Monday, July 30, 2007

Bad news for student journalists

Student journalists may have a new deadline for filing First Amendment appeals: graduation day.

According to a unanimous ruling last week by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, First Amendment lawsuits by student journalists at public universities become moot when the plaintiffs graduate.

The ruling came in an appeal by two former editors of The Kansas State Collegian, who claimed that their First Amendment rights were violated in 2004 when the university removed their longtime adviser Ron Johnson from the newspaper.

The appeals court ruled that “because defendants can no longer impinge upon plaintiffs’ exercise of freedom of the press, plaintiffs’ claims for declaratory and injunctive relief are moot.” The court went on to say that “there is no reasonable expectation that [the former editors] will be subjected, post-graduation, to censorship by defendants.”

Many in the college media community were disturbed by the court's decision.

Mark Goodman, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, issued this statement about the ruling: “The court created a standard for mootness that makes it impossible for virtually any student to make a First Amendment claim because they will graduate before their case is concluded. It’s just plain wrong.”

You can read more about the case at
Editor and Publisher

Inside Higher Ed

Student Press Law Center

Topeka Capital-Journal

Chronicle of Higher Education

Friday, July 27, 2007

Recent College Editor in Iraq

If you're looking for inspiration, The San Francisco Chronicle has a column today on a recent college journalist who is now covering the war in Iraq for The Washington Post.
Megan Greenwell was editor in chief of the Columbia Daily Spectator 2005 while she was a student at Barnard College.

Greenwell first distinguished herself as a journalist in high school when she was working as a reporter for Berkeley High School's biweekly student newspaper, the Jacket. She broke the story of a teenage girl from India, a fellow student at Berkeley High, who died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a Berkeley apartment building whose owner had brought the girl to the United States as a sex slave.

Summer training opportunities

If you think summer is the time for college newspaper editors and advisers to hit the beach and take a long break from the business of putting out a great newspaper, think again. Sure you can have some fun during your summer vacation, but this is also an important time to plan for the upcoming school year.

Do you want to run some kick-ass projects in your paper this year? Do you dream of setting up an investigative team? Are you thinking about a redesign? Is your Web site looking oh-so-turn-of-the-century? Once school starts, you’ll get caught up in the day-to-day demands of putting out your regular issues and dreams may get tossed aside. If you plan now, you may actually be able to make some of these long-term goals a reality.

In a series of blog entries, we’ll talk about some of the things you can do now to prepare for the coming semester.

The first is to check out some of the summer training opportunities for students and advisers.

Among them are:
College Media Advisers Advising Today’s College Media
August 2-3, 2007
Baltimore, MD

Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Advisers College Summer Journalism Workshop
August 3-5, 2007
Baltimore, MD

California College Media Association
Editorial and Advertising Boot Camp

September 15, 2007
Los Angeles, CA

Journalism Association of Community Colleges
Editors' Leadership Camp and Advertising Camp
July 31-August 2, 2007
Pismo Beach, CA

Mostly free online courses in everything from headline writing to design to leadership to ethics. This is a fabulous resources for students and advisers as well as professional journalists.

Investigative Reporters and Editors Computer-Assisted Boot Camp
August 5-10, 2007
Columbia, MO

Investigative Reporters and Editors
Mapping Data for News Stories

August 19, 2007
Columbia, MO

And don't forget the
Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Advisers National College Media Convention
October 24-28
Washington, D.C.

If you know of other summer training opportunities that should be listed email me at kanigel (at)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Facebook for College Newspapers

Interesting post from Amy Gahran on Poynter about the impact of a college newspaper creating a Facebook profile:

Facebook Boosts College Paper's Readership, Recruiting

By Amy Gahran

Following on my post yesterday about Facebook applications from news organizations, I received the following note from Charles McKenzie, assistant professor of journalism at the University of Tampa, and adviser to the student paper The Minaret.

McKenzie wrote:

"A month ago The Minaret created a Facebook profile called Minaret Online, and since then we've had amazing success. A month before school starts, our incoming freshman will soon be the second-highest class of registrants for our site (behind sophomores, who have also poured in through Facebook). So far, we've already attracted 900 Facebook 'friends.'

"Freshmen and transfers have a strong need for orientation, so we also published an open question on Facebook for nervous future students who worry about dorm, cafeteria and social issues. We've responded to their questions as they've rolled in.

