Sunday, September 30, 2007

Diversity: Covering GLBT issues on campus

Most college newspapers cover issues pertaining to gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender life from time to time or even on a regular basis. But in doing so, some inadvertently make errors of taste or judgment.

Questions abound -- should you identify an openly gay source even if the person's sexual identity has nothing to do with the story? What should you do if rumors surface that a prominent campus figure -- such as a college president or a football coach -- is gay? Is it OK to call someone a "practicing homosexual"? Which pronoun should you use for a transgender person? (See answers below.)

Fortunately there are resources to help journalists write fairly and sensitively about GLBT people and issues.
Among them:

  • National Gay and Lesbian Journalists Association -- Founded in 1990, NLGJA is an organization of journalists, media professionals, educators and students that works within the news industry to foster fair and accurate coverage of LGBT issues. Student membership is only $25 per year. The organization's Web site is chock full of useful resources. NLGJA sponsors an annual Excellence in Student Journalism Award and also sponsors scholarships and internships for students.

  • The Leroy F. Aarons Journalism Education Program -- Named for the late founder of NLGJA, the Leroy F. Aarons Journalism Education Program provides resources for educators and opportunities for students.

  • NGLJA stylebook supplement -- This stylebook supplement answers reporters' and copy editors' questions about GLBT terminology.

  • Coverage Tips by Leroy F. Aaronson, Poynter -- The founder of the NLGJA lays out suggestions for covering gay and lesbian issues.

  • Glad Media Reference Guide -- The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is dedicated to promoting and ensuring fair, accurate and inclusive representation of people and events in the media as a means of eliminating homophobia and discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The organization's Web site is stocked with useful resources.

And the answers to the questions above:
1) There's no reason to identify a source as gay if the person's sexual identity has nothing to do with the story. Use your sources as a guidepost -- if he or she doesn't bring it up, you shouldn't either. If the person does raise the issue in some way, ask yourself whether it's really relevant to the story.

2) The practice of "outing" prominent people remains controversial. Some journalists think it's bad form. Others like former NLGJA President Eric Hegedus, who published this op-ed column in the San Francisco Chronicle last year, consider not outing prominent people "a professional sin of omission – the failure to get all the facts by shying away from asking a newsmaker his or her sexual orientation." One rule of thumb is to ask whether the person's sexual orientation is relevant to their position and whether they are prominent enough to have their personal life exposed.

3) Don't use the term "practicing" homosexual. If a person's behavior is relevant, use the phrase “sexually active” as a modifier.

4) The term transgender "can include preoperative, postoperative or nonoperative transsexuals; female and male cross-dressers; drag queens or kings; female or male impersonators; and intersex individuals," according to the Stylebook Supplement on LGBT Terminology produced by the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. "When writing about a transgender person, use the name and personal pronouns that are consistent with the way the individual lives publicly."

Friday, September 28, 2007

Newspaper caught in security breach scandal

The Oregonian has a troubling story today about a student copy editor who was disciplined and a student newspaper adviser who was dismissed after the paper inadvertently found Social Security numbers and other sensitive data on student applicants on the university's computer system and then published a big story about the breach.

In an update today, The Oregonian reported that Blair Loving, the Western Oregon Journal copy editor who accidentally happened on the sensitive data while practicing editing on the newspaper's computer system, would not be expelled from Western Oregon University. As part of his punishment campus officials ordered him "to write a newspaper commentary on school policies," according to the news article.

Can campus officials order a student to write a newspaper commentary? Does the newspaper have to print such a piece?

Susan Wickstrom, adviser to the student paper for the past seven years, learned in August that her contract would not be renewed, according to The Oregonian.

Meanwhile, The Western Oregon Journal has only two stories on its Web site and there's no access to archives. That may be because classes just started on Monday.

We're eager to hear from Western Oregon Journal editors about what's happening over there. We'd also like to see the story about the security breach the paper ran in June. Post a comment here.

