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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College Media & the Newsroom: ‘Why Do We Need Face Time When We Can Just FaceTime?’

Roughly a week ago, the University of Tampa planned to kick The Minaret student newspaper out of its longtime newsroom — relocating the staff to a nearby office that is much smaller and without a few current amenities. The school’s rationale: A separate administrative team needs the newsroom space more than the paper nowadays.

Fortunately, in the face of mounting internal, social media and outside press pushback, UT administrators quickly caved and said the Minaret staff could stay in its current spot. But the larger question of newsroom relevancy lingers.

1In her recent farewell column, Hannah Jeffrey, outgoing editor-in-chief of The Daily Gamecock at the University of South Carolina, wrote, “I go to the newsroom like most people go home. I’ve screwed up there. I’ve cried hard and laughed way harder there. I’ve gotten and delivered the best and worst news there. I’ve moved on there.”

Do most collegiate journalists share Jeffrey’s sentiments? Is the student press newsroom still like home to them? Or have they moved on to a more anywhere-everywhere platform-based journalism existence?

To dig into these questions, I reached out like usual to the spring 2015 CMM Fellows — an elite crew of top editors and reporters at student media across the U.S. and in Europe — to get their perspectives on a main question prompt: In the digital-mobile era, how important is a permanent newsroom space for your news outlet? Or as one of the Fellows puts it: “Why do we need face time when we can just FaceTime?” Read More

College Media News: Peace, Love, Weed, Theft, Transparency Issues & March Madness Memories

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.

Peace, Love, Weed … Theft? This past Tuesday, hundreds of copies of The Daily Gamecock at the University of South Carolina were swiped and trashed. The top story on that day’s front page was about a pro-marijuana rally, accompanied by a prominent photo of a student holding up a sign reading “Peace, Love, Weed.” The student is smiling in the shot but requested Tuesday that the pic be removed from the Daily Gamecock website and social media feeds. Might the peace-love-weed supporter be the student newspaper thief? Editor-in-chief Hannah Jeffrey tells the Student Press Law Center: “I don’t want to directly link it without the proof. All we know is that he came up and talked to our student media director and asked for the picture to be taken down. … And right around that time, someone came in and we have video of them taking the papers. I don’t want to connect A and B without that link but that’s our hunch.” Read More

Daily Titan Calls Out Cal State Fullerton Officials for Media Silence, Stonewalling & Rudeness

The main image accompanying a new editorial in The Daily Titan at California State University, Fullerton, depicts a massive, seemingly impenetrable red brick wall with the words CSUF ADMINISTRATION scrawled across it. At the bottom, a tiny gentleman in a reporter’s cap is shown asking, “Would you like to comment on anything?”

According to the Daily Titan, the answer is often “nope,” or at least “not really.” Student newspaper staffers are apparently facing an increasingly air-tight and frustrating wall of silence or an overwhelmingly slew of PR dreck when seeking quotes and context for stories. Read More

‘Unwarranted Minaret Eviction’: U. of Tampa Student Newspaper Forced from Newsroom, Relocated to Much Smaller Space

Update, Friday April 24th: University officials have reversed their decision and cancelled the eviction.

Start of original post, from Thursday April 23rd:

The Minaret at the University of Tampa has been evicted from its newsroom in the campus student center and shoved into a nearby space roughly half the size. The required relocation was ordered without input from staffers, the paper’s faculty adviser or anyone else connected to student media or journalism education at the school.

In a meeting on Monday — timed curiously to occur when current faculty adviser Tiffini Theisen was teaching and so could not attend — administrators surprised a pair of top Minaret staffers and an incoming faculty adviser/journalism professor with news about the move. School officials told them the Student Conduct Office needed the newsroom space more than the student newspaper — which has occupied it for more than a decade.

