm? When the proscribed behavior on a team urges athletes to focus more on immediate results — a rower’s eligibility to race on Saturday — than possible long-term health ramifications?” Read More

Journalism Internship Applications: Some Students Still Forced to Snail Mail Them In

David Schick doesn’t want to mail it in.

In this glorious age of live-blogging, streaming video, Dropbox, mobile scanning apps, digital portfolios and free PDF conversions, the top-notch University of Georgia journalism student is aghast that in order to apply for internships at a number of leading news outlets he is still required to submit hard-copy applications via snail mail.

He has decided to go public with his gripes, even if it costs him the gigs. Read More

ACP Story of the Year Spotlight Series: Michael Rosen, The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley

By Melanie Freiria & Caroline ScullyCMM correspondents

Last fall, Michael Rosen reported on James Grisom, a student-athlete with an insane work ethic and a surprising musical background who went from walk-on to full-scholarship football player at the University of California, Berkeley.

As Rosen, a UC Berkeley senior, writes in The Daily Californian, “It’s hard for Grisom to find time for his music these days. He accepts the compromise, because if there’s anything in his life he cares about as much as music, it’s football. ‘I feel like I came out of the womb playing football,’ he says. ‘It’s always felt like something that’s meant to be.'”

Rosen, by comparison, cares greatly about journalism. The former Daily Cal sports editor and senior staff writer has covered every prominent sport at UC Berkeley during his time at the school including baseball, men’s basketball, women’s softball, men’s soccer and, of course, football.

His profile of Grisom, a very special player in the latter sport, is enriched with video of Grisom at the piano and separate audio recordings of some of his musical compositions. Read More

ACP Story of the Year Spotlight Series: Wyatt Stayner & Elora Overbey, Flux Magazine, University of Oregon

By Lauren Carroll, Kristin DeCarlo & Matthew HaubensteinCMM correspondents

Earlier this year, University of Oregon senior journalism major Wyatt Stayner put together a detailed feature for Flux magazine that, in his words, “follows a family on their journey from homelessness to a new house.”

Through the spotlight on a single family’s challenges and triumphs while struggling with poverty — also shown in stark relief through photos captured by UO senior Elora Overbey — Stayner confirms a simple fact: “being poor in America is a complicated equation.”

As he writes in the story about Wayne Johnson, Johnson’s partner and his partner’s son, “Families like Johnson’s are caught in a catch-22. Once someone is no longer under the poverty line, they’re at risk of losing benefits like food stamps and welfare payments, even when they still may need the assistance. ‘It’s like, boom!’ Johnson says, slapping his hand hard against a table. ‘You took a step up. We’re going to cut this off from you.’ Well, wait. I needed that. I’m not rich yet.” Read More

ACP Story of the Year Spotlight Series: Emily Donovan, The University Daily Kansan, University of Kansas

By Sara LaMachia, Alli Murray & Malia ReynoldsCMM correspondents

This past fall, University Daily Kansan staff writer Emily Donovan delved into the life of University of Kansas student Colby Liston, a double amputee.

Liston lost both his legs in a car accident in August 2013 near the start of his freshman year. Donovan’s aim was to go beyond the initial, superficial media hubbub surrounding Liston at the time of the crash — exploring instead how he is coping long-term with his prosthetics and a new set of everyday challenges.

As Donovan, a junior English major at KU, writes, “For Colby, recovery was a matter of making himself do it. It started in the living room. Colby took five steps on newly fitted legs. The next time, he took six. Then, he walked all the way back and forth. He could make it across the room with only one crutch, so he tried without any crutches, just to see if he could do it. As soon as he accomplished one small thing, he was working toward the next goal. … Colby is only 19 and isn’t thinking that far ahead, but he plans to graduate, get a job and eventually start a family. Prosthetics haven’t stopped him from achieving any of his other goals.”

Read More

Is It ‘Too Soon’ for ISIS Jokes?: Student Paper Pulls Satirical Post on ISIS Campus Invasion

The Daily Nexus at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has retracted and apologized for a satirical blog post describing a faux campus invasion by the militant group ISIS. With its lack of a prominent satire label upfront, some readers apparently believed the student newspaper article may have been real.

Accessible now solely via Google Cache, the post appeared early Tuesday morning on the Daily Nexus edgy humor blog Nexustentialism. It recounts a “Jihadi assault” on a UCSB dorm, only identifying itself as “a fictitious, satirical column” in a brief disclaimer following the last sentence.

Prior to that declaration, the story reports that ISIS members are currently holding student hostages and are intent on “exerting their power and meeting their beheading quotas.” Read More

ACP Story of the Year Spotlight Series: Erin Edinger-Turoff, Chief Copy Editor, Temple News, Temple University

By Karen Funaro, Garrett Miley & Leigh Anne TiffanyCMM correspondents

This past March, Temple News staffer Erin Edinger-Turoff tackled the “stripper persona,” profiling female Temple University students working as strippers in the Philadelphia area atop their classwork and other extracurriculars.

Her aim with the story was to explore “the emotional and financial impact of the controversial job,” breaking down the benefits, stigmas, stresses and surprises student performers face on a nightly basis — both at work and on campus.

As Edinger-Turoff, 20, a junior journalism major, writes, “Multiple students said working as a stripper is beneficial to their lifestyle due to the flexibility of the hours and the income. Despite sometimes working until 5 a.m., students agree the main challenge of stripping isn’t balancing the work with course loads, but confronting the negative connotations tied to the controversial occupation.”

Read More

Ethics Alert: On Hot-Button Issue Like Ebola, Should *All* Editors Agree on Editorial Stance?

If an editorial does not reflect the unanimous opinion of an outlet’s editorial board, should it still be printed?

A journalism graduate student at Syracuse University is calling out The Daily Orange, SU’s student newspaper, for expressing a viewpoint in a recent high-profile editorial that only five of its eight top editors voted to support.

In the editorial, the Daily Orange took the university’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications to task for disinviting renowned photographer Michel du Cille from an upcoming campus talk. Concerns had been raised about du Cille’s potential exposure to Ebola stemming from his recent visit to Liberia — although he has shown no symptoms.

As DO editors argue, “The decision to disinvite du Cille stemmed from the panic surrounding the Ebola virus, not from factual evidence and the actual likelihood of du Cille bringing the disease to SU. … Disinviting du Cille reflects poorly on Newhouse and denied students participating in the workshop of a learning experience. The decision has also potentially burned a bridge with du Cille. … This decision could cast a shadow on the prestige of the school in years to come.” Read More

NYU Student Newspaper Editor: ‘Bill Simmons Deserves Better Than ESPN’

New York University student sports fan Omar Etman says he will follow Bill Simmons anywhere — including if he leaves ESPN.

As all sports and journalism junkies know, Simmons is a sports media demigod — amassing a tremendous, rabid fan-base for his popular columns, BS Report podcast, Grantland sports and pop culture news site and the best-seller “The Book of Basketball.”

“His conversational commentary, which is fast-paced and historically informed, feels wonderfully personal,” Etman argues in a new op-ed for The Washington Square News, NYU’s student newspaper. “More fundamentally, it is always clear that Simmons cares about sports and the people involved.” Read More

ACP Story of the Year Spotlight Series: ‘After the Fall’ Reporting Team, Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University

By Samantha Puleo & Mary Kate ViggianoCMM correspondents

In fall 2013, a trio of student journalists at Indiana University stitched together a compelling special report focused on the aftermath of an IU student’s sudden death.

Rachael Fiege, 18, died just two days into her freshman year after falling down some basement stairs during a house party. Through their enrollment in a core IU journalism course called Words & Pictures, Jessica Contrera, Anna Powell Teeter and Emma Grdina collaborated for more than three months to tell the story of what happened next.

“Something important we tried to emphasize the whole time was that this wasn’t about the night of the fall,” says Grdina, a recent IU graduate who is now a digital designer at The Washington Post. “It wasn’t about who was there, who wasn’t there, who did what. We could never prove exactly what happened, and even if we backtracked the story, there were things we could never answer. … So I’m always quick to emphasize the story is not meant to be about the night. It’s meant to be about after the accident.”

Read More

ACP Story of the Year Spotlight Series: Julia Nagy, The State News, Michigan State

By Tina Cifferello, Emily Heitzman & Kelly PattersonCMM correspondents

This past spring, State News photo editor Julia Nagy profiled the top super-fan of the Michigan State University women’s basketball team.

Stephanie Russell, 25, lives with her parents in Grand Ledge, Mich., less than a half hour from MSU’s campus. She has Down syndrome, but is most defined by her dedication to Michigan State women’s hoops.

As Nagy, 21, a native of Rochester, Mich., writes, “There are two seasons in Russell’s world: basketball season, and waiting for basketball season. … Rain or shine. She’s there. Sleet or snow. She’s there. Stephanie Russell is there because her team needs her. She’s there because it’s not just the Michigan State women’s basketball team — it’s her team. And she’s been there for them, shouting ‘I love you’ behind the bench and waiting by the tunnel to high-five her Spartans as they take the court. She’s been there for them for 14 years, never missing a single home game.” Read More

1 Million Story Ideas Special: 73 Questions, Vogue’s Q&A with A-Listers

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

Dartmouth Student Newspaper Front-Page Editorial: ‘Abolish the Greek System’

Greek life as we know it needs to end now, according to The Dartmouth.

In a special front-page editorial published yesterday, the Dartmouth University student newspaper called for an immediate elimination of the Greek system at the Ivy League school.

Under a four-word headline stretching across the entire page, top of the fold — “Abolish the Greek System” — Dartmouth editors laid out a list of Greek-related ills.

As they note, in part, “The Greek system undeniably enables and institutionalizes harmful behaviors. No, Greek life is not the root of all the college’s problems or of broader societal ills. But as a system, it amplifies students’ worst behavior. It facilitates binge drinking and sexual assault. It perpetuates unequal, gendered power dynamics and institutionalizes arbitrary exclusivity. It divides students — the system as a whole separates freshmen from upperclassmen, men from women. Membership draws lines among friends. … Abolish it. … [T]he safety and security of our future students depends on it.” Read More