Update: has a piece on this today.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Rocky Mountain Collegian Update

It's always interesting to see how a newspaper handles coverage when the publication itself is at the center of a story.

A case in point: The Rocky Mountain Collegian, which found itself in the limelight this week after publishing an editorial on Sept. 21 that said, "Taser This... FUCK BUSH."

The profane editorial didn't just get officials and students at Colorado State University riled up. It made the national news and sparked debate around the country about The First Amendment, the use of foul language and the rights of the college press.

Here's how the newspaper has covered the controversy:

The paper has also made room for lots of letters to the editor and opinion columns voicing a variety of views, including:
As of this writing, the paper has received 980 comments on the editorial's Web page and countless other letters, comments and phone calls.

Whatever you think of the paper's editorial, The Collegian has certainly created a forum for public discussion on the First Amendment.

What do you think of the way the paper has handled being in the limelight? Do you think the paper's response to the furor is a model for other college papers? Post a comment below.

Seeking Story of the Month submissions

Did your paper do something this month that you’re particularly proud of? Do you have a recent story (text, slideshow, photo, video, multimedia, whatever) that’s innovative, in-depth, investigative or in some other way inspiring?

Send it to us!

The Student Newspaper Survival Blog is seeking submissions for its Story of the Month feature. This is not a “best of” contest. It’s a way to spotlight work being done by student newspapers that other student journalists can learn from. In addition to showing the piece, we’ll run a How I Got That Story column from the creator(s). Stories needn't be text -- they can be photo stories, video stories, etc.

Previous Stories of the Month included Stu Woo’s profile for the Brown Daily Herald of Reade Seligmann, one of the Duke lacrosse players who was acquitted of sexually assaulting a stripper invited to a team party and The Daily Egyptian's investigative report detailing accusations that Southern Illinois University Carbondale President Glenn Poshard had lifted portions of his 1984 dissertation without proper documentation.

These are the kinds of stories that can inspire student journalists around the world.

To submit a Story of the Month candidate, send an e-mail to with a link to the story and, if applicable, a PDF, JPG, GIF or TIFF file of the page it appeared on. Please include a 200- to 500-word statement explaining how the story came together. Deadline for this month is Oct. 1, 2007 for work published in September.

In addition to the Story of the Month, the Student Newspaper Survival Blog aims to highlight innovative features, ethical challenges, special projects, experiments in journalism, legal issues, etc., related to college journalism. Help us keep up on the latest by e-mailing with your tips.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Student reporter embedded in Iraq

It all started with a story he was writing for The Daily Princetonian.

Last fall, Wesley Morgan, then a Princeton freshman and a cadet in the university's ROTC program, interviewed a lieutenant general named David Petraeus for a profile he was writing for the Princeton student newspaper.

Little did the young reporter know that the plum interview would lead to a summer of reporting in Iraq.

Morgan continued to write about Petraeus as he was promoted to four-star general and commander of the U.S. forces in Iraq.

"When Petraeus had been in command in Iraq for a few weeks, I emailed him for help in finding an interesting internship for the summer," Morgan wrote last week in the first of a series of columns to be published in The Daily Princetonian. "His reply: Sure, he could suggest an internship, but wouldn't I rather go to Iraq? Well, of course I would — wouldn't you?"

Morgan had difficulty making all the arrangements but Bill Roggio, a conservative blogger affiliated with The Weekly Standard, stepped in, offering to help him get to Iraq. On July 23, armed with the latest Harry Potter book, Morgan boarded a plane to London and then made a connecting flight to Kuwait.

Morgan spent five weeks embedded with different units in Iraq, recording his observations in a blog, Notes from Downrange.

Meanwhile, his story has been picked up by The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and Harper's Magazine.

