Year in Review: Most Viral Student Media of 2012, Part 1

Allegations of Ivy League hazing. Alice in Wonderland on LSD. A Biblical studies professor busted in a child predator sting. A student squirrel whisperer. A 280-pound black bear falling from a tree. And something called milking. These buzzwords and teaser descriptions factor into a few of the many viral creations published or posted by college media over the past year. The student press was responsible for an especially high number of viral reports, columns, videos, photos, headlines, and tweets in 2012. Collectively, their moments in the digital spotlight offer a fascinating foundation for a student press year in review– a glimpse at what was especially popular, controversial, funny, unexpected, and out of control. In that spirit, here is a chronological rundown of top college media moments and content that blew up online in 2012.

Penn State Daily Collegian Names Entire ‘Sandusky Scandal’ Staff to Paper’s Hall of Fame

The entire 2011-2012 editorial and business staff of The Daily Collegian at Penn State University has been named to the paper’s Hall of Fame. It is an honor almost exclusively given to individual staffers. Longtime Collegian general manager Patti Hartranft announced the special selection this past Saturday night at a formal dinner in State College, Pa., part of a weekend-long alumni reunion celebrating the paper’s 125th anniversary.

The Onward State Joe Paterno Death Error Saga: The Complete Storify

In the wake of the Onward State Joe Paterno death error saga, I have put together a Storify providing a full listing of relevant links that collectively lay out the gist of what happened and the larger lessons we can hopefully all take away. The hope is that it might be a helpful resource for j-students, student media staffers, and their advisers and profs.

Alabama’s Crimson White Offers Interesting Take on Paterno Legacy re: Bear Bryant (@TheCrimsonWhite)

In a piece published earlier today, The Crimson White at the University of Alabama offers an interesting take on the death and legacy of longtime Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno. CW staffer Rich Robinson reports from the perspective of UA and Tuscaloosa, where similarly beloved coach Bear Bryant died close to 30 years ago.

Penn State’s Daily Collegian Publishes Special Edition on Joe Paterno (@DailyCollegian #PSU)

The Daily Collegian has published a special commemorative edition honoring longtime Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno. Related pieces touch on Paterno’s upbringing and early coaching career, his devotion to family and charities, the reactions of his former players, and the scandal that overwhelmed his final days.

Onward State Founder Explains ‘What Happened Last Night’ with Paterno Death Mistake

In a post shared this morning, Onward State founder and general manager Davis Shaver candidly explains how the Penn State student news outlet mistakenly reported Joe Paterno’s death prior to its actual occurrence. According to Shaver, the error seems to have been caused by a pair of deceitful happenings in rapid succession: a hoax email from a supposedly high-ranking PSU official and a dishonest Onward State reporter.

Penn State’s Daily Collegian: ‘Messages to Joe Paterno’

In a video report completed last night and shared moments ago, Daily Collegian staffer Kelley King asks students gathered at the statue of former Penn State football coach Joe Paterno a single question: “If you could say one thing to Joe Paterno right now, what would it be?” The responses are especially touching amid word this morning that Paterno died overnight in the hospital.