Wednesday, August 22, 2007

College OTR enters college media fray

Here's another alternative to traditional college media: College OTR (On the Record).

OTR describes itself as "a new network of campus-specific blogs, written by students, for students, making sure that whatever happens on campus goes 'On The Record.' Think of us as your campus paper on crack -- quicker, funnier, and better-looking (even though we may be missing a few teeth)."

To date OTR includes bloggers from Boston U., Claremont, Cornell, GWU, Harvard, James Madison U, Northwestern, NYU, Penn State, Purdue, Stanford, Syracuse, Tufts, Vanderbilt, Vassar, Wesleyan, Yale and the universities of California (Berkeley and San Diego) Florida, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri (Columbia), North Carolina (Chapel Hill), Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin (Madison). The site, which is still in Beta mode, is planning to officially launch this fall.

Each school has its own home page like this:

The site is actively recruiting (according to, student bloggers are paid $500 per semester).

Because it's not regional, I don't see this as a threat to college newspapers in the way BigLickU, and The Loop are. It's hard to imagine these folks stealing our advertisers or even our readers in any serious way.

And from what I've seen of the content so far, I don't think we have to worry about our best and brightest staffers fleeing our newspapers to go work for College OTR. This site seems to specialize in unsubstantiated rumor, writing without reporting, goofy photo illustrations and not only anonymous sources but anonymous reporters.

Some examples:
* GWU: More Good Places for Hooking Up, Now with a Sexy Risk of Getting Caught

* University of Florida: Your boyfriend sucks... And apparently your best friend does too

Still, College OTR could beat campus newspapers to the punch on stories.

It's something for college media folks to keep our eye on--if only for lessons in what not to do.

What do YOU think of College OTR? Post a comment!

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