"We use Facebook's info boxes to describe who we are and the various media we use (print, online, Webcast and radio). We also post breaking news to the site.

"[At least partly because of Facebook], We've already recruited approximately 20 talented new freshmen staffers (about double our core group of returning staffers). By comparison, last year we only recruited two freshmen -- both of whom are now section editors, so we hope to retain a large percentage of that 20. We are even considering having a sort of junior varsity freshman team led by sophomore editors to produce an entire issue later in the fall when our more senior staffers reach burnout.

"We also use Facebook's 'What do you think of me' and 'Wall' features to get feedback about The Minaret's coverage. That aspect hasn't really taken off yet.

"So Facebook's been huge for us. Even our small online-only summer editions, which are put together by three or four staffers, are getting record hits -- comparable to our spring issues in which we had a hard hitting story about a campus rape. Those had been by far our biggest issues, yet our summer numbers (thanks to Facebook) show we'll easily eclipse those in the fall."

CMA's Professional Development Committee is sponsoring a session "Finding Students Where They Live" at the National College Media Convention Oct. 24-28 in Washington, DC about how other student newspapers are using social networking sites to recruit staffers, monitor campus activities, collect story ideas, find sources and get in touch with readers. Speakers include Laura York of Garden City Community Community College, Sarah Morgan of Whittier College and
Regina Cassell of Washburn University. Check it out Friday, Oct. 26 at 9 a.m.

CMR Gives Survival Guide Thumbs Up

College Media Review, the flagship publication of College Media Advisers, reviews The Student Newspaper Survival Guide in its current (Spring 2007) issue.

In the review, Dr. John Tisdale, an associate professor of journalism at Texas Christian University, says the author has "covered it all."

"Rachele Kanigel's book is absolutely, and without question, essential reading for students, staff, and faculty associated with that product labeled a newspaper."

Tisdale praises the book, particularly the chapter on recruiting and training, which he says may be the most important chapter in the book. "When more students are tripping over one another in the rush to major in public relations and to avoid the newsroom completely, advisors and editors need to know how and where to find staff."

Tisdale's bottom line: "Kanigel has produced a highly useable book that fills a void in the market. I just wish it had come along more than two decades ago when my own journey into the student newspaper world began."

The review can be found on page 16 of College Media Review.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Multimedia storytelling program in Italy

I just returned from teaching in a summer multimedia storytelling program in Cagli, Italy and wanted to share a bit about the experience.

The four-week course for American undergraduate and graduate students was sponsored by the Institute for Education in International Media and Temple University.

This was the program’s sixth summer in Cagli, a small hilltown in the Marché region of Central Italy. If you close your eyes and picture a charming Italian village, you’ll get a pretty good vision of Cagli – cobblestone streets, flowers cascading from windowboxes, a piazza around every other corner. During the day, men sit on the stone wall in front of city hall, catching up on the day’s news. In the evenings families come down to the main piazza to meet neighbors and indulge in a cup of gelato. Cagli’s far off the tourist track, so we were able to soak up true Italian culture for the month.

During the four weeks, the students studied Italian language, intercultural communication, storytelling for the Web (which I co-taught with longtime foreign correspondent Douglas Mine), video, digital photography and Web design. At the end of the project they created a Webzine about the town, capturing stories of the local community. This year students trekked along with a dog hunting for truffles, documented the annual flower-strewn Corpus Christi procession, listened to opera students rehearse for performances at the 130-year-old opera house, and watched a chef make his personal take on melone e prosciutto.

It’s a neat way to learn multimedia because students work in teams to produce four stories -- each student is responsible for completing a short video, a text story, a photo package and a Web page for one of the stories. Students also have time for more informal interaction with Cagli's shopkeepers and residents; each summer they chronicle their experiences in a blog, Cagli Adesso.

This summer we had 33 students from American universities, including Temple, Loyola University in Maryland, Gonzaga University in Spokane, St. Louis University, West Virginia University, Bennett College and the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. Several of them, including Kathryn Gregory of the The Daily Athenaeum (West Virginia University) and Aziza Jackson of The Bennett Banner (Bennett College for Women) were college newspaper editors.

Later this summer the Institute for Education in International Media will put on a similar program in Armagh, Northern Ireland.

We’re already beginning to plan for next summer. The program will almost certainly return to Cagli, but we’re also looking at potential sites in France and Spain. If you want more information about the program, feel free to email me at kanigel (at)