Thursday, November 20, 2008

St. Louis Post-Dispatch seeks social media intern

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch is looking for an intern, but not just any intern. The position announcement calls for a "social media intern."

Kurt Greenbaum, director of social media at the Post-Dispatch, posted the position on his blog Wednesday, noting that the intern will work with the online team to use "social media to publish content, engage our audience and encourage reader-generated news, photos, videos and more."

"This person," Greenbaum writes, "will help update, promote and publicize our fledgling social networking site, MySTLtoday; help develop and participate in blogs; increase our profile on external social networks such as Digg, Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube and more; help integrate reader-generated content into our primary site,; and help develop training for newsroom colleagues on the power and function of social media."

The 13-week spring internship will run from late February to mid-May. The news organization is seeking applicants in their junior year of college or higher.


"To apply, you’ll need to demonstrate first that you’re a solid journalist, with good writing skills and sound news judgment. Second, show us you’re engaged in social networks. Do you blog? Twitter? Post YouTube videos? Other sites? How have you used your presence in social networks to advance your life — personally or professionally?"

Submit a resume, a portfolio of your journalism and a 500-word essay describing why social media is a vital tool for journalists and ways they should embrace it. Applications must be postmarked by Dec. 12; send it to Kurt Greenbaum, c/o St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 900 N. Tucker Blvd., St. Louis, Mo., 63101 or email it to Greenbaum at

Frankly, if I was 20-something and wanted to work in journalism this century, I'd grab at this opportunity. It sounds like a great chance to not only learn some cutting-edge tools but to contribute to a newsroom that's looking for new ideas. This sounds like the kind of internship a sharp, media-savvy student could parley into a full-time job, either at the Post-Dispatch or elsewhere.

The Next Newsroom Project completes plan

Chris O'Brien of The Next Newsroom Project reports that the board of The Chronicle, the independent, student-run newspaper at Duke University, has adopted the project's proposal for a new newsroom.

The plan is available here.

O'Brien, a business reporter at the San Jose Mercury News and Duke Chronicle alum, has served as the project manager for the endeavor. He reports that the concept approved by the Chronicle's board calls for:
  • A newsroom for a fully-integrated, multimedia news organization.
  • Adjacent space for a student media incubator.
  • The newsroom would be set in a larger media center, presumably shared by other student and academic groups.
  • A central location so the new building will be at the crossroads of campus life

The plan is the culmination of 18 months of work with support from a News Challenge grant from the Knight Foundation. O'Brien has chronicled the work on his blog with hopes of sharing knowledge with other student and professional media organizations.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Journalism student names top 10 sites

Emily Kostic, a junior studying journalism at Rowan University, has put together a list of Top 10 Sites for Online Journalism Students on her blog, Journalism 3.0: The Future of Journalism According to a Member of the Facebook Generation.

I echo many of her suggestions for sites every journalism student should read. Check it out.

Kostic's blog itself is a good read for journalism students -- and a model for the kind of online reflection students should be engaging in. Recent posts include an interactive map showing where journalists have been killed this year, her thoughts on discrimination against online journalists and an interview with Danish journalists Poul Madsen and Henri Kastenskov of the Bombay Flying Club, an innovative production house that creates flash documentaries for the Web.

I love to see journalism students using blogs to share their thoughts about this changing field. I bet this kind of blog will help Kostic land a job as much as -- or even more than -- a traditional internship. It demonstrates to the world that she's reading about, observing, thinking about and commenting on the field. It also shows that she's acquainting herself with new technology. Good work, Emily Kostic.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

ACP creates gallery of post-election newspapers

Marc Wood of Associated Collegiate Press has put up a gallery of post-election college newspaper front pages. You can also view it as a slideshow.

If you want to add your newspaper's Page 1 to the gallery, you can upload it here or email Wood at wood (at)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

College papers overwhelmingly favor Obama

Barack Obama has garnered more than twice as many daily newspaper endorsements as John McCain, according to Editor and Publisher. But the results are even more lopsided for college newspapers: 65 to 1.

Of the 66 college newspapers counted in the E&P tally, only one -- The Daily Mississippian at the University of Mississippi -- endorsed McCain.

In its Oct. 28 endorsement, The Daily Mississippian agrees with McCain's argument that he is the more experienced of the two candidates.

"We feel Sen. McCain’s experience in foreign affairs and his decision to not raise taxes on anyone of any class of society makes him the clear choice for president," the editors write. "Sen. McCain has a history of stepping across party lines; the same cannot be said of Sen. Obama."

The editorial notes that the five editors on the editorial board were split on the decision.

The pro-McCain editorial was the most read story on The Daily Mississippian's Web site last week. At last count, 31 people had commented on it, offering a range of opinions.

Among the red-state college papers that endorsed Obama are The Louisville Cardinal at the University of Louisville, The Daily Gamecock at the University of South Carolina, the Daily Texan at the University of Texas-Austin, the Oklahoma Daily at the University of Oklahoma and The Optimist at Abeline Christian University. The Arizona Daily Wildcat at the University of Arizona, McCain's home state, also came out for Obama.

For a list of college newspaper endorsements, scroll down to the bottom of this article on E&P.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A lousy week for journalists -- and j-students

KANSAS CITY - What a week to be at the ACP/CMA National College Media Convention! Here I am with all these eager young college students, many of whom harbor dreams of entering the field of journalism in the next year or two, and there’s nothing but carnage in the industry.

As David Carr writes in The New York Times this morning, “It’s been an especially rotten few days for people who type on deadline."

Just consider:
  • The Christian Science Monitor announced Tuesday it would cease publication of its weekday print edition.
  • On the same day Time Inc., publisher of Time magazine, Fortune, People and Sports Illustrated, announced it was cutting 600 jobs and reorganizing its staff.
  • Gannett, the largest newspaper publisher in the country, revealed plans to lay off 10 percent of its work force, as many as 3,000 people.
  • On Monday, the Tribune Company announced it was cutting 75 more jobs from the newsroom of The Los Angeles Times, leaving it approximately half the size it was at the turn of this century.
  • And The Star-Ledger of Newark, the 15th-largest paper in the country, declared plans to reduce its editorial staff by 40 percent.

All this came amid news that the nation's daily newspapers saw circulation decline more steeply than anticipated. On Monday the Audit Bureau of Circulations reported that average weekday circulation was 38,165,848 at 507 of the nation's leading dailies in the six months ending in September, a 4.6 percent decline from 40,022,356 a year earlier. Up till then, advertising revenue had risen quarter after quarter.