Wesley, we'd love to hear from you about your experiences. Post a comment here.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Profane editorial sparks free speech debate

The Rocky Mountain Collegian, the student newspaper at Colorado State University, is drawing fire for a profane four-word editorial published in Friday's edition:

In a letter to readers published on the newspaper's Web site, Editor-in-chief J. David McSwane explained that the seven-member editorial board decided to print the statement "in an effort to highlight the importance of free speech on a college campus. In doing so, the editorial board and I realized the statement was controversial and unpopular among some students and community members."

"As local and national media will inevitably jump on this controversy, I strongly urge the university community to try and understand that the intentions of the students on staff, including me, were not to cause harm, but rather to reinforce the importance of free speech at our great institution. My staff and I are extremely proud to be CSU students and members of this amazing community, and it is my sincere hope that our readers understand our intentions were not malicious."

Colorado State University President Larry Edward Penley issued a statement in response to the editorial in the student newspaper, which is self-funded and not supported by student fees:

"While student journalists enjoy all the privileges and protections of the First Amendment, they must also accept full responsibility for the choices they make. Members of a university community ought to be expected to communicate civilly and rationally and to make thoughtful arguments in support of even unpopular viewpoints. I am disappointed that the Collegian's recent editorial choices do not reflect the expectations we have of our student journalists nor the standards that are clearly articulated by student media policies. I also have every expectation that the readers of the Collegian will make their viewpoints known to the editor and the Board of Student Communications, which serves as the newspaper's publisher, and that ultimately, the newspaper will answer to its readers."

The university's press release notes that "Colorado State, as a state institution, is prohibited by law from censoring or regulating the content of its student media publication." It invites readers to "express their concerns to the student editor, J. David McSwane - - who has editorial control over the newspaper’s content, and the Board of Student Communications, which hires and, if necessary, removes student editors from office."

According to an article in The Coloradoan, advertisers pulled $30,000 worth of advertising in response to the editorial, prompting the newsroom to slash student employee pay and other budgets by 10 percent.

The incident was also covered by The Rocky Mountain News, Fox News, Channel 7 News and other media outlets.

What do you think of The Collegian's actions? Would your newspaper print an editorial like that or do you think the paper went too far? Is this free speech or just profanity?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Update on Andrew Meyer Coverage

The Independent Florida Alligator coverage of the Andrew Meyer Tasing incident has gotten even better!

A single Web page, accessible from the newspaper's home page, now brings together all the stories, photos and slide shows and provides a link to the video (noting that the newspaper didn't shoot it).

This package provides a terrific model for what to do when a big story breaks on your campus. Great work, Alligators.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

You've seen the video; now read the story

Millions have seen the "Don't Tase me, bro" videos of University of Florida student Andrew Meyer heckling John Kerry at a forum and then being subdued with a Taser by campus police.

Now you can see how the Independent Florida Alligator covered the story.

The newspaper's coverage began with a breaking news story that went up shortly after the incident. Within a few hours there were more than 60 comments on the story from outraged readers.

Over the course of this week the newspaper also ran:

One thing I didn't see, although it may have been there somewhere, was a link to the video. And it would have been nice if the paper packaged the stories together on the Web site so readers could follow the developments and look back at previous stories.

Still, overall, the coverage was deep, rich and thorough--a great example for college papers of how to cover a big breaking/developing news story. Kudos to the Independent Florida Alligator for a job well done.

We'd love to hear from Alligator editors about their experience with the story. Post a comment here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Daily '49er fights online-only publication

Editors at The Daily 49er at California State University Long Beach are fighting an administration suggestion that the newspaper consider going to online-only publication.

"I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take this anymore," Editor-in-chief Bradley Zint wrote in an opinion piece on Monday that echoed the famous line in the movie "Network."
"I am pretty upset right now, and I'm not going to take this without a fight - a fight as in written words like this, public discussions and peaceful methods."

In a front-page article headlined "Death of the 49er print edition?" the newspaper reported Monday that Gerry Riposa, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, is considering moving the paper to online-only publication. On Friday Riposa outlined plans to conduct a feasibility study to assess whether the campus might be better served by a Web-only newspaper.