As Theisen wrote in an email to admins and Minaret supporters, “Less than 24 hours after that, moving boxes were dumped onto busy students during the most hectic time of the semester, in a grim indication that the decision was final and it would be up to them to take on the enormous task of packing the entire office in their ‘spare’ time.” Read More

Pitt News Editors: Former New York Times Leader Jill Abramson ‘Hasn’t Let Journalism’s Reinvention or Gender Disparity Clobber Her Optimism’

Jill Abramson ventured last week to the Steel City to talk journalism with University of Pittsburgh students. In recent months, the former New York Times executive editor has popped up evermore frequently in the mainstream press and on geeky insider media sites. The buzzwords surrounding most pieces about her and her post-NYT endeavors: Women Leaders in the Newsroom. Traditional Media’s Future. $100,000 Stories. And $1 Million Book Deal.

Prior to a class chat at Pitt, Abramson kindly sat for an interview with Pitt News editor-in-chief Natalie Daher (also a CMM Editorial Fellow) and managing editor Danielle Fox. Read More

Incoming Kansan Editor-in-Chief at KU: ‘We’re One of the Best Student Media Organizations, So Let’s Prove It’

Katie Kutsko, incoming editor-in-chief of The University Daily Kansan at the University of Kansas, is currently oozing awesomely geeky journalism passion. It has spilled over into a compelling manifesto on the publishing platform Medium in which she rouses the Kansan gang and sets forth a vision to change “the newsroom’s culture from top to bottom.” In her words, “We’re one of the best student media organizations, so let’s prove it.”

The 110-year-old Kansan has been killing it lately, including through the staff’s sustained efforts to report on and call greater attention to issues and incidences of student sexual violence.

But change is coming — including a drop starting this August from daily to twice per week in print. With this shift as a foundation, Kutsko proposes a series of other renovations and reinventions touching on areas ranging from staffing and news production to content and reader engagement. Overall, her white paper for a revitalized Kansan reads as a fascinating case study for other college media to analyze and consider. Kudos to Kutsko for sharing it publicly, raw and in full. Read More

College Media News: Kentucky Kernel Editor Killed, Northern Michigan Lawsuit, ‘Fiscal Strains,’ Print Cutbacks & Oklahoma City Bombing Anniversary

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 Campus Remembers.” Kentucky Kernel photo editor Jonathan Krueger was shot and killed in an alleged robbery-homicide near the University of Kentucky campus last week. Two suspects have been arrested and charged. Kernel staffer Annie Dunbar: “Jonathan Krueger never met a stranger. He had an infectious smile, made an impression on everyone he met, was constantly looking for the next adventure and always maintained a positive attitude. Krueger lived for adventures. From showing everyone videos of intense snowboarding stunts that he planned to reenact or attempting to do tricks on his bike in the Kernel office, Krueger was the definition of ‘YOLO.'” (The Kentucky Kernel, University of Kentucky) Read More

‘It Happens Here, Too’: Student Newspaper at Loyola Marymount Spotlights Sexual Violence in Special Report

I carried with me the hopes of my family. … I carried my own aspirations. Most importantly, I carried the possibility of a fresh start as a burgeoning young woman in the city of my dreams. But those hopes and that naive sense of possibility were taken away from me the night I was raped. I was left empty, my humanity stripped from me, alone in a sea of skyscrapers.”

A new five-page special report in The Los Angeles Loyolan at Loyola Marymount University dissects and contemplates sexual violence on the modern college campus from multiple perspectives — including a student rape survivor, the parents of a student rape survivor and a sexual assault perpetrator.

The guest column by the student survivor’s parents is especially compelling. They share details of their daughter’s rape this past Halloween at a house party, their subsequent prolonged grief and their continued lack of understanding at what compels individuals to rape or help protect an alleged rapist. Read More

Ohio U. Student Newspaper Suspends Opinion Editor for Cutting Secret Deal with School President

The Post suspended its opinion editor Xander Zellner for two weeks and has publicly apologized to readers for a secret deal Zellner agreed to with Ohio University’s president.