Here at the Marriott in downtown KC, where nearly 1,800 students and advisers involved in college media are gathered for five days of workshops and panel discussions, we urge students to develop new skills. We encourage them to "think multimedia," we teach them how to create interactive maps, audio slide shows and video reports for the Web so that they'll be able to do things that 25-year veteran reporters and photographers can't. We tell them they need to be flexible, creative and skilled in many areas to survive and thrive.

But even with such new media skills, where are they going to get jobs? News Web sites are struggling too. And online publications do not appear to be the savior of their print counterparts.

As Carr notes in his column, "More than 90 percent of the newspaper industry’s revenue still derives from the print product, a legacy technology that attracts fewer consumers and advertisers every single day."

Two weeks ago, the Times and other news media reported that online revenue at newspaper sites was stalling. In the second quarter, it was down 2.4 percent compared with last year, to $777 million, according to the Newspaper Association of America.

The impact here in Kansas City is palpable. Only three media companies sent recruiters to the convention, down from about 14 in previous years. Why should they meet with potential employees when they have no jobs to fill?

And still we talk here about the power of "capital-J" journalism. We encourage our students to seek out the truth, to expose wrongs, to, as the old saying goes, "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable."

What will students here be thinking as they head home Saturday and Sunday after sitting through session after session and speech after speech? Will they mull over the words of inspiration and the heartfelt advice from media professionals and journalism educators? Will they pledge to develop new skills and embrace new media?

Or will they simply think about changing majors. Maybe philosophy isn't so impractical after all. At least opportunities for philosophers aren't evaporating before their eyes.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Study multimedia in Italy, N. Ireland this summer

In case you're wondering why I've posted so little lately, it's because I've been devoting a lot of time to negotiating an agreement between San Francisco State University and the Institute for Education in International Media to offer multimedia study-abroad programs next summer. The deal is done!

In 2009 SFSU and ieiMedia will co-sponsor month-long programs in Urbino, Italy (June 30-July 30) and Armagh, Northern Ireland (July 15-August 16).

Students will be able to earn 3 units of journalism credit through the SFSU College of Extended Learning. Students and recent graduates from all universities and majors are welcome to apply. The application deadline is Feb. 1.

The institute, a pioneer in converged media education, has been taking students abroad since 2001.

The programs in Armagh and Urbino are a continuation of the ieiMedia philosophy of taking students to communities that are off the beaten tourist track, allowing them to immerse themselves in the local culture. Students will learn various aspects of digital storytelling -- including photography, video, writing for the Web, blogging and Web design -- and will produce an online multimedia documentary about the local community (see and for examples of work from previous years). Students will also study intercultural communication and Irish history and culture (Armagh) and Italian language (Urbino).

The cost of the program is $4,475 plus airfare. For more information and an application for Urbino contact; for Armagh contact

About Armagh, N. Ireland
Situated on the Irish Republic’s border, Armagh is a city rich in culture and history. It was here that St. Patrick reportedly built the first stone church in 445 and two cathedrals in his name still tower over the city. With 15,000 residents, Armagh has a wide range of attractions: museums, national parks, historic castles and houses, a modern theater, a university, Ireland’s only planetarium, and numerous restaurants and pubs. Activities include golf, fishing, bicycling, and hiking. Armagh is served by public transportation and is one hour from Belfast, two from Dublin, and three from Galway.

Classes will be held in the AmmA Centre, a multimedia creative learning centre in Armagh. Students will live in the Armagh City Youth Hostel,a modern facility with private baths. Some meals will be provided, and students will have access to a large communal kitchen, as well as laundry facilities.

About Urbino, Italy

Urbino is a picturesque Renaissance hill town and the capital of the Marche region, a beautiful but little-touristed region of Central Italy. The city’s impressive Ducal Palace houses one of the most important collections of Renaissance paintings in the world. The artist Raphael was born in Urbino (in 1483) and visitors can tour his family home, which is now a museum. Other attractions include a small botanical garden, a medieval church and a 14thcentury fortress offering stunning views of the town and the surrounding hills.

The University of Urbino, founded in 1506, will provide classroom space as well as housing. Students will live in a residence hall; all meals in the university dining facility are included.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rob Curley reports from the front of new journalism

Many wondered why new media visionary Rob Curley would leave the prestigious Washington Post, one of the pillars of old journalism, for the Las Vegas Sun, a little upstart in the desert.

He explained why in a blog post last week.

"I’m more and more convinced every day that the Las Vegas Sun is the most interesting local newspaper in the nation — both to read and to work at," he wrote. For details read the post.

Mindy McAdams offered her thoughts on Why the Las Vegas Sun is So Great in a series of blog posts earlier that week.

Students trying to make a great local newspaper for their university communities can take lessons from the Sun. Go hyperlocal and use multimedia and interactivity to the max. The readers will follow.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Student Political Journalism Junkies to Meet in DC

The Institute on Political Journalism invites students to attend "Election 2008: The Press, the Presidency & Politicians," a two-day conference for collegiate journalists in the nation's capital.

The Institute of Political Journalism is an arm of The Fund for American Studies, which was founded in 1967 "to help instill in young people an appreciation for the American form of government and the free enterprise system. TFAS sponsors Institutes that teach college students about the principles and values upon which the United States was founded."

Organizers of the conference promise opportunities for students to hone their professional skills, network with working journalists and meet fellow journalism students from across the county.

Panel sessions will include:
  • Covering Capitol Hill: The Story behind the story
  • Media Bias in Presidential Elections: Say it isn't so!
  • Sex, Lies, & Slander: Misbehaving politicians & the press who covers them
  • Covering the Campaign of 08': View from the press bus
  • Live from the White House!: Reporters who cover the President
  • Only the Facts Please: Rumors versus sources
  • Reporting with Polls: What the numbers don't tell us
  • Report Card on the Press: How well were economic & business issues covered
This conference will provide opportunities for collegiate journalists to:
  • Get a quick, affordable two day dose of political journalism
  • Hear from experienced journalists from Politico, Fox News, USA Today, The Washington Post and more
  • Network with students journalists from all over the country
  • Meet potential employers
  • Visit Washington's new NEWSEUM
  • Tour the U.S. Capitol Building
  • Soak up the sights and sounds of the nation's capital

The conference is open to college students with an interest in journalism and politics as well as faculty members or media advisers.