"There are many different alternative [forms of a newspaper]," the newspaper quotes Riposa as saying. "There are some who want strictly print, some who want more electronic and one edition of print, a few who want both and some who want electronic form only. ... Maybe it's my political science background, but first I make a hypothesis, then I do research, then I make conclusions."

Daily Forty-Niner General Manager Beverly Munson is quoted in the article as saying that an online-only newspaper is a financially premature move.

"Half a percent of our ad revenue comes from online [advertisements]," Munson said. "If the Forty-Niner were to go online only, it would have about $500 ad revenue annually. We're not ready for this. We're not ready to go online only."

In a sidebar, The Daily 49er gathers reaction to the story from journalism educators and college newspapers around the country.

Interestingly, the articles came out in The Daily 49er at the same time we printed comments from Sean Gallagher of the Los Angeles Times encouraging student papers to go to online-only publication. The post drew a number of heated comments on both the College Media Advisers listserv and this blog.

Personally, I'm concerned that this move is coming from the top down. If students choose to kill their print edition, that's one thing. But for an administrator to impose such a change smacks of censorship.

What would you do if administrators at your university wanted to move to Web-only publishing? Is this a trend we'll see more of? Post your comments below.

His Music, Your Freedom

The Student Press Law Center has launched an innovative fundraising campaign called "Your Voice, Your Freedom" that encourages individual students and student groups to create fundraisers to benefit the center.

Michael Koretzky, a member of the SPLC Advisory Council Steering Committee and adviser to the University Press at Florida Atlantic University, has taken on the challenge by creating his own fundraising scheme, "My Music, Your Freedom."

The deal: Give $10 to the SPLC and get $20 in music and magazines.

Koretzky, managing editor of JAZZIZ, the world's largest jazz magazine, will give you a free copy of the magazine and a jazz, blues or world-music CD (still in its original shrink wrap).

If you're a College Media Advisers member, he'll double the offer and send you two CDs. (Just make sure to remind him of your membership after you donate.) Who knows? If you tell him you saw it on The Student Newspaper Survival Blog he might just give you the same deal!

Killing Print Newspapers: My Take

Just to make it clear, I don't endorse Sean Gallagher's provocative idea that college newspapers should shut down their print operations. Print college newspapers serve an important role on campus and I don't think the advertising dollars are adequate online yet to justify killing the paper product in most cases. (Bryan Murley makes some interesting points about this at on his Innovation in College Media site.)

However, I do think Gallagher has some good suggestions for rethinking our student media products and we all should be considering Web-first and Web-only publishing for a lot of different kinds of material.

For those of you who comment about this and other blog posts on the CMA listserv, I'd like to encourage you to post your comments here where they can be seen more widely. (To post a comment, simply hit the comments link below each story.) The listserv is a closed community, which is important for many discussions, but here you can discuss issues in the open not just with other advisers but with student journalists, who really need to be in on these debates.

It's been gratifying to see so much thoughtful discussion about this topic.

Joke headline gets newspaper in hot water

A post on offers a sobering look at just why you shouldn't put a joke headline on a page, even as a placeholder.

In its Sept. 5 edition, The Rocky Mountain Collegian at Colorado State University, put this headline on the jump of a story about a police standoff:

"Dangerous standoff warrants an arrest and some other shit"

As you'd expect the newspaper got plenty of flak for that, including this letter and comments.

I would assume the newspaper published an apology for the error, but I haven't found one on its Web site.

We'd love to hear from a Rocky Mountain Collegian editor about how the paper handled this embarrassing mistake. Though it's an unfortunate situation for the Colorado State University paper, it's a good lesson for all of us.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

LA Times editor pushes Web-only publishing

A Los Angeles Times editor challenged student newspaper editors from around California to "stop killing trees" and try online-only publishing.

"Kill your paper," Sean Gallagher, the's managing editor for section development, told about 60 college newspapers editors who gathered at UCLA Saturday for an editors training session sponsored by the California College Media Association. "Stop publishing your print paper."