According to The Athens News, Zellner convinced OU prez Roderick McDavis to become an occasional op-ed contributor to the Post starting earlier this year. Along with nailing down details like “frequency of contribution, word count, topics of interest, and headline writing,” the president’s handlers secured an agreement from Zellner to have McDavis’ op-eds run without a published rebuttal of any sort for at least 24 hours. Hmm.

Zellner then told no one else on the student newspaper’s staff. Double hmm. And double trouble, apparently. Read More

Dan Visits The Daily Pennsylvanian, Part 2: ‘All Good Things are Wild & Free’

[Check Out Part 1: An Audit or an Audition]

Daily Pennsylvanian editor-in-chief Jill Castellano has a painting above the desk in her newsroom office sporting the words “All Good Things are Wild & Free.” On her iMac screen, by comparison, is a Google doc with three tabs: “Weekly Timeline,” “To Do” and “Accountability.”

Castellano, 20, is accountable for the editorial side of The Daily Pennsylvanian operations. As second-in-command to executive editor Matt Mantica, she oversees and assists more than 300 DP staffers. She also keeps an eye on the top-notch arts and culture magazine 34th Street and the news, gossip and entertainment blog Under the Button.

During a chat in her office earlier this month, Castellano oozed calm passion and a packed schedule. She sported a peachy blouse underneath a tan blazer with black slacks, long sandy blond hair with a deep part and a warm smile. Read More

Dan Visits The Daily Pennsylvanian, Part 1: An Audit or an Audition

On a sunny afternoon in early April, I stood near the corner of 40th and Walnut streets in Philadelphia, staring at the home base of what is possibly the best college newspaper in America: The Daily Pennsylvanian at the University of Pennsylvania.

It’s windy, but warm, warmer at least than it has been in months. A stream of cars scoot steadily down Walnut’s two-lane, one-way thoroughfare. A bunch of bicyclists and pedestrians join them — some sporting backpacks and branded jackets subtly or overtly revealing their Penn bona fides.

This intersection and surrounding area used to be on the fringes of Penn’s campus. As the university has expanded and the city has evolved, it’s become a much more central location — geographically and economically. The multi-block strip now operates as the school’s unofficial retail corridor. Read More

Student Newspaper Story Leads to Therapy Dog’s Removal from U. of Rhode Island Residence Hall

A feel-good report in the University of Rhode Island student newspaper about a longtime housekeeper and his beloved therapy dog has led to the dog’s removal from campus. Warning: Canine lovers may be saddened or enraged at this tale’s sequence of events.

First, the dog had his day. The Good 5 Cent Cigar at URI ran a piece this past Thursday focused on the young black and white Husky, named Ivy. In recent months, Ivy has become a high-profile, popular part of a campus residence hall. She is brought to the dorm each morning by her owner and URI janitor Mike LaPolice. Along with pale blue eyes, Ivy boasts a nationally-recognized therapy dog certification and, according to LaPolice, “she genuinely cares about people and wants to make sure they’re OK.” Read More

PSU, UVA Student Papers Team Up for Special Report on ‘Fraternities, Alcohol & Sexual Assault’

“I would say there’s an alcohol-sexual assault correlation, and obviously alcohol and social events are an aspect of the Greek community that, for better or worse, has been around for a long time.” – PSU Interfraternity Council president

The Daily Collegian at Penn State University and The Cavalier Daily at the University of Virginia recently teamed up for a terrific special report spotlighting in stark detail the ever-tangled, dangerous triangulation of alcohol, Greek life and sexual violence at colleges and universities nationwide.

The combined long-form report by Collegian metro editor Erin McCarthy and Cavalier Daily news associate editor Anna Higgins is largely focused on a pair of high-profile recent scandals at the schools: the fallout from the Rolling Stone “A Rape on Campus” report and PSU fraternity Kappa Delta Rho’s operation of “a private Facebook group containing photos of nude, unconscious women.”

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‘First Amendment, Dead’: North Wind Fights Faculty Adviser Ouster, Editor Rejection

A senior administrator at Northern Michigan University may have helped kick the school’s student newspaper adviser to the curb and stopped a top student staffer from becoming editor-in-chief in retaliation for the paper’s coverage and reporting methods over the past year.

In a new bombshell report, The North Wind says Steven Neiheisel, NMU’s vice president for enrollment and student services, orchestrated the recent vote by the paper’s Board of Directors to not renew North Wind adviser Cheryl Reed’s contract. According to the paper, he also unduly influenced the board’s decision to reject managing editor Michael Williams’ application to be the paper’s next editor-in-chief — even though he’s the current second-in-command and was the only candidate for the top spot.

As a student board member tells the North Wind about Neiheisel’s intentions: “[I]t was very clear, in my personal opinion, I am pretty sure it has been his plan to get Cheryl Reed fired.” Read More

College Media & the College President: ‘I Wouldn’t Call It a Warm Relationship’

College president transparency — from the search process to everyday dealings with students and the press — has become an increasingly scrutinized and in some cases criticized issue.

To that end, I recently reached out to the spring 2015 CMM Fellows — an elite crew of top editors and reporters at student media across the U.S. and in Europe — to get their perspectives on a main question prompt: What is your outlet’s relationship with your college or university president? Read More

‘Special Edition for Ms. Thrasher’: Arkansas State Herald Honors Longtime Adviser

“The loss of an adviser is something indescribable to a college newspaper staff. It was impossible to fully understand and appreciate the extent of Ms. Thrasher’s work and dedication to this publication and staff until she was gone. That woman was truly amazing. She was the soul of our newspaper and the heart of our staff.”

The Herald at Arkansas State University has put together a special edition honoring the life, work and legacy of longtime adviser and journalism instructor Bonnie Thrasher.

Thrasher, who passed away in her sleep early last week, served as Herald adviser since 1993 and was a respected leader within the college media community — she was College Media Association (CMA) vice president at the time of her death. Read More

U.Va. Student Paper Criticizes ‘Columbia Report’ of Rolling Stone’s ‘Rape on Campus’ Story

The Cavalier Daily is disappointed in the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism’s new report detailing the failures of the now-infamous Rolling Stone “A Rape on Campus” feature. In an editorial posted yesterday not long after the report was released, the University of Virginia student newspaper argued that it focused too much on the screw-ups related to “Jackie’s story” at the expense of other journalism misdeeds and the author’s alleged larger mischaracterizations of U.Va.

1For those in need of a refresher, Rolling Stone published “A Rape on Campus” by Sabrina Rubin Erdely this past December. The 9,000-word story explored the seemingly rampant, poorly adjudicated cases of rape and sexual assault at U.Va. and other colleges and universities nationwide. The focus of the article’s stunning opener: a U.Va. student identified as “Jackie” recounting an alleged gang rape carried out by seven members of a university fraternity.

The report overall — and especially Jackie’s story — set the national press and general public abuzz upon its release. Yet, the buzz quickly turned to doubt and then rebukes when it was determined the gang rape allegation was most likely made up and the reporting and editing that led to its inclusion in the piece were horrendously flawed. Read More

North Wind Faculty Adviser Fired, Top Editor-in-Chief Candidate Rejected at Northern Michigan

The Board of Directors of The North Wind, the student newspaper at Northern Michigan University, has voted to not rehire faculty adviser Cheryl Reed for the next school year. In addition, the board has rejected current managing editor Michael Williams’ candidacy to be the next editor-in-chief. He is the only student who applied for the paper’s top spot. But his EIC dreams were dashed in a 5-4 vote after a “lengthy executive [read: secret] session.”

According to an initial report posted on the North Wind site, “Current editor-in-chief Emma Finkbeiner was not allowed in the interview of Michael Williams or in the discussion of his candidacy following due to the ruling of an ‘executive session.’ Finkbeiner is not considered a part of the board due to her non-voting status. The discussion of the rehiring of Reed was not listed on the agenda.” Yowza.

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