The conference registration fee of $75 includes conference sessions, materials and most meals. Participants requiring overnight accommodations will be charged the discounted room rate of $75 per person per night (double occupancy) and $150 per person per night (single occupancy). People who register by Oct. 1 will receive a discount of $25 off the registration fee and $25 per night off the hotel fees. The final deadline to register is Oct. 14.

The conference will take place at The Liaison Capitol Hill, in Washington, D.C.

Registration is limited. Register here.

For more information on the conference, contact Joe Starrs, IPJ Director at or 202.986.0384.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Column: Old media and new clash at NYU

Alana Taylor, a plugged-in, media-savvy, blogging journalism student at New York University, has an interesting column on PBS' MediaShift critiquing the old-school journalism education she's getting at the venerable journalism school.

Taylor, a junior, is taking a class called “Reporting Gen Y (a.k.a. Quarterlifers),” which she says is one of the few new media classes offered at the school. When the teacher asked if anyone in the class had a blog, Taylor was the only one to raise her hand.

"It comes as a shock to me that the students in a class about 'how our generation is very much invested in the Internet' are not actually as involved," she writes.

Taylor is openly critical of her school for its emphasis on old-school journalism -- for focusing on magazines and newspapers and requiring students to bring The New York Times to class every day. "What is so fascinating about the move from print to digital is the freedom to be your own publisher, editor, marketer, and brand," Taylor writes. "But, surprisingly, NYU does not offer the kinds of classes I want. It continues to focus its core requirements around learning how to work your way up the traditional journalism ladder."

Nearly as interesting as Taylor's blog are the comments it elicits. Check out the piece and add to the discussion.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Online News Association hosts job fair in DC

The Online News Association's 2008 conference in Washington, DC, will feature a job fair on Thursday, Sept. 11 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The job fair at the Capitol Hilton is a great opportunity for student journalists to network with professionals and learn about career opportunities in media. Among the companies that are scheduled to attend are NPR, Gannett and Tribune Media Services.

The day will begin with short presentations from the recruiters about their companies; interviews will take place throughout the day.

Registration is required. Admission for ONA members is free; students who are not ONA members, $25; professionals and other non-ONA members, $50. Recruiters can sign up for $250.00

You can register for the job fair here

If you have any questions, contact Acting Executive Director Tom Regan at

Update: Arrested student photographers released

The two University of Kentucky student photographers and photo adviser who were arrested on suspicion of rioting outside the Republican National Convention Monday were released without being charged Wednesday, according to an article in the Kentucky Kernel, the student newspaper.

Student photographers Ed Matthews and Britney McIntosh and Kernel photo adviser Jim Winn were detained for two nights at the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center in St. Paul, Minn. They were released without being charged with a crime but an investigation is continuing.

The two student photographers are on the staff of the Kentucky Kernel but they were not covering the Republican National Convention for the paper.

Read more about it at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune,, the Lexington Herald-Leader and the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Kentucky Kernal photogs arrested at RNC

Two student photographers and the photo adviser for the Kentucky Kernel were arrested at the Republican National Convention Monday in St. Paul, Minn., on charges of felony rioting while photographing a protest outside the convention, according to the University of Kentucky newspaper.

Photographers Ed Matthews, a senior at the University of Kentucky, and Britney McIntosh, a sophomore, and adviser Jim Winn were three of 286 people arrested during protests at the convention, the Kentucky Kernel reported.

The two photographers were not on assignment for the newspaper but were documenting the convention on their own, according to Editor in Chief Brad Luttrell. The Kernel decided not to cover the Republican National Convention because it had not covered the Democratic National Convention.

For more coverage of the students' arrest see reports by the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Herald-Leader.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Daily Reveille offers model hurricane coverage

If you want a great example of how a student newspaper can cover a major breaking news story as it unfolds, just check out The Daily Reveille at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.

The newspaper is covering every angle of Hurricane Gustav, from the arrival of U.S. Army and National Guard units to the booming business at the local Domino's pizza restaurant. The staff has redesigned the newspaper's home pages so that all the news "above the fold" focuses on Gustav.

Pat Parish, associate director of the LSU Student Media Office, said the radio, TV and newspaper staffs "are doing a lot of new things this fall that really exploit the possibilities of online. For Gustav, their goal is to own the LSU angle."

Much of the staff is camped out in the Student Media offices, Parish wrote in a post the College Media Advisers listserv. "It's a good sturdy building -- with upper floors to flee to, if the levee should break!"

Parish herself is microblogging the storm on Twitter. You can follow her posts at SouthLousiana.

The newspaper's Web site offers truly comprehensive coverage of the hurricane, making use not just of its own staff but campus and national resources. Coverage includes:
  • Frequent news updates (posted all through the night)
  • A live video stream showing the storm
  • A link to the National Hurricane Center's hurricane tracking map
  • A hurricane blog
  • A link to the LSU Hurricane Alert Center
  • A list of closures on campus
  • A special multimedia section with videos about the storm.
  • A poll asking readers if they have evacuated.

The Daily Reveille's coverage offers a model other student newspapers dealing with a major news event can turn to.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Dealing with potentially controversial content

Summer is winding down and it's time to get back to blogging!

This week I'll be in Chicago attending the annual convention of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication and I hope to blog from there.

On Thursday at 3:15 p.m. I'll be on a panel, "College Papers' Mission: Confronting Issues of Responsibility, Diversity and Press Freedom." Check it out if you're at the convention.

In preparing for the panel, I've studied a number of instances over the past year or two of student newspapers running controversial or even downright offensive content. Most have been opinion columns or cartoons that have demeaned a particular ethnic, racial or religious group. In other cases, student newspapers have raised hackles by failing to cover certain events of importance to a particular group.

As you get ready for the upcoming school year, here are some tips to help your staff prepare for and deal with potentially controversial content.

1. Diversity your staff. A diverse staff helps a newspaper cover a multicultural community with sensitivity and a sense of responsibility. The more diverse your staff, the more you’ll have “cultural experts” to advise you on a range of sensitive issues. And think beyond racial minorities. A truly diverse staff includes people of varying religions, ethnic groups, political persuasions, sexual minorities and disabilities.