He suggested student newspapers "take the money from dead trees and put it into training."

Student journalists, Gallagher said, need to develop skills in database building, Flash, multimedia reporting and other new media tools.

Gallagher's presentation, "Getting Serious About Your Web Site," was one of half a dozen sessions at the fourth annual College Editors Boot Camp, sponsored by the California College Media Association, a statewide organization of four-year college media organizations and journalism programs. The organization also sponsored a daylong training for student newspaper ad salespeople on Saturday.

Gallagher urged the student editors to think about the visual side of storytelling and to find ways to interact with readers.

"That old model of us to them, it's dead," he said. "Now it's about blogs, Flash, other multimedia presentations."

Among the ideas he presented for student newspapers to try:
* Set up message boards. "You'll see there are topics (readers) want to talk about and some they don't."

* Run capsule reviews in print. Tease to the full reviews online.

* Post useful information online. He suggested things like bus schedules, gym hours, where to buy tickets for student performances. "It goes back to local, local, local."

* Post stories on the Web first. "A lot of people say, 'Don't put it on the Web yet, I want that in print first.' It's that print mentality you need to throw off. It's gone."

* Set up flat screen monitors around campus. Once they're in cafeterias, student lounges and other student gathering spots you can display the college newspaper Web site on them, giving you a captive audience.

* Sell online sponsorships. Invite advertisers to sponsor podcasts of an on-campus lecture series or other special features.

* Take on a database project. One example: get the office hours of all the professors on campus and monitor whether the profs show up. Publish the results in a searchable database. "That would be a great resource for the campus."

* Send out e-mail alerts.

* Look for student experts. Even if you don't know how to build a database or design a flash presentation, you can learn from other students who do. "There are people on your campus who have the knowledge. They want to be able to put it on their resume, 'I built this Web site.' They want to say to a potential employer, 'I did this graphic.'

Disclosure: The writer is vice president of the California College Media Association.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Online News Association announces finalists

The Online News Association has announced finalists for the 8th annual Online Journalism Awards, honoring excellence in digital journalism.

The five finalists in the Student Journalism category are:


San Francisco State University

Atacama Stories
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Border Beat
University of Arizona

Our Tahoe
University of Nevada, Reno

The Science of Sex
Columbia University

From what I can see, none of the finalist projects were produced by college newspapers, although Border Beat is a student-run online magazine. Most were produced by classes or groups of students working together.

Click here for a complete list of the 70 finalists. These are great examples to show your college media staffs what can be done with online media.

The finalists were chosen by a team of distinguished journalists from more than 700 entries in 20 categories during a two-day event on the University of Southern California campus Sept. 7 and 8.

Winners will be announced at the OJA banquet during the 8th annual conference of the Online News Association (ONA), Oct. 18 at the Sheraton Centre, Toronto.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

U of Virginia paper faces cartoon controversy

The Cavalier Daily, the student newspaper at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, apologized Thursday for publishing a controversial comic strip after more than 100 students protested against the cartoon outside the newspaper office.

“We apologize to the entire university community for the poor editorial judgment exercised in running a comic that is so clearly inappropriate and hurtful,” the newspaper’s wrote in an editorial titled “Worth 1,000 Words” that ran in Thursday’s edition.

Though unfortunate, the situation offers some important lessons on how student newspapers should handle controversial content.

The comic, “Quirksmith,” was drawn by Cavalier Daily Graphics Editor Grant Woolard. Captioned “Ethiopian Food Fight,” the comic depicted emaciated black men dressed in loincloths fighting each other for food.

“We apologize to the entire University community for the poor editorial judgment exercised in running a comic that is so clearly inappropriate and hurtful,” the editorial said. “Understandably, the comic upset and offended members of the community who thought it unfairly depicted victims of horrible tragedy as savage and violent -- reducing starving people to a punch line.”

The cartoon was removed from the newspaper’s Web site.

The food fight cartoon is one of several by Woolard to spark controversy. The protesting students also cited another recent cartoon
depicting Thomas Jefferson's slave Sally Hemings sitting on a bed while Jefferson stands near her with a whip in his hand. The text read "Thomas, could we try role-play for a change?"

In 2006, the paper and the university administration received nearly 2,000 letters from the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights and individuals from around the country in response to two Woolard comics seen as anti-Christian, according to an article that ran in the Cavalier Daily on Sept. 11, 2006.

One, titled "Christ on a Cartesian Plane," depicted the crucifixion with a parabolic graph superimposed on the figure of Christ. In another, titled "A Nativity Ob-scene," the Virgin Mary and Joseph have a conversation about an "immaculately transmitted" rash.

Those cartoons were removed from the newspaper's Web site. In their places is this message from Woolard:

“Dear Readers,

The sole intent of my comic strip is to present situations that provoke thought and amusement. As this comic did not achieve that goal, I have requested that it be taken down from the Cavalier Daily website.

I apologize for the offense that this comic has produced.

Grant Woolard”

Some students have asked that Woolard be removed as graphics editor.

The Sept. 6 editorial described the newspaper’s policy on censorship, which instructs editors to ask themselves a series of questions: "First, does the author truthfully depict a verifiable historical or contemporary situation? If not, and the context of the work is creative, we ask two more questions. Does the author make a serious, intentional point, the censoring of which would constitute viewpoint discrimination? Also, does the author criticize or make light of a group of people for any reason other than their own opinions or actions?"

After publishing the cartoon, the editors decided the comic “clearly violates the third criterion,” the editorial said.

An article about the protest explained that all cartoons are reviewed by the graphics editor, the operations manager and the editor-in-chief before going to print.
Editor-in-chief Herb Ladley was quoted in the article as saying when he first saw the comic, his reaction "was that it would be controversial," but said he "didn't consider it in light of the current comic policy." (A note at the end of the story explains that Ladley did not edit the story since he was quoted in it.)

“Sometimes late at night, when our deadline is pending, editors make hasty decisions without considering all the consequences,” the editorial said.

The editorial apologizing for the cartoon chastizes students for the protest.

“On Tuesday evening, before dozens of students decided to occupy the offices of The Cavalier Daily in protest, we helped to plan a public forum in which members of the community could come and learn more about the paper's editorial process and how decisions are made,” the editorial said.

“An open forum, where the public can express their concerns and hear from the parties involved, is in this case the best way to incorporate the community into the discussion. Intimidation is not. Blocking the entrances and exits of The Cavalier Daily offices, whether in protest or not, erodes any hope of productive discussion.”

What do you think about the way The Cavalier Daily handled this situation? Have you faced similar challenges? Post a comment here. We’d also love to hear from Cavalier Daily staffers if they’d like to share more about the cartoon controversy.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Diversity: Racial politics at college newspapers

Justin Elliott, former executive editor of the Brown Daily Herald, has a provocative post on Campus about the racial politics of college newspapers.

Elliott says that college papers tend to be staffed mostly by well-off white and Asian students and that the lack of diversity can sometimes lead to editorial blunders.

"Why do these editorial mistakes follow from the lack of diversity on staff?" he writes. "Because in campus journalism, where there are few press releases, word of mouth is everything. Thus when the campus paper is run by students from a certain demographic, coverage tends to mirror the concerns and perspectives of that demographic."

The post has attracted a lot of interesting comments. Check it out.

Also for tips on changing the makeup of your college newspaper staff, check out our earlier post, Diversify your newsroom.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Pacemaker Finalists Announced

Associated Collegiate Press today announced the finalists for the 2007 Newspaper Pacemaker Awards, sometimes referred to as the Pulitzer Prizes of college journalism.

Finalists will be notified in writing. Winners will be announced at the National College Media Convention Oct. 24-28, 2007 in Washington, D.C.

The finalists for the Online Pacemakers were announced earlier this year. Click here to view the list. You can also see lists of finalists for the Story of the Year, Design of the Year, Reporter of the Year, Cartooning and Advertising awards at the ACP Web site.

Four-year Daily Newspapers

Arizona Daily Wildcat
University of Arizona

The Daily Bruin
University of California, Los Angeles

The Oracle
University of South Florida

The University Daily Kansan
University of Kansas

The Harvard Crimson
Harvard University

The Minnesota Daily
University of Minnesota

Daily Nebraskan
University of Nebraska

The Chronicle
Duke University

The Oklahoma Daily
University of Oklahoma

The Daily Pennsylvanian
University of Pennsylvania

The Pitt News
University of Pittsburgh

North Texas Daily
University of North Texas

Collegiate Times
Virginia Tech

The Badger Herald
University of Wisconsin

Daily Cardinal
University of Wisconsin

Four-year Non-daily Newspapers
The Northern Light
University of Alaska

The Argonaut
Notre Dame de Namur University

Loyola Marymount University

Golden Gate [X]Press
San Francisco State University

Mesa State College

The GW Hatchet
George Washington University

The Columbia Chronicle
Columbia College

Chicago Maroon
University of Chicago

Washburn Review
Washburn University of Topeka

The Maroon
Loyola University

The News-Letter
Johns Hopkins University

The Northeastern News
Northeastern University

The Tech
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Heights
Boston College

The Maneater
University of Missouri

Creighton University

The Nevada Sagebrush

University of Nevada
The Knight News
Queens College

Cardinal Points
State University of New York, Plattsburgh

The Miami Student
Miami University

The Temple News

Temple University

The Tartan
Carnegie Mellon University

Cabrini College

South Dakota State University

The Flat Hat
College of William and Mary

Two-year Newspapers
Citrus College

The Advocate
Contra Costa College

El Don
Santa Ana College

El Camino College

The Corsair
Pensacola Junior College

Wright College

College of Dupage

Valley Forge
Rock Valley College

The Campus Ledger
Johnson County Community College

The Montage
Saint Louis Community College, Meramec

Richland Chronicle
Richland College

The Courier
Brookhaven College

North Lake College

San Jacinto Times
San Jacinto College

The Clarion
Madison Area Technical College

Monday, September 03, 2007

September Story of the Month

Yes, I know we said we’d be accepting nominees for Story of the Month through Sept. 4, but this one was so good and so timely we decided to publish this Story of the Month today. We’ll still review -- and possibly share -- other submissions as they come in!

The Daily Egyptian, the student newspaper at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, got the school year off to a bang with an investigative report detailing allegations that university President Glenn Poshard had lifted portions of his 1984 dissertation without proper documentation.

The package of stories that ran on Aug. 30 (and follow-up stories that ran the following day) was produced by Daily Egyptian staffers Jordan Wilson, Joe Crawford, Brian Feldt and Sean McGahan.

The newspaper's report was based on a copy of Poshard's dissertation that was given to the newspaper by an unnamed source. The manuscript had sentences and paragraphs highlighted to denote potentially plagiarized sections. The source also provided photocopies of source material from which Poshard's dissertation may have been taken. The Daily Egyptian verified the validity of the source's documents by obtaining the originals and even checking with the author of one book. The newspaper published a two-page spread comparing the sections of the dissertation with the other documents.

In addition to stories about the allegations and the graphic representation of the plagiarism charges, the paper ran stories about other instances of plagiarism at the university, a timeline chronicling the “Journey of a President” and a reasoned, carefully worded editorial that avoids judgment, letting readers draw conclusions for themselves.

The story was picked up by professional newspapers around the state and beyond, including the Chicago Sun Times and the Chicago Tribune and the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Kudos to The Daily Egyptian for its excellent reporting on this story. We’d love to learn how the reporters got the story, but they haven’t responded to our emails yet. Guys, we want to hear from you! Post a comment here or send an email to