Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Golden Gate [X]press editor shares vision

Last week, Golden Gate [X]press, the student newspaper at San Francisco State University, unveiled its redesigned Web site, which highlights multimedia. The redesign caught the attention of Bryan Murley at Innovation in College Media. Aaron Morrison, online managing editor, shared some thoughts on the redesign in an e-mail interview.

Why did you want to redesign the site?

The old site was, to be honest, a bit cluttered. I was interested in finding a way to highlight our audio/visual content (audio slideshows, photo galleries, multimedia packages). That content, unlike many of the stories from the print edition, is a product of hours of production (editing, story-boarding, sequencing). Jesse (Garnier), our advisor, has done an awesome job of facilitating that change.

What are you hoping to accomplish with the new site?
More than anything, I would like for us to get more mileage out of our multimedia work. The old site lacked a clear hierarchy for the content. So when we published stories, they'd be added to a list of stories with no clear designation of what type of media it was (i.e. podcasts, slideshows, etc.)

What are some of the new features you are incorporating?
The new site should communicate what our biggest stories are. We can do that by highlighting our packages in the new multimedia widget, which appears prominently in the middle of the front page. Each section front will soon have that widget. Story pages will also display larger main images.

What do you want the redesigned site to say to readers?

I would like readers to see that [X]press is all about drawing you into the stories that we do. Jesse always tells us that online multimedia has the benefit of being an intimate experience for the user, as they are typically sitting very close to their computers and often use headphones to listen to audio. With that in mind, the redesigned site draws more attention to content that takes advantage of that intimate environment. I want readers to know that we take pride in bringing them where we've been.

How are you publicizing the site?

Parties, parties and more parties! No, just kidding. We're working on ways to get the campus community aware and involved with what we are offering online. Making ourselves visible might mean sitting in the student center with a couple of laptop computers and fliers with the web address on them. And of course we'll have a launch party soon.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Ethicist answers student newspaper dilemma

Randy Cohen, who writes The Ethicist column for The New York Times Magazine, addresses a common problem for student newspapers in this week's column.

Here's the question:
My college newspaper ran an opinion article supporting a professor who had not been rehired. The article now appears at the top of any Internet search of the professor’s name. Hoping not to discourage potential employers, the professor asked us to remove the article from our archive for two years. Should we? — B.B., New York

Cohen argues that the newspaper should not pull the story from the Web site.

"If the article met your standards for publication — and it did — you may not purge it," he writes. "Helping even a worthy professor’s career is not sufficient reason to falsify by omission the historic record, even so modest a record as back issues of a college paper."

As it turned out, the student editors at the unnamed student paper didn't follow The Ethicist's advice. They redacted the piece in the archive.

This is a very common problem at student newspapers. At Golden Gate [X]press, the student newspaper at San Francisco State University that I advise, we get regularly receive requests from sources asking that articles be pulled from the online archive for various reasons. The most common is they don't want their college exploits to follow them in the professional world. My editors usually decide not to grant these requests unless there are questions about the accuracy of the story.

Has your newspaper faced this ethical dilemma? If so what did you do? What do you think of Cohen's position? Post a comment below.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Edwards campaign tries to kill student's video

John Edwards' presidential campaign has allegedly tried to scuttle a University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill student's video story about his campaign headquarters, according to an article in The News and Observer.

UNC Associate Professor C.A. Tuggle told the newspaper that aides to the former North Carolina senator demanded that the school drop the segment by graduate student Carla Babb from the student-run television program "Carolina Week" and remove it from YouTube.

The video report picks up on a point made earlier this fall by James Edward Dillard, a columnist for the UNC student newspaper, The Daily Tar Heel. Both question Edwards' decision to open his campaign headquarters in the affluent Southern Village neighborhood of Chapel Hill while trying to claim he's a man of the people.

"...for a man who's positioning himself as the president to unite poor America with rich America, Southern Village seems to be an odd place to start," Dillard wrote in the Sept. 4 column. "It's hard to imagine a more white-bread place outside of Disney World (or perhaps Meadowmont)."

You can view the video, which is scheduled to air on Monday, at YouTube. As of this writing, nearly 150,000 people have watched the video on YouTube.

Curleyize your student newspaper

WASHINGTON, D.C.--I’ve seen new media guru Rob Curley give basically the same speech four times in the past few years, but I always find his message inspiring. The gospel of hyperlocal coverage mixed with what he calls “multimedia overkill” that he delivered Friday at the ACP/CMA National College Media Convention here is one all student newspapers should heed.

Student media organizations may not have the legions of database whizzes and eager-to-please interns who have supported Curley’s innovations through the years at the Lawrence Journal World, the Naples Daily News and now at Washington Post Newsweek Interactive, but here are some things you can do to apply his philosophy to your student paper.

  • Seek out the “nerds” that Curley says every newspaper needs. Go to your computer science department to find people who think it might be cool to create a searchable database of all the restaurants in your college town or to crunch the numbers in university salary records or other data.

  • Strive for your own brand of “multimedia overkill.” That means creating videos, slideshows and podcasts about everything happening on campus, not just the big events, but the little ones – health fairs and routine games and the bands that perform on the quad at lunchtime every week.

  • Create your own version of The Washington Post’s “On Being” series--two-minute videos about what life is like for regular Joes that has become one of the most popular features on the newspaper’s Web site.

  • Make a series of virtual tours of your college campus. Take readers to the most outrageous dorm rooms, the coolest research labs, the messiest professors’ offices, the best places to kiss.

  • Collect mini videos of professor’s lectures so students can see if they’d prefer Professor Chen or Professor Jones for Art History 101.

  • Give more attention to college sports, creating video reports for every game and pages for each player like Curley’s staff does for the high school teams of Loudon County, Virginia.

  • Link to data that already exists. When you write about professors like to their university Web pages so readers can read their bios, find out more about their research and get their office hours and contact information. If your campus is audiotaping or videotaping lectures and putting them on the Web, link to those, too.

  • Create the partnerships with readers that Curley advocates by encouraging students to send in their photos, videos and other materials. Link to regular contributors' Facebook and MySpace pages.

  • Encourage students who don't work for the newspaper to write blogs about specific aspects of campus life--dorm life, medical school, study-abroad programs, fraternities and sororities.

  • Create resource guides to your campus like the ones at LoudonExtra.com These might include guides to student or community elections, student clubs and organizations, Greek organizations, local bands, local restaurants and/or businesses. Include photos, videos and useful information like hours, phone numbers and maps. Once readers know these guides are on your site, they will come back again and again to check information. You can update them each year or each semester.

Developing this kind of material isn’t just going to make your newspaper better. It will give you the skill sets that Curley and other professionals say they want in new hires.

Do you have other ideas student newspapers can use to emphasize multimedia and hyperlocal coverage? Share them by posting a comment below.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Student newspapers cover SoCal wildfires

I'm always curious how student newspapers handle big stories so I thought I'd take a look at how some Southern California student newspapers are covering the fires there.

Here are some links to the newspapers' coverage:

  • The Graphic at Pepperdine University, where classes were cancelled Monday and Tuesday as a result of the fires, is running a slide show of fire photos on its home page. The weekly newspaper has several breaking news stories on its Web site about the firefighting efforts, the evacuation of students from the campus and the cancellation of classes.

  • The Daily Bruin at UCLA is also covering the Malibu fire. Today's story includes a statistics box on the fire, a map of the fire zone that shows its proximity to the university and an infographic detailing which schools and streets are closed.

  • The Daily Aztec at San Diego State University has packaged its fire stories together on a special Web page. The newspaper has reports on evacuation of local residents and the cancellation of classes.

  • The Guardian at UC San Diego is keeping readers up to date with a blog. The newspaper also has an animated map showing the spread of the fire.

Is your student newspaper covering the Southern California fires? Do you have suggestions for what other newspapers can be doing with their Web sites? Post a comment here.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Golden Gate [X]press launches new Web site

I generally resist the urge to brag about my own students on this blog. But I couldn't help it this week as Golden Gate [X]press, the award-winning student newspaper at San Francisco State University, launches its redesigned Web site.

The new site features a fresher, bolder look that highlights multimedia and breaking news. It also makes more space for photo galleries and blogs.

Though I've been advising [X]press for the past four years, I'm currently taking a semester off from the newspaper. Credit for the redesign goes to Online Adviser Jesse Garnier and Online Managing Editor Aaron Morrison, who spent countless hours on the project over the summer and through the early fall.

For comparison, you can see the old site here or check it out on the Wayback Machine.

Golden Gate [X]press is a finalist for both the Online and Newspaper Pacemakers, to be announced by Associated Collegiate Press on Sunday at the annual ACP/College Media Advisers National College Media Convention in Washington, D.C.

What do you think of the new Golden Gate [X]press site? Post a comment here.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Drunken humor newspaper causes stir

The Booze News, a humor/drinking publication that claims to offer "today's news... under the influence," is causing a ruckus around several large Midwestern universities.

The paper was launched in 2004 by University of Illinois seniors Atish Doshi and Derek Chin. This fall it expanded to five more universities: Illinois State University, Indiana University at Bloomington, the University of Iowa, the University of Missouri at Columbia and the University of Wisconsin at Madison. The newspaper is distributed in bars and businesses that serve the campuses.

In an interview with CNN, Doshi said he expects to expand to another dozen campuses in the next year.

Recent headlines include: "Top 10 Completely Valid Reasons to Get Drunk on a Wednesday," "How You Got Kicked Out of the Bar Last Night" and "SEX AND THE U: Sex and Beer, Sex and Beer, the Two Things I Hold Dear."

But not everyone appreciates the newspaper's particular brand of beer-chugging humor.

A Booze News book review about interracial gay adoption that referred to the two male parents as "freaks" sparked protest at the University of Missouri. A university official there asked student leaders to boycott businesses the circulate the publication, according to The Maneater, one of two student newspapers serving the Columbia campus.

Several downtown business owners have reportedly tossed the free paper.

The Booze News' response?

"These so-called 'calls to action' by The University of Missouri and Columbia residents, which are intended to nanny college students and keep them out of harms way are out-dated and misinformed. We believe college is a time of self-expression and self-discovery and attempting to inhibit the actions of the individuals who make up that society by ridiculing newspapers such as ours is not only unjust, it is unrealistic."

Check out a video about the controversial newspaper at The Morning Show with Mike and Juliet.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Penn State newspaper maps crime

The Daily Collegian at Penn State University has started running an interactive map of local police and fire incidents on its Web site.

The clickable map, featured on the newspaper's home page, allows readers to view recent crimes and fire incidents, identified with a red marker; crimes in the past month, marked with a yellow marker; and older incidents, marked in blue.

Click on an incident and you'll get a brief report on the crime.

"Now, not only can you read about where this weekend's vandalism and thefts took place, but you can also see the mapped locations of the incidents," Editor-in-chief Devon Lash wrote in an Oct. 8 blog post introducing the new feature. "Plus, the addition of each day's incidents will document a long-term perspective on crime in State College."

The editor's blog is also a cool feature -- it allows the editor to not only share new developments at the newspaper but to reflect on the news. Lash has used it to interview reporters handling particularly interesting or challenging stories and to reflect on issues on campus or in the journalism world.

Is your student newspaper using mapping on its Web site? Tell us about it by posting a comment here or sending an e-mail to collegenewspaper@gmail.com.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

U of Hawaii paper exposes crime log violations

The Ka Leo, the thrice-weekly student newspaper at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, ran a good story last week on the university's failure to comply with a federal campus crime reporting law.

The article notes that violators of the Jeanne Clery Act, which requires college security authorities to make information on campus crime available to the public,
"may be fined up to $27,500 by the U.S. Department of Education for each violation and could lose their eligibility to participate in federal student aid programs."

The story provides a good example of how campus newspapers can hold universities accountable.

In an update story posted on the newspaper's Web site on Oct. 11, a university official promises that the public crime log will be updated in a more timely way starting this week.

Both stories provide a link to the university's online campus crime logs, which as of this writing, were still out of date. The last log was for Sept. 20-26; the law requires authorities to make reports of crime available to the public within two business days.

Kudos to The Ka Leo staff, particularly reporter Alyssa Navares, for publishing this story.

Reporters at other student newspapers investigating whether their schools are in compliance with the Clery Act may want to tap these resources:

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Advice for college cartoonists

This seems to be the month for controversial cartoons in student newspapers. In yet another episode, the Arizona Daily Wildcat is making apologies this week for a cartoon in Tuesday's paper that many found offensive to Jews.

The comic, by staffer Joseph Topmiller, depicted a restaurant credit-card slip with a 7 percent tip signed by "Mark Goldfarb." Underneath was written: "Attention all crappy tipping Jews!!! Just because you're 'screwing' the server … does not mean that it's a mitzvah."

"I've gotten tons of feedback on it," Editor-in-chief Allison Hornick told the Arizona Daily Star. "Basically they think it's anti-Semitic and that we shouldn't have run it."

In light of the rash of cartoon controversies, I asked Eric Devericks, editorial cartoonist for The Seattle Times, if he had any advice for student cartoonists. Devericks was the editorial cartoonist for The Daily Barometer at Oregon State University in 2001 when he won the John Locher Award for best college cartoonist from the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists.

"In my profession, someone is always offended," Devericks wrote in an e-mail message. "I think that any time you have an opinion and share it forcefully, it seems that these days that that is cause for someone to become offended. Most of the time I think people are too sensitive and think they have a right to go through life and never see anything that they disagree with.

"However, I won't defend the cartoons that you referred to (see previous post) because in my judgment they failed as cartoons. They expressed no solid opinion, and were miserable attempts at humor.

"It seems the only goal of these cartoons was to offend. Mission accomplished. That said, I think that college is the place to learn these lessons. I am not convinced that in every case the cartoonist or editor should be force to resign."

Asked how to draw sharp, incisive cartoons without being overtly offensive, Devericks offered these guidelines:

  • Make sure you believe in what it is you are saying. If you believe in what you are saying, you can say it forcefully without regret. You may still offend, but not simply for the sake of being offensive. I have found that most people don't truly believe truly offensive things.

  • Know your subject so that your cartoons show a level of depth and so that you are prepared to defend what you have said. A reader will respect you more for it.

  • Really look at your completed cartoon and know what IT is saying. Not what YOU are trying to say, or what you would like to say. Look at the completed cartoon and know what IT says.

"When I follow these rules, I don't worry about being offensive," Devericks says. "If I believe what I am saying and say it well then I don't care that someone may be offended."

Yet another new conservative college newspaper

Students at San Jose State University plan to launch The Spartan Review, a new conservative monthly newspaper, according to the Spartan Daily, the mainstream daily newspaper on campus.

The new newspaper will get start-up funding from the Leadership Institute, which calls itself the "premier training ground for tomorrow's conservative leaders." The institute’s Campus Leadership Program helps students start independent conservative groups and newspapers on college campuses across the country, according to the organization's Web site.

“My goal is to eventually have one or more independent conservative student groups or newspapers on every college campus in America,” Morton Blackwell, president of the Leadership Institute, said in a press release issued in June. “I fully expect to double the number of colleges with active groups battling the leftist bias on campus by the end of 2007.”

The Collegiate Network, also supports conservative college newspapers with financial support and technical assistance.

But conservative publications aren't the only ones getting outside help. On the left, Campus Progress of the Center for American Progress works to support progressive student publications through grants, training and mentorship. The organization is accepting applications for the 2007-2008 school year, according to its Web site.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Colorado State U Republicans launch newspaper

Less than three weeks after The Rocky Mountain Collegian at Colorado State University published the infamous "Taser This... FUCK BUSH" editorial, College Republicans on campus launched their own student newspaper.

Members of the group began distributing issues of The Ram Republic on Monday, according to The Rocky Mountain News. The lead headline: "What's Next for McSwane Journalism?" refers to J. David McSwane, the editor-in-chief of The Rocky Mountain Collegian.

"Our goal is to give the students of Colorado State University a thoughtful and robust forum to promote conservative ideals," the newspaper says in a mission statement on its Web page. "We believe these ideals have been foreign on our campus and in the mainstream media at large. By doing this, we hope to challenge the misguided stereotypes of conservatives and expose the dangerous and contagious realities of liberalism."

Bobby Carson, editor of The Ram Republic told the Rocky Mountain News that Republicans were already were thinking about starting a publication when the Collegian published the anti-Bush editorial.

"That accelerated our efforts," Carson told the paper.

The Ram Republic already has a Facebook group with 70 members.

Note: I've changed the headline on this post because it was misinterpreted to refer to Colorado College rather than College Republicans in the state of Colorado.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Editor apologizes for cartoon

The editor of The Kentucky Kernel has apologized for running a controversial cartoon after more than 100 University of Kentucky students protested outside the newspaper office.

"Sometimes it is necessary to be offensive or controversial to make a point," Editor-in-Chief Keith Smiley wrote in an editor's note posted on the newspaper's Web site Friday. "In this case, we crossed the line, and any message in the cartoon was obscured by its offensiveness." The note will be published in Monday's edition of the paper, according to the Associated Press.

The cartoon, published in Friday's paper, was intended to poke fun at the Greek system. It depicts a bare-chested African-American student on an auction block, one leg in chains. A white auctioneer, calling the student a "young buck," takes bids from three fictional fraternities, Aryan Omega, Kappa Kappa Kappa and Alpha Caucasian.

The day the cartoon was published students gathered outside the building that houses the newspaper office and the journalism school to protest.

Bradley Fletcher, the cartoonist, also apologized in a statement posted on the newspaper's Web site Friday.

"After hearing the many responses, I feel only apologetic and upset with myself for being so hasty in drawing the cartoon without thinking about how it could be read from perspectives besides my own," Fletcher wrote. "The fact that I drew the cartoon with the images I chose and did not realize how offensive they are shows quite clearly the racial divide in our society which I was attempting to attack."

To its credit, the newspaper responded promptly to the controversy, putting apologies on the Web within hours of the publication of the cartoon.

The Kentucky Kernel is at least the third student newspaper in the past month to make headlines for running a racially offensive cartoon.

In September The Cavalier Daily, the student newspaper at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, caught flak for a cartoon entitled “Ethiopian Food Fight,” which depicted emaciated black men dressed in loincloths fighting each other for food. (See previous post.) Cartoonist Grant Woolard, who had offended readers with several other cartoons, was forced to resign, according to The Washington Post.

On Sept. 17, students and faculty at Central Connecticut State University demonstrated against a comic strip printed by The Recorder, the weekly student newspaper there.

The strip depicted talking shapes in discussion about a 14-year-old Latina girl, who was tied up in a closet and urinated on. The Recorder printed a disclaimer under the cartoon stating it "does not support the kidnapping of (and subsequent urinating on) children of any age or ethnicity." (The paper was also criticized in February when it published a satirical column entitled "Rape only hurts if you fight it.") Many have called for the ouster of the student paper's executive editor, Mark Rowan, but he remains at the helm.

Jack Miller, president of Central Connecticut State University, issued a statement in response to cartoon, recognizing that the First Amendment protects the paper's right to publish it but chastising Rowan and the paper for poor judgment. He outlined several action steps, including pulling university advertising from the paper, hiring an adviser for the paper and establishing a journalism major.

What policies or safeguards does your paper have for the publication of cartoons and other potentially offensive material? Can a cartoonist make a sharp political statement without offending some people? Post a comment here.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Rocky Mountain Collegian editor keeps job

The editor of The Rocky Mountain Collegian, who sparked a national debate about college press freedom after writing an editorial that said "Taser this... Fuck Bush," will keep his job, according to a ruling from a student-run governing board.

The Board of Student Communications (BSC) at Colorado State University publicly admonished Collegian Editor-in-Chief J. David McSwane at a meeting Thursday night, but it decided not to fire him because "the September 21 editorial was an expression of opinion, which we regard as protected by the First Amendment," the board said in a statement.

Read all about it at:

Whether you supported The Rocky Mountain Collegian or thought it played an immature stunt, you gotta admit the paper did launch important discussion about the freedom of the student press. Here are some of the editorials college newspapers ran this week in response:

Did your student newspaper run an editorial commenting on The Rocky Mountain Collegian case? Post a link in a message here.

Demoted journalism chair speaks out

As many of you know, the chair of the journalism department at California State University, Long Beach was forced out of his position last month after criticizing a dean's proposal to eliminate the print edition of the campus newspaper, the Daily 49er. (For background see previous post on this issue and story in the Long Beach Press-Telegram.)

William Babcock, who remains a tenured professor in the Journalism Department, told me he's not trying to get his chair position back, but he would appreciate support for the student newspaper, which he fears the administration is trying to silence. He notes that the four-day daily publishes about 10,000 newspapers a day, Monday through Thursday. The Web site, meanwhile, gets an average of 800 hits a day.

He shares the column below, which was first published Sunday as an op-ed piece in the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

In journalism, and specifically in college media circles, there is great debate about the move to online-only publishing. Some think it's the wave of the future; others think online newspapers, particularly at the college level, still don't attract sufficient advertising dollars and readers to survive and thrive. But most of us agree on one thing: Such a decision shouldn't be made from the top down. It's too easy for administrators to use online-only publishing as a ruse to quiet, if not silence, the student press.

If you're concerned about what's happening at CSU Long Beach and want to do something, write a letter to:

William A. Babcock
Professor, Department of Journalism
& Executive Director, Southern California News Council
1250 Bellflower Blvd., SS/PA 024
California State University, Long Beach
Long Beach, CA 90840-4601
E-mail: wbabcock@csulb.edu

He'll collect them and present them to the appropriate administrators at CSU Long Beach.

How to resolve the 49er dispute
By William A. Babcock

Faculty members at California State University, Long Beach's Department of Journalism have a two-fold task: to help students understand the mass media and prepare them to survive and thrive in their chosen media field.

One of the best ways journalism instructors can foster the respect for a free and ethical press to both journalism majors and students from all academic disciplines is to provide them with opportunities for publication, be it in traditional print or photojournalism or online writing or graphics or streaming video. Nearly all comparably sized universities in America thus have hefty print and online daily campus newspapers.

Since coming here as department chair six years ago I have seen the number of majors in CSULB's Department of Journalism nearly double as the department has implemented a new student-friendly curriculum, brought in outstanding faculty with professional experience and doctoral degrees and recently become the home for the Southern California News Council. Earlier this year the Department of Journalism received a strong vote of endorsement by an Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications pre-accreditation team that came to Long Beach to assess Journalism's program.

The ACEJMC team, however, was critical of CSULB's lack of support for the campus newspaper, the Daily 49er, saying, "The University needs to face up to the challenge of sustaining a first-rate, independent campus newspaper." The ACEJMC report added, "Virtually no such independent campus papers can and do survive in U.S. universities on advertising revenue alone."

Unfortunately, the Daily 49er now survives almost exclusively on ad revenues, which lately have totaled about $300,000 per year. Thus, the print campus daily newspaper often consists of only a few pages of tabloid-sized newsprint. The Daily 49er generates nearly all of this advertising revenue. By comparison, the online version of the newspaper attracts about $500 in advertising dollars.

CSULB's Department of Journalism is one of nearly two-dozen departments in the College of Liberal Arts, which at one time paid the salary packages of two full-time professional Daily 49er employees and, more recently, made up for any red ink the paper incurred - a figure that often was between $20,000 and $30,000 per year, according to Daily 49er financial records.

Recently, CLA Dean Gerry Riposa said he is considering eliminating the daily print campus newspaper or reducing it to a weekly print paper, and plans to conduct a study to see if this might be feasible.

When he came to the Friday, Sept. 14, departmental meeting in Journalism's conference room to discuss such a study, three student journalists from the Daily 49er newsroom across the hall entered the conference room. A reporter from Long Beach's Grunion Gazette weekly also came into the conference room.

After a few minutes Riposa left the conference room, and was widely overheard in the hallway saying he did not want to discuss a feasibility study with student journalists present, and left the building. Two hours later a Sept. 12-dated memo from Riposa was hand delivered to the Department of Journalism announcing that as of September 2007 CLA would no longer cover cost overruns for the paper from its general funds.

The next working day Riposa said he was removing me as chairman of the Department of Journalism at the end of the week, even though I had been re-elected in May by Journalism faculty to another three-year term. I requested that he retain me as chair until the end of the 2007/08 academic year to avoid disruption to the Department of Journalism. He denied this request.

The purpose of this op-ed piece is not to argue with a dean's ability to dismiss a departmental chair, as chairs serve at the "pleasure" of deans. Rather, the hope is that:

1. Dean Riposa will once again decide that CLA has a stake in having a strong, vibrant, informative daily print and online campus newspaper, and that the college will help fund this daily newspaper accordingly.

2. Provost Karen Gould realizes that a strong, well-funded campus daily newspaper provides an invaluable service to and for all students in a way that is impossible for a journalism class- or lab-newspaper produced as the result of a course assignment for journalism majors.

3. President F. King Alexander exercises his ability to have students pay a modest $4 per semester "circulation" fee for receiving the print Daily 49er, and also provides university funds to offset the salary package (about $75,000) each year of one professional daily campus newspaper employee.

With a campus faculty and student body as large and diverse as that of CSULB, we can't afford to close this vital avenue of dialogue within our community. Riposa, Gould and Alexander are relatively new in their respective positions. The hope is that they all will understand the benefits of fiscally supporting a strong, non-lab print and online daily campus newspaper to which all 35,500 students have been welcome to contribute and of which everyone at CSULB will be proud.

William A. Babcock is a professor in CSULB's Department of Journalism and executive director of the newly formed Southern California News Council. In a former life he directed the University of Minnesota's Silha Center for the Study of Media Ethics and Law, served as senior international news editor and writing coach for the Christian Science Monitor and was on the faculty of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

October Story of the Month

October's Story of the Month: The Daily Helmsman's coverage of the killing of University of Memphis football player Taylor Bradford.

Bradford, a defensive lineman for the University of Memphis Tigers, was shot to death in his car on the Memphis campus Sunday night. The Helmsman had journalists on the scene almost immediately.

The staff did a top-notch job of covering the story -- so good, in fact that several professional news organizations attributed information to the student newspaper. The Helmsman was the first media organization to identify Bradford and it kept up its coverage of the story all through the week. You can read some of the stories here and here.

Mediaverse, an online trade publication that covers the Memphis media, has an interesting interview this week with Editor-in-Chief Trey Heath and Managing Editor Nevin Batiwalla.

Other notable Story of the Month entries:
The Northeastern at Northeastern State University put out a special edition last month to report the Student Senate's "no confidence" vote of the acting university president. "We covered the story, ran back to the newsroom and rushed to send the paper to print that night," writes Editor Dale Denwalt II. The paper publishes weekly and its Web site only has PDFs of the print edition. (The editors showed enterprise in publishing a special edition, but a live Web site would have solved the problem.) Check out The Northeastern's special Sept. 27 edition.

The Miami Hurricane, the twice-weekly paper at the University of Miami, put together a nice package on college roommates with a story on a roommate-matching system the university may put into place next year and a "Roommates from Hell" sidebar. Nice work!
Send your Story of the Month submissions to collegenewspaper@gmail.com.

We'd love to hear more from editors and reporters involved in the Taylor Bradford story. Post a comment here.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Kashmir university students launch newspaper

Students at Kashmir University launched the university's first student newspaper today, according to an article in Greater Kashmir.

The Student Herald, a weekly newspaper, will be produced by students at the university's Media Education Research Centre.

According to an article in Kashmir Newz, four students decided to start their own paper after the Media Education Research Centre failed to respond to students' demand for one. The centre produces an annual journal Media Times. "In absence of a news room, the foursome of Mohammad Numan, Zahid Rafiq, Tasim Zahid and Danish Nabi, the second semester students of MERC, are seen working on their laptop computers under the shade of majestic Chinar trees in the Naseem Bagh on the banks of world famous Dal Lake," the article says.

The Kashmir University administration has expressed support for the new newspaper.

"It is indeed heartening to find that students of Media Education Research Centre have planned to publish a weekly newspaper edited by students themselves," Professor Abdul Wahid Qureshi, vice chancellor of Kashmir University, writes in the first issue of the newspaper. "In this development, I find a dream coming true as bringing out a regular publication by our media students has been one of our cherished desires. I hope the students will run the publication in a truly professional manner. I have no doubt that this new venture and the practical training that it involves will greatly help these students to sharpen their professional skills before they face the challenging task lying ahead."

The first edition is a four-page black and white newspaper. No word on a Web site yet, but give them time.

We welcome The Student Herald to the fold of college newspapers! Keep us posted on your progress.

NOTE: This story has been corrected, thanks to messages from a student giving us the correct name of the newspaper and of one of the students involved. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The rise of alternative student media

Inside HigherEd.com ran an interesting piece last week about alternative student publications that seem to be “going beyond what the mainstream, professional press was addressing,” according to Dan Reimold, a journalism Ph.D. candidate at Ohio University.

The article notes that these new publications, both print and online, are less chained to the conventions of mainstream journalism and may be more able to experiment and innovate.

Among the publications cited as examples are:
  • SpartanEdge, a video-heavy online publication at Michigan State University (the Web site's tag line: "The future of online campus news is now.")

  • The Big Green, also a member of Michigan State's Alternative Media Alliance

  • unbound at the College of New Jersey

  • Speakeasy at Ohio University

  • NU Comment at Northwestern University.

Are you working on a new student publication? Tell us about it by posting a comment here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Rocky Mountain Collegian Update

A reader asks for an update on the Rocky Mountain Collegian flap over the "Taser This... FUCK Bush" editorial:

What was the outcome of CSU's Board of Student Communication meeting? Leave it to the national media to cover the initial flap but not follow up.

The editor is scheduled to have a hearing before the Board of Student Communications, an independent body that oversees the newspaper, on Thursday. We'll report the outcome as soon as we hear.

In the meantime here's the latest on the story from The New York Times.

Looking for story ideas? NY Times Mag

If you haven't already seen it, be sure to pick up -- or read online -- this week's New York Times Magazine.

The theme is "The College Issue" and it's full of great ideas student newspapers can localize to their own campus communities -- college admissions, Teach for America, affirmative action, and new experiments in education like re-engineering engineering and efforts to bring No Child Left Behind to the university level.

There's also a moving video about suicide on campus.

Be sure to check out the essays from the College Essay Contest. The 600 essays from around the country are responses to "What's the Matter With College," an essay by the historian Rick Perlstein, published in July. They are searchable by school and state. If you find one you like from your college or university, contact the writer and see what else they have to say. Maybe you'll find your next columnist.