2. Train your staff. Teach your student newspaper staff to be on the lookout for sensitive material – words and images that people might find offensive or disturbing. Be sure to include the whole staff -- photographers, copy editors, designers, graphic artists and reporters, as well as editors – in the training. Show examples of controversial content run by other newspapers and discuss how you would handle such challenges. Invite experts who can educate your staff about the communities you cover.

3. Use the News Watch Diversity Style Guide. This guide, developed by the staff of News Watch at the Center for Integration and Improvement of Journalism at San Francisco State University, offers guidance on a host of terms, from able-bodied to Zapatistas. It explains the Five Pillars of Islam, the meaning of “down low,” and when it’s acceptable to use the word Eskimo.

4. Reach out. Build relationships with campus and community groups representing different ethnic, racial, religious and political groups. Learn about their cultures, traditions and beliefs. The more you understand, the less likely you are to make a cultural faux-pas.

5. Ask hard questions. When considering content that some may find offensive – be it a news story, a cartoon, an editorial, an opinion column, a video, or a photograph – ask yourself: What does the piece say? Is it fair? Are there words or images that might hurt people? Try to look at it from different points of view. Weigh whether the benefits of the piece – the insights and information it will convey -- outweigh the trouble and pain it may cause.

6. Encourage group decision making. Young editors sometimes feel they should be able to make important decisions on their own. Try to create an environment where decisions are made after discussion among several people. Train editors to seek and consider multiple points of view before making judgments and taking action.

7. Warn the reader. When you do decide to run controversial material, explain what you’re doing and why you’re doing it in an editor’s note. Show readers you’ve really thought this through.

8. When the flak hits, listen. Be open to criticism. Respond to angry letters and phone calls in a calm, rational and timely manner. Don’t get defensive. Offer to meet in person with school officials, student leaders or others who are upset.

9. If you’ve made a mistake, take responsibility. If you’ve got something to apologize for, apologize quickly and publicly. Don’t let wounds fester. Give your apology at least as much play as the error or offensive content.

10. Consider disciplinary action carefully. If an individual acted with negligence or malice, you might want to suspend or fire that person. But also remember that student publications are supposed to be learning experiences. If people involved made an honest mistake and take responsibility for their actions, they may deserve a second chance.

11. Stand by sound decisions. If after careful thought you believe you did the right thing even in light of criticism, explain your actions to your readers and your community. Be responsive to community concerns, but stick to your guns.

12. Heal wounds. If your publication offended a particular community, try to make amends. Reach out to that group and make it clear you want to improve your coverage. Appoint a diplomatic staff member as a liaison to that group.

13. Learn from your mistakes. While it can dangerously strain relationships between a publication and its readers, school officials and campus officials, running controversial content nearly always provides important lessons. Figure out what this experience is teaching you and use it to educate current and future staff members. Re-evaluate policies and systems that allowed this error or offensive content to go through.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mississippi student paper goes online only

The Spectator, the weekly student newspaper at Mississippi University for Women, plans to abandon its print edition and go online only in the fall, according to a news report.

"We want to make our students more employable," Dr. Marty Hatton, chair of the Department of Communication, told the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal.

Hanson said the online newspaper would use video and audio to enhance still pictures and text and that the paper might print a paper edition for "special occasions."

Eric Harlan, instructor and Spectator technical adviser, told the Daily Journal that moving from print to online publication will save the university money.

A number of student newspapers are considering Web-only publishing as a way to cut costs and keep up with a changing industry. However, at many schools print student newspapers remain financially stable and well read, even as community papers are losing readers and advertisers.

In a survey released earlier this month, Alloy Media + Marketing reported that more than three-quarters, or 76 percent, of college students surveyed had read their college newspaper in the past month. (Read more about the Alloy Media + Marketing survey in this June 3 post.)

In addition, online advertising revenues still doesn't come close to print advertising at most student newspapers, as well as community papers. On Monday The New York Times reported that The Internet accounts for less than 10 percent of newspaper ad revenue.

Hat tip to Venise Wagner of San Francisco State for passing along this news.

Will The Spectator and the MUW community benefit from Web-only publishing? How do staff members feel about the change? Is your newspaper considering a shift from print to online-only? Post a comment below.

Journalist maps newsroom layoffs

In case you haven't seen it, Erica Smith, a newspaper and multimedia designer for the St. Louis Post Dispatch has created Paper Cuts, an interactive map showing buyouts and layoffs in the newspaper industry.

Though it's depressing (she counts 4,494 positions lost in the first six months of 2008 and more than 2,100 eliminated in the last seven months of 2007), it does give you a sense of which papers are cutting back, merging or folding.

Smith says she got the idea for the map in May 2007 after reading an article about job cuts in Editor & Publisher.

Keep in mind that jobs aren't necessarily lost forever. Some papers laying off and buying out veteran reporters one day may be hiring eager, young journalists with multimedia skills another.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Five more free design handouts

The Society for News Design has posted five more free, downloadable handouts on its Web site:

Remember these are only available till June 15. After that you have to become an SND member to get them.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Design handouts available for limited time only

The Society for News Design has posted on its Web site 12 free, downloadable handouts on design from the upcoming issue of Design Journal, the society's quarterly. The handouts, which make up a "training toolbox from the pros," will only be available on the site through June 15; after that you'll have to join SND to get them.

The handouts come from visual journalism experts from all over the globe, including:

The SND site is chock full of other handouts, videos, podcasts and other good stuff, too. Be sure to check out materials from the SND Boston Workshop.

Students interested in design should join the organization; membership for full-time students is only $55 a year ($45 for members of of a SND student affiliate).

UPDATE: See five more handouts in next post.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

College students still read campus newspapers

While professional newspapers are grappling with falling readership, particularly among Facebook-crazed college students, student newspapers are still widely read by their target audience.

That's the word from Alloy Media + Marketing, which just announced results of a readership survey of more than 1,200 college students from 550 universities across 50 states.

The study found that more than three-quarters, or 76 percent, of college students surveyed had read their college newspaper in the past month. Readership was highest at campuses with daily papers, where 92 percent had read a student newspaper in the previous month. By comparison, just over one-third of students reported reading their daily community paper at least weekly.

More than half of students, 55 percent, reported reading their campus paper in the last week. And of those dedicated readers, considerably more than half stated they read it at least three issues a week.

“The college newspaper continues to hold its value with students as a key source for news and information and despite growth in technology and new media options, we consistently mark very strong audiences who rely on this source to maintain a connection to their campus community and local happenings,” Samantha Skey, EVP Strategic Marketing, Alloy Media + Marketing, said in a press release issued by the company.

