CMM Special Series: The Future of College Media (How Do We Get Students to Care More?) Part 1: ‘A Makeshift Umbrella During a Rainy Day’

In a recent farewell column published on Quartz, outgoing Daily Tar Heel editor-in-chief Jenny Surane at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill wrote, “[I]t’s humbling to realize that the newspaper I spend so many hours working on isn’t really beloved by my peers in the same way. … My peers are interested in reading news, but they have no loyalties whatsoever about where it comes from. … Even some of my closest friends refused to pick up the newspaper I spent dozens of hours on each week.”

Her sentiments have been echoed in recent semesters by many students and educators connected to college media. Audience engagement is of course always an issue when undergraduates are involved. But the challenge of getting students to regularly check out their campus news outlets is exponentially increasing in an era cluttered with evermore competitors and platforms and bereft of old-media brand loyalty.

For this CMM special series, 20 current and recent top student journalists in the U.S. and Canada offer their perspectives, ideas and advice centered on a single question at the heart of college media’s future: How do we get students to care more about the student press? Read More

College Media News: Hacking, a Lawsuit Victory, a Book About Veterans & Examples of Student Press Crowdfunding Success

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.

New Editorial Adviser at UGA Student Paper. The Red & Black at the University of Georgia has hired a new editorial adviser. Longtime journalist and current UGA instructor Rebecca Burns was picked from more than 50 applicants. A portion of the story announcing her appointment: “Burns’ many years of experience as a reporter and editor — most recently the Deputy Editor of Atlanta Magazine — along with her work as a digital strategist put her at the top of the list, and those things alone do not begin to list her accomplishments. She has written three books and held a number of editor positions as well as Director of Digital Strategy at for Emmis Publishing and Communications.” (The Red & Black, University of Georgia) | A bit more about her via a Q&A last year (Politico) Read More

Otterbein U. Student Media Wins Lawsuit: Campus Police Records Must Be Made Public

Otterbein University graduate and former Otterbein360 news editor Anna Schiffbauer is having a good day. This morning, the Ohio Supreme Court ruled in her favor on a longstanding lawsuit spurred by her request for access to Otterbein’s police reports.

For those just tuning in to this roughly four-year-old fight, it centered on a single question: Does a private university + “a public entity” = open records? Read More

The Best Student Newspaper Story I’ve Read So Far in 2015

Sara DiNatale is the outgoing editor-in-chief of The Spectrum student newspaper and a recent graduate of the University of Buffalo. Over the past two semesters, she put together a powerful longform feature report on a former UB student whose life was upended after being convicted on child pornography charges and labeled as a level 2 sex offender. Read More

DePaul Student Newspaper to School: Stop Blocking Access to Campus Sources

The DePaulia student newspaper at DePaul University is having trouble gaining access to important sources on campus and getting full answers to important questions when they do.

In a new editorial, the paper shared, “It’s difficult if not impossible to get the real information [staffers] need, often it’s just watered-down talking points. … The DePaul brand is a part of our brand, and we don’t want it to falter. But for any institution to function at its highest capacity, people must ask questions. At a university it can come from the students, it can come from faculty and it can come from journalists. If there’s nothing to hide, there’s no reason to hide.” Read More

Meet the Summer 2015 CMM Editorial Fellows

The CMM Editorial Fellowship is aimed at ensuring the voices of student media leaders are amplified and regularly heard alongside those of journalism professors and professionals. The summer 2015 class of Fellows is comprised of an elite crew of current and former top editors and reporters at student media across the U.S. and in Canada.
The Fellowship seeks to provide these student journalists and recent graduates with a periodic platform to share a bit about their work and weigh in on major media news, tough ethical calls and the changing press and higher ed landscapes.
The first featured summer Fellows post should appear by week’s end or early next week at latest.

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Old Dominion Student Newspaper Website Hacked by Group Protesting Killing of Muslims

The Mace and Crown became the El Moujahidin for roughly 24 hours beginning Sunday night. Unknown vandals hacked the website of the Old Dominion University student newspaper, replacing its regular site with a single webpage sporting a black backdrop, a red skull-faced winged creature emblem and messages supporting Palestine and denouncing the killing of Muslims.

Upon learning of the site’s takeover yesterday evening, editors worked with the web hosting company GoDaddy to get the protest page removed — forcing them to also temporarily shut down the site. As of this posting, the site was not yet live and back to normal. In a brief statement released via a Google Doc, Mace and Crown editors referred to the individuals who caused this trouble as being part of “an Algerian hacker group.” Read More

College Media News: LSU By Drone, Evolution of UF’s Innovation News Center & Badger Herald for Life

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.

‘A Natural Next Step.’ The Badger Herald at the University of Wisconsin-Madison is going digital-first and weekly in print. Editor Tara Golshan: “Three years ago, we were printing a newspaper five days a week, but we knew this wasn’t what our readers wanted. Moving to two print editions a week allowed us to re-think what the paper should be; not just telling students what the news is but why it matters to them. Our move today is a natural next step.” (The Badger Herald, University of Wisconsin-Madison) Read More

Fake Newsman Tweets Commencement Speech to Journalism Students: ‘You Suck At This But You’ll Get Better’

1Gary Vosot is a fake local newscaster with a lot of chutzpah and more than 4,500 Twitter followers. Yesterday, Vosot (real name: Matt Evans) tweeted top tips to impending journalism school graduates. He described the roughly hour-long stream as an impromptu commencement speech.

The unfiltered advice appears to have earned the respect of media pros and profs far and wide. As a former sports reporter tweeted, “I know he’s a parody account, but every young journalist should read the @GaryVosot commencement tweets from today.”

Similarly, the communications director for the American Heart Association shared, “Loving @GaryVosot’s commencement address tweets to journalism students — real world advice delivered with some comedy.”

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College Media Podcast: Alicia Keene, Graduate Executive Director, The Hub@TTU, Texas Tech University

Alicia Keene is a graduate student at Texas Tech University, pursuing a dual master’s in mass communications and business. She earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism in May 2014 from Texas Tech, graduating as the College of Media & Communication’s valedictorian. Keene serves as the graduate executive director of The Hub@TTU, an independent student-run, digital news outlet. She previously served as the outlet’s news director and enterprise editor.

During our chat, Keene discusses the Hub’s editorial aims, secrets to success and the leadership style she’s found most effective. She also offers some tips for student journalists similarly interested in launching and running a full-blown news start-up. And she even drops a life and management lesson she took away from a recent episode of “Game of Thrones.” :) Read More

Harvard Crimson Data Reporting Projects Focus on Faculty Political Donations, Student-Athlete Hometowns

The Harvard Crimson at Harvard University recently unveiled a pair of fascinating features built atop data analysis — breaking down political campaign contributions made by Harvard faculty and pinpointing what parts of the country the school’s student-athletes live.

The findings of the first: “Eighty-four percent of campaign contributions made by a group of 614 Harvard faculty, instructors and researchers between 2011 and the third quarter of 2014 went to federal Democratic campaigns and political action committees.”

The findings of the second: “For all the differences between the recruitment of athletes and regular students at Harvard, there is one overriding similarity: a target geography. For athletes and non-athletes alike, the Northeast is Harvard College’s most fertile recruiting ground.” Read More

5 Questions for a (Formerly) Pissed Off Journalism Student

In a column late last week for The Badger Herald student newspaper, University of Wisconsin-Madison senior Polo Rocha began with a confession.

“I started reporting this column as a pissed off journalism student,” Rocha wrote. “It’s not that I’m ungrateful for the wonderful classes and professors I’ve had at University of Wisconsin’s journalism school. It’s that my experience there lacked something.”

What should students expect from their journalism school experience nowadays? And how much and how fast should journalism educators adapt to keep up with a media landscape which Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour recently called “the Wild West.”

As Wintour shared in a New York Magazine interview, “You walk on the street and get a Starbucks and things have changed by the time you come back to the office.”

Or the classroom. In Rocha’s words, “Keeping a modern curriculum is an issue journalism schools across the country grapple with.” Read More

Advice for Journalism Students Who Are About to Graduate & Join the News Industry

1The last question tossed out during this week’s web journalists’ Twitter chat asked newsy professionals and profs to offer advice of the 140-character variety to j-students preparing to graduate and enter the media universe.

Below is a round-up of responses — including one I tossed out, linked to a recent audio post of mine — all sporting the hashtag #WJChat. Join in the chat each Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST. Read More

Campus Newspaper Files Lawsuit Against College, Says Officials ‘Intimidate & Harass Student Journalists’

A dozen current and former staffers of The Calumet at Iowa’s Muscatine Community College are suing school officials for a series of actions they claim are harassing and in retaliation for quality journalism.

1Among the charges laid out in the lawsuit, covered in more detail by Mark Keierleber for a Student Press Law Center report: 1) The removal of the paper’s longtime faculty adviser Jim Compton soon after an odd dispute between the paper and an MCC professor. 2) A sudden reduction in funding and other attempts “to marginalize the journalism program” at the school. 3) A general push by some administrators and faculty to, in the words of the staff’s legal counsel, “create a restraint on free speech and to essentially let the newspaper — without getting rid of it — allow it to die on the vine.”

One example of these restraint efforts: An MCC admin filed an Equal Employment Opportunity complaint against the Calumet’s now-former adviser Jim Compton. Why? Because, gasp, the paper had the gall to report on the fact that the college’s student senate president had been named Student of the Month twice — in a contest in which the winning student’s uncle was a judge.

Then came the phone call. Read More

Editor to Student Newspaper: ‘Thank You for Giving Me a Front-Row Seat to a Hell of a Year’

Sarah E. Brown is wrapping up her run as state and national editor of The Daily Tar Heel, the student newspaper at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She’s also worked at or written for a host professional news organizations during her time at UNC including The Philadelphia Inquirer, Bloomberg, La Jeune Politique and the North Carolina daily The Pilot. In the post below — originally published on her blog and reposted here with permission — Brown says goodbye to the DTH. The sentiments are at times specific to Brown’s paper, school and coverage area, but they should also be recognizable more generally to anyone who’s served or is still serving on staff at a student media outlet.

By Sarah E. Brown

It hasn’t hit me that it’s all over. I’m not sure when it will.


Sarah E. Brown is the outgoing state and national editor of The Daily Tar Heel at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Upon graduation, she will be working at The Chronicle of Higher Education.

For the past week I feel like I’ve gotten a much-needed few days off from The Daily Tar Heel to take finals in classes that I’ve mostly attended but to which I’ve sometimes not devoted my full attention (dear professors: I really am sorry). I’ve pretended not to care about my grades anymore — because, well, it’s the senior journalism major thing to do — but I care a little.

Now I’ve finished my last exam and have no plans for the next five days besides cleaning, packing, Netflix and a beer or two. I feel kind of confused

The DTH has structured my life five days a week for nine months. I knew I had to be in the office by 3:30 p.m. every day. Before then, I was frequently responding to texts and emails from staff writers who needed help with their story angle or who had called state legislator after state legislator and heard from none of them (no surprise there).

I squeezed in runs during the hour break between classes or between editing stories. Homework, papers and studying took a backseat until StatNat’s content was copyfit and the shells for the next day’s writers were written. That often wound up being 11 p.m. — or later.

No, I haven’t gotten enough sleep, I haven’t hung out nearly enough with people outside the newsroom and I haven’t given a whole lotta love to my battered GPA. But I wouldn’t have spent my final year at UNC any other way. Read More

Student Advice Columnist at U. of Kansas Helps Undergrads Navigate ‘Whirlwind of College Life’

Anissa Fritz has the answers to your questions, concerns and insecurities. Need help motivating friends to exercise more? Ask Anissa. Trying to decide whether grad school is right for you? Ask Anissa. Working up the courage to talk to your crush after class? Ask Anissa.

“Ask Anissa” is a popular advice column produced for The University Daily Kansan at the University of Kansas. Since it debuted in January, Fritz, a rising junior from Carrollton, Texas, has weighed in on a bevy of life, love, health and career conundrums.

A few other samples: Should I get a dog? Should I transfer schools for my significant other? What if I hate my relationship partner’s pet names for me? How do I tell my roomie we won’t be sharing living quarters next year? Read More

College Media Geeks: Lisa Khoury, Award-Winning Journalist & U. of Buffalo Alum


Lisa Khoury is a graduate of the University of Buffalo. During her time at UB, she served as managing editor of The Spectrum student newspaper.

Lisa Khoury graduated roughly a year ago from the University of Buffalo with an English degree, a certificate in journalism and multiple national awards for her reporting and editing work.

During her time at UB, Khoury served as managing editor of The Spectrum student newspaper and helped launch the outlet’s first online newscast Spectrum 360. She also interned at or contributed to Artvoice, Tonawanda News, WGRZ-TV and The Buffalo News.

Upon graduation, Khoury, a Buffalo native, worked first with the Buffalo News as a city and region reporter and later landed an internship with ABC News. Over the past seven months, she worked in the organization’s Specialized Units department, which handles investigative, medical, business and law and justice stories for all ABC News platforms. Read More

5 Standout Student Press Stories: Pregnancy, Police Scanner, OCD & Paid Cuddling

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.


(To nominate a student press news report, feature story, profile, op-ed, editorial, video or multimedia package for inclusion in a future spotlight, tweet me or email me ASAP.)


PROFILE AWESOMENESS ALERT: “Pregnant at Harvard?” The Harvard Crimson, Harvard University

1In a powerfully raw first-person essay, an anonymous Harvard University student writes about Ivy League life, love, a break-up and an unexpected pregnancy.

In the student’s words:

“This isn’t Mean Girls — I’m not going to tell you, ‘Don’t have sex. You will get pregnant, and you will die.’ But what I will say is that, yes, there are nights when I wish I could die, when I look in the mirror and hate myself with every fiber of my being. There are nights where I stay up holding the locket, the one piece I have of both my ex-boyfriend and my child, and just cry hysterically. There are nights where I try so hard to convince myself that life is worthwhile by talking myself to sleep with thoughts of stargazing and dancing and laughter, but no matter what I think about I can’t get rid of an all-encompassing sense of pain.” Read More

Former Student Newspaper Editor at American U. Talks Journalism, Washington D.C. & Nutella

American University senior Heather Mongilio ran The Eagle student newspaper for 382 days. She moved on from the editor-in-chief position 14 days ago. She graduates in 10 days. She turned 22 two days ago. And she will be remembered by the Eagle crew for her journalism instincts and one very special dessert — the homemade Nutella and strawberry crescent rolls she baked and brought to weekly editorial meetings.

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Journalism Lesson #1: Go Abroad NOW (Your Future Journalism Self Will Thank You)

Click on the play button below to hear my spirited, rambly rundown about the opportunities awaiting future foreign correspondents and travel writers — even while still at the undergrad stage — if they’re simply willing to let go of fear or laziness and set foot outside the U.S. ASAP.

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