Interestingly, though Internet readership of college papers is rising, less than 20 percent said they had read their campus newspaper online in the past 30 days.

The study findings add support for the idea that it's premature for most student newspapers to ditch their print editions and move to online-only publishing. Unlike many professional newspapers, student newspapers remain popular and potentially lucrative endeavors.

Read Brandweek's report on the study.

Hat tip to Yumi Wilson of San Francisco State University for alerting us to this study.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Survival blog takes summer break

The Student Newspaper Survival Blog is on summer break. We will post here occasionally throughout the summer but we won't be writing as regularly. Look for more complete coverage beginning again in September.

You can continue to send news, examples of noteworthy student work and other tidbits of interest to student journalists to collegenewspaper[at]

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

UWire names 100 top student journalists

UWIRE, a wire service and career networking site for college journalists, has announced the UWIRE 100, a list of the top 100 student journalists in the country.

The students were selected from 500 nominations submitted by editors, professors, advisers and colleagues from 132 schools.

"We created the UWIRE 100 because we knew we would never be able to just name, say, the top 20, or crown a single student 'the journalist of the year," Ben French, UWIRE general manager, said in a statement. "Each of these candidates boasts an honor-worthy resume and portfolio, as well as the esteem of colleagues and advisers."

For each student you can view a profile page that includes a photo, quotes from recommendation letters and samples of their work. Here are some examples:

The UWIRE 100 students come from 66 different schools, ranging from small liberal arts colleges such as Cabrini, Loras and Hamilton to large state universities, according to a FAQ page about the process.

Among the schools represented by multiple students are the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill (five), Penn State University (four), the University of Iowa (four), the University of Florida (three), Syracuse University (three), Indiana University (three) and the University of Texas-Austin (three). Fifty-nine of the students were graduating seniors and three were freshmen.

SPJ announces student awards

The Society of Professional Journalists has announced the national winners of the 2007 Mark of Excellence Awards. This year, collegiate journalists submitted more than 3,400 entries in 39 categories.

“I encourage media executives who are looking for the next wave of high-quality journalists to pay attention to the winners of SPJ’s Mark of Excellence Awards,” Neil Ralston, SPJ’s vice president for campus chapter affairs, said in a news release. “These young men and women represent some of the best that journalism programs have to offer, and we’re proud to be able to honor them at the national level.”

National winners were previously recognized by receiving first place in one of the Society’s 12 regional competitions. A complete list of winners and finalists can be found here.

National winners and finalists will be recognized Friday Sept. 5 at the Mark of Excellence Luncheon, during the 2008 SPJ Convention & National Journalism Conference at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

ONA seeks student journalists -- apply now!

The Online News Association is looking for students to staff the newsroom for its annual conference.

The conference is scheduled for Sept. 11-13, 2008 at the Capital Hilton in Washington, D.C.

The ONA conference offers students working in the newsroom hands-on training, mentoring and deadline multimedia experience. In addition, student newsroom participants are given free registration to the conference and opportunities to network with conference participants.

Applications are available here and are due May 16.

For more details, click here.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Summer training opportunities for student journalists

Long time no post. Work and family responsibilities have drawn me away from the blogger's chair, but I'm back with some news.

Summer is a great time for student journalists to take a break from the publishing grind and learn new skills. Several organizations sponsor training opportunities for student journalists. Among them:

National Youth Journalism Conference
July 9, 2008
Washington D.C.
Campus Progress, a nonprofit organization dedicated to developing progressive leaders, and The Nation magazine are co-sponsoring a National Youth Journalism Conference.

The daylong conference will offer workshops, panel discussions and networking opportunities for young journalists. Confirmed speakers include:
  • Eugene Robinson, columnist and associate editor, The Washington Post
  • Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher, The Nation
  • Asra Nomani, former reporter, The Wall Street Journal; author, "Standing Alone in Mecca"
  • Chris Hayes, Washington editor, The Nation
  • Mathew Yglesias, associate editor, The Atlantic Monthly

The conference is free, including breakfast and lunch, but attendees are responsible for their own travel and lodging costs. A limited number of travel stipends are available to attendees planning to attend the Campus Progress National Conference on July 8. The application procedure for a travel grant is part of the application for the National Conference.

Applications for the journalism conference will be accepted until June 30 or whenever spaces fill up. Applications for the journalism conference will be accepted until June 30, 2008, or until spaces fill up.

People who have already applied for the Campus Progress National Conference can apply for the journalism conference by filling out the short application here. Those who just want to apply for the journalism conference can apply here.

Management Seminar for College Newspaper Editors
July 20-26, 2008
The University of Georgia, Athens
Each summer, more than 50 top college editors from the United States and Canada sharpen their leadership and management skills at the Management Seminar for College Newspaper Editors, sponsored by the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Newspaper Management Studies at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The cost for the seminar is $300, which includes six nights lodging for student editors in Athens and Atlanta, most meals, and five full days of intense training at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication and at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Applications are available here.

Associated Collegiate Press/College Media Advisers Summer Journalism Workshops
July 31-Aug. 3, 2008
Washington, D.C.
Associated Collegiate Press and College Media Advisers will offer a series of workshops this summer for advisers, editors and other students working in college media. Among them:
  • Advising Today's College Media (July 31-Aug. 1)
  • Student Newspaper Workshop (Aug. 1-3)
  • Student Magazine Workshop (Aug. 1-3)
  • Short Courses in Newsroom Management for Newspaper Editors, Newspaper Ad Sales and Marketing, Print Newspaper Design, Advanced Reporting and Magazine Essentials. (Aug. 1)
You can download a brochure, which includes the registration form, here.

Columbia Scholastic Press Association Summer Journalism Workshop
June 22-27, 2008
Columbia University, New York City
This annual workshop for high school students and advisers offers sequences in writing, editing, management or advanced design for either newspapers or yearbooks.

Registration for this five-day intensive program is limited to 325 participants, with a waiting list to be maintained once the limit has been reached.

If you know of other summer training opportunities that still have slots available, post a comment here or email collegenewspaper at

Friday, April 18, 2008

Controversial art project poses dilemma for media

The Yale Daily News found itself at the center of a bizarre tug of war over the truth this week when it reported Thursday that a student had artificially inseminated herself repeatedly and taken abortion drugs to induce miscarriages for an art project.

The story of senior art major Aliza Shvarts' project swept like wildfire across the Internet, showing up in news accounts and blogs. National groups on both sides of the abortion debate immediately condemned the project. Activists gathered at the school to protest.

On Friday Yale issued a statement saying the university had investigated the story and had found it all to be a hoax.

"Ms. Shvarts is engaged in performance art," said the statement by university spokesperson Helaine S. Klasky. "She stated to three senior Yale University officials today, including two deans, that she did not impregnate herself and that she did not induce any miscarriages. The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body."

The statement went on to say that Shvarts "is an artist and has the right to express herself through performance art."

But Shvarts is standing by her project. In a convoluted guest column published in Friday's Yale Daily News, she described her process and in an interview she told the newspaper that the university's statement is "ultimately inaccurate."

The incident is even causing a stir on Wikipedia, where a report on the controversy was being "considered for deletion" and "flagged for rescue," according to the user-generated online encyclopedia's deletion policy.

Shvarts is scheduled to display the controversial senior art project, a presentation that supposedly includes video footage of the artist in her bathtub cramping and bleeding from a self-induced miscarriage, next Tuesday. She told reporters the work would also include a sculpture that incorporates her own blood from the forced miscarriages and a spoken piece describing what she had done.

Did Aliza Shvarts repeatedly impregnate herself and then abort the fetuses? Or did she stage an elaborate hoax? How can news organizations like the Yale Daily News learn the truth? How can newspapers -- student and professional -- avoid getting pulled into hoaxes?

It's a fascinating dilemma for the Yale newspaper and for student newspapers everywhere.

A great how-to on video blogging

Al Tompkins of the Poynter Institute offers a great how-to on video blogging in this YouTube video.

In addition to recommending particular tools like the much talked-about Flip video camera, Snapz Pro X (Snapz Pro Z for PC) for capturing video on your computer screen, and Videocue 2, a cheap but effective teleprompter program, he offers some suggestions on producing Web-quality video quickly. These useful tips can be applied to Web video news reporting as well as video blogging.

And if you don't already regularly "attend," check out "Al's Morning Meeting," Tompkins' daily list of story ideas that college papers as well as professional news organizations can pick up and run with.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Check out UWIRE's campus safety project

UWIRE, a membership organization for college media that aggregates and distributes student-generated content, has put together an impressive package on campus safety around the country to mark the first anniversary of the Virginia Tech massacre.

The package, entitled "State of Alert: Campus Safety in the aftermath of Virginia Tech," includes stories, columns and video from The Collegiate Times at Virginia Tech, the Northern Star at Northern Illinois University (where a former student killed five students and wounded 16 before killing himself on Valentine's Day), and more than a dozen other student newspapers.

State of Alert demonstrates how powerful student media organizations can be when they work together. The package is far more comprehensive than anything a single student news organization could put together because it shows the repercussions the Virginia Tech shootings, in which 32 students and the shooter died, had around the country. The package touches on campus mental health services, security upgrades, gun control legislation, the effectiveness of lockdowns and other issues raised by the deadliest campus shooting spree in American history.

UWIRE, which is in the first phase of a relaunch, gathers, edits, and re-distributes student-created content culled from more than 800 student-run media outlets, according to the Web site's About page.

"The new is dedicated to collaborative journalism, created by and for media’s next generation of talent – whom we affectionately call “The Content Generation," the page says. "Our goal is to capture the collective intelligence of these aspiring media professionals and offer visitors a place to discover refined, quality user-generated content."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Story idea: Profs call for free, affordable textbooks

Here's a story virtually any college newspaper could pick up: Two different groups are calling for free or affordable textbooks.

On Tuesday, the Student Public Interest Research Groups released a statement signed by 1,000 professors declaring their preference for "high-quality, affordable textbooks, including open textbooks, over expensive commercial textbooks." Professors representing more than 300 colleges in all 50 states signed the statement. To find out if any professors from your campus signed, click here.

Make Textbooks Affordable is a joint project of The Student PIRGs, Arizona Students Association and the California State Student Association, according to a press release on the campaign.

Last month Larry Sanger, co-founder of Wikipedia, posted a public appeal to philanthropists to "liberate educational content." He encouraged them to sign an online petition that outlines his vision of a world where textbooks cost students nothing. Some 65 people had signed it as of this writing. (The letter focuses on K-12 textbooks, but the philosophy could easily be applied to college textbooks as well.)

Both efforts support "open textbooks," free, online, open-access textbooks with content that is licensed so that anyone can use, download, customize, or print without expressed permission from the author. Some examples are listed on the Make Textbooks Affordable campaign Web site.

Textbooks cost students an average of $900 per year, according to a 2005 study conducted by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

This is a story with strong reader interest that can be localized to virtually any college campus. Have professors on your campus jumped on the bandwagon? If not, why not? Have any professors on your campus created open textbooks? How do textbook publishers and representatives of your local bookstore respond to these efforts?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Embedded student journalist ousted from Iraq

A San Francisco State University student and former marine who was an embedded journalist in Iraq for five months was ordered to leave Basra earlier this month.

James Lee Jeffreys, who used the pen name James Lee, said he wasn't told why he had to leave, but he was abruptly evacuated on April 2, one day after arriving in Basra.

Jeffreys published photos and dispatches from Iraq in Golden Gate [X]press, the student newspaper at San Francisco State University.

Lee served two tours of duty in Iraq as a marine until he was injured there by friendly fire. After returning to California and enrolling in classes at San Francisco State University, he decided to go back as an embedded reporter.

"I think it's unfortunate that the military that I served so proudly for four years is the same military that prevented me from doing my job as a civilian journalist," Jeffreys told KTVU-TV.

Check out the KTVU report, which includes interviews with Jeffreys and Golden Gate [X]press Multimedia Editor Aaron Morrison -- and a 2-second sound bite from me.

To read James Lee's dispatches from Iraq and see his photos click on the links below:

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Nebraska governor penalizes student paper

The office of the governor of Nebraska threatened to ban Daily Nebraskan reporters from the governor's press conferences last week after the University of Nebraska student newspaper revealed that a man who gives tours of the governor's mansion is a convicted murderer who lives at a nearby prison.

The governor's office later said it would allow Daily Nebraskan reporters to attend press conferences but would no longer send out e-mailed press releases to the newspaper, according to an article in the student newspaper.

The reaction came in response to a story in Thursday's edition of the Daily Nebraskan about a man convicted of second-degree murder who gives tours at the governor's mansion as part of a rehabilitation program.

Ashley Cradduck. deputy communications director to Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman, told the Daily Nebraskan that the governor's office wanted to cut ties with the student newspaper because staff there felt they were not given an opportunity to comment on the story before it was published.

"I wouldn't say that the story was inaccurate, but I would say some things were taken out of context," Cradduck was quoted as saying. "It's not entirely inaccurate, but it's not the full picture, either."

The story was picked up Friday by USA Today, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Omaha World-Herald.

The Student Press Law Center and Nebraska Sen. Tom White of Omaha rushed to the Daily Nebraskan's defense, according to the student newspaper.

"I hope every journalist and every editorial board in the state and every taxpayer realizes the freedom of speech violations here," Ian Russell, a legislative aide to Nebraska Sen. Tom White of Omaha, told the Daily Nebraskan. "When the governor's office goes and beats up on a college newspaper because they're doing their job, it's unbelievable."

You can read the Daily Nebraskan's editorial response to the governor's action here. You can also view a political cartoon about the incident here.

Other student newspapers may well want to comment on this apparent violation of student press freedom.

How will the newsroom of tomorrow function?

If you didn't get to attend The Next Newsroom conference, April 3-4 in Durham, N.C., check out the project's Web site for blog posts, photos, reflections and ideas.

The Next Newsroom Project is an effort to design the ideal newsroom for The Chronicle, the student newspaper at Duke University. Alumni, students and news professionals have come together to help plan the project, which is being funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of the Knight News Challenge Grant program.

Other coverage:

Sounds like a fascinating dicussion; sorry I missed it!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Check out Confessions of a Journalism Student

Temple University journalism student Sean Blanda shares some really interesting insights in Confessions of a Journalism Student on his blog. Check it out.

He points out there has been "a flurry of posts directed at students with advice on school" and the future of the industry but that none of these posts are written by students.


Monday, March 31, 2008

UNITY offers opportunities for student journalists

Want to rub shoulders with some of the most respected journalists in the nation? Want to work in a converged newsroom, producing innovative journalism across media platforms? Want to get a free trip to Chicago this summer?

UNITY '08 needs you!

UNITY: Journalists of Color is seeking student journalists to cover the UNITY '08 Convention in Chicago July 23-27. UNITY will pay for the selected student journalists’ meals, travel and lodging.

The UNITY ’08 convention will offer a great opportunity to learn newsroom skills from veterans. The student news team, mentored by professional journalists, will produce a Web site, a newspaper, audio features and short television newscasts. While generating content, students will get training in video, audio production, webcasting, podcasting, and multimedia skills that are now key to building a solid resume.

Founded in 1986, UNITY: Journalists of Color, Inc. is an alliance of four ethnic journalists associations, which work together as a force for positive change to advance the presence, growth and leadership of journalists of color in the global news industry. Every four years, the four national journalism organizations--the Asian American Journalists Association, the National Association of Black Journalists, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and the Native American Journalists Association--hold a joint national convention.

The 2008 convention is expected to be the largest journalism convention in the world, drawing more than 10,000 reporters, editors, and other media professionals.

All applicants must be:

* Current college undergraduates or graduate students. This includes students who currently attend community colleges and students who will graduate in May/June 2008.

* A member of one of the ethnic journalists associations.

* Available to take part in the program from at least July 20 through July 27, 2008.

* At least 18 years of age by July 20, 2008.

Student members of the Asian American Journalists Association can apply here.

Student members of the National Association of Black Journalists can apply here.

Student members of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists can apply here.

Student members of the Native American Journalists Association can apply here.

The application deadline is today, March 31, 2008 but the NAHJ deadline has been extended to April 4.

Coverage of two student deaths raises questions

The Duke Chronicle ran an interesting story last week about differences in news coverage surrounding the deaths of two college students in the Durham-Chapel Hill area in recent months.

Ted Vaden, the public editor of The News & Observer of Raleigh, N.C. (my former newspaper) followed up with a column yesterday.

The killing of Eve Carson, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill student body president, shocked the community. Student and community newspapers ran front-page stories of the crime and national network and cable television covered it. Vigils held in her honor attracted thousands. North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley offered a reward of as much as $10,000 and the UNC Board of Trustees offered $25,000 for any leads in the Carson case.

By contrast, coverage of the slaying of Duke graduate student Abhijit Mahato, shot and killed Jan. 18 in his home, was a quiet affair. No rewards were offered in connection with the death of Mahato, an international student from India. A vigil attracted 100 people, according to news accounts.

Vaden's column notes that the killing of another student--Denita Smith, a 25-year-old black graduate student at N.C. Central University who was killed in January 2007--also received relatively little news coverage.

Vaden contends that several important differences in the cases--prominence of the individuals, details of the crime, availability of information from police and other authorities--"explained, if not justified, the varying news coverage."

Certainly, Carson's prominence as an elected official on campus thrust her into a somewhat different news category than Smith and Mahato. But the discrepancies in coverage raise troubling questions all journalists should think about.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Online Pacemaker finalists announced

Associated Collegiate Press announced finalists in the 2008 Online Pacemaker contest today.

Winners will be announced for the first time at the National College Media Convention Oct. 29-Nov. 2, 2008 in Kansas City.

ACP received 155 entries for the 2008 Online Pacemaker contest. The contest was judged by Will Sullivan, interactive director of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"I’m so encouraged to see all the excellent work being done at college papers across the country," Sullivan wrote in a blog post on the ACP site. "I’m even more encouraged that it’s not just at the traditional ‘big name’ journalism schools."

"This was probably the most difficult contest for me to judge in two years," he added. "The quality, design, depth, breadth and timeliness of content being produced at these college publications rivals and sometimes beats that of most ‘professional’ media outlets. I was highly encouraged to see many papers producing podcasts, multimedia, blogs, forums and breaking news on their websites."

The finalists are:

Four-year Daily Newspapers

University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill.
Kathleen O'Connell, editor
Mary Cory, adviser
Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Ill.
Chris Essig, editor
Joe Gisondi/Bryan Murley, advisers
Indiana University, Bloomington, Ind.
James Brosher, editor
Nancy Comiskey, adviser

The University Daily Kansan
University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan.
Brian Lewis-Jones, editor
Malcolm Gibson, adviser

The Daily Orange
Syracuse University, Syracuse, N.Y.
Brian Goetsch, editor
Peter Waack, adviser
Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
Kristen Russo, editor
Carl Schierhorn, adviser

The Daily Collegian Online
Pennsylvania State University, University Park, Pa.
Ryan Pfister, editor
John Harvey, adviser

The Shorthorn
University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, Texas
Daniel Johnson, editor
Lloyd Goodman/Chris Whitley, advisers
Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va.
Christopher Ritter, editor
Kelly Wolff, adviser

Four-year Non-daily Newspapers

The State Hornet
Sacramento State University, Sacramento, Calif.
Cody Kitaura, editor
Holly Heyser, adviser

Golden Gate [X]Press
San Francisco State University, San Francisco, Calif.
Aaron Morrison, editor
Jesse Garnier, adviser
George Washington University, Washington, D.C.
Andrew Nacin, editor
University of Miami, Coral Gables, Fla.
Brian Schlansky, editor
Sigman Splichal, adviser
Boise State University, Boise, Idaho
Brian Luptak, editor
Dan Morris, adviser

The Baker Orange
Baker University, Baldwin City, Kan.
Chansi Long, editor
Gwyn Mellinger, adviser

The Nevada Sagebrush
University of Nevada, Reno, Nev.
Chelsea Otakan, editor
Amy Koeckes, adviser

The Ithacan Online
Ithaca College, Ithaca, N.Y.
Nic Barajas, editor
Michael Serino, adviser

The Temple News
Temple University, Philadelphia, Pa.
Sean Blanda, editor
John Di Carlo, adviser

Two-year College Newspapers

The Sun Online
Southwestern College, Chula Vista, Calif.
Esmeralde F. Ramirez, editor
Max Branscomb, adviser

The Clarion Online
Citrus College, Glendora, Calif.
Samantha Bravo, editor
Margaret O'Neil, adviser
Seward County Community College, Liberal, Kan.
Luke Wempe, editor
Anita Reed, adviser

Richland Chronicle
Richland College, Dallas, Texas
Robin Everson, editor
Matt Hinckley, adviser

Magazine/Broadcast/Online-only Publications
University of Illinois, Champaign, Ill.
Dan Newman and Stephanie Praether, editors
Melinda Miller, adviser

North by Northwestern
Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.
Tom Giratikanon, editor

Drake Magazine
Drake University School of Journalism, Des Moines, Iowa
Randall Noblet, editor
Kathleen Richardson, adviser

The Daily Gazette
Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, Pa.
Miles Skorpen, editor

Connect Mason
George Mason University, Fairfax, Va.
Whitney Rhodes, editor
Kathryn Mangus, adviser

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Find sources with

Ever find yourself frantically looking for a source -- an expert on concussions among college athletes, for example, or someone who has done research on grade inflation?

Peter Shankman wants to help. Shankman, who describes himself on his Web site as a "CEO, entrepreneur, adventurist," has launched The idea of this new social networking site is simple: to connect reporters looking for sources with people who have knowledge and something to say.

"I built this list because a lot of my friends are reporters, and they call me all the time for sources," Shankman, founder and CEO of The Geek Factory, Inc., a boutique Marketing and PR strategy firm in New York City, says in his introduction to the site. "Rather than go through my contact lists each time, I figured I could push the requests out to people who actually have something to say."

I checked with Shankman about whether he takes requests from students working for college publications. "Of course I do!" was his speedy response.

If you're looking for sources, email Shankman your query, with "QUERY" in the subject line, and he'll post it to his list.

PR Newswire has run a similar service, called Profnet, since 1992, but it has restrictions on student journalists. The service cannot be used for class assignments, only for stories that will be published. And it will only accept queries from students in a university-level journalism program.

Phil Gomes, a VP with Edelman Digital, muses in his blog today on the effect homegrown services like will have on Profnet. "How will ProfNet and its ilk defend its brand when pretty much anyone can/will develop a similar service?" Gomes writes.

Give and try and let me know how it goes. Post a comment here.

Monday, March 17, 2008

10 Tips for Becoming a Wired Journalist

35,000 FEET OVER COLORADO – I’m flying back from New York City, where I moderated two daylong workshops on new media for College Media Advisers last week. After breathing the same air as new media visionary Rob Curley and hearing from other leaders in this field (see earlier post), I’m a little dizzy. And I’m even more convinced than ever that ALL journalists have to get wired or die.

And yes, that applies to you, the 53-year-old reporter calling yourself a “narrative writer” and you, the student who wants to write for magazines and you, the photojournalism educator who left the newsroom 10 years ago and just wants to teach kids to shoot.

Journalists who say “I want to write long magazine features” or “I’m not into the computer stuff” or “I just want to shoot pictures” are destined to find themselves without work.

Face it: We’re all new media geeks now.

With this in mind, here are tips for journalism students, professionals and educators on how to become a wired journalist.

1. Open your mind.
It’s time to toss out your preconceived, 20th century ideas about what it means to be a journalist. Open yourself up to the possibilities of new media. This is not some flash in the pan or even something in the can’t-quite-see-it future. This is the way the media world works now and you better get hip to it.

2. Learn the lingo.
If you don’t know RSS from CMS, look them up. You may feel like you’re studying a foreign language, but if you don’t learn what people are talking about you’re going to find yourself in the dust.

3. Get some training. Virtually any new skill you can add to your journalism toolbox is valuable. The Poynter Institute, the Knight Digital Media Center, the European Journalism Centre, the Center for Innovation in College Media, College Media Advisers and IRFA Newsplex are among the organizations offering new media training for journalists, educators and students. Or get some quality time with your friendly neighborhood geek – the lab monitor at your school, the multimedia professor in your department, your colleague in the computer science department, the database freak at your newspaper.

4. Train yourself. If you think you don’t have the time or money to invest in training (I’d argue can’t afford not to) the Internet, books, tutorials and the help menu that comes along with just about every piece of software will allow you to train yourself. Poynter's NewsU offers free or low-cost online courses in Multimedia Storytelling, Telling Stories with Sound, Online Project Development and other skills. If you can’t figure out how to do a particular thing, post a question to Google. The Internet has the answer to just about any question you could possibly ask – probably even the meaning of life.

5. Invest in equipment.
Even if you see yourself as primarily a writer or editor, being a 21st century journalist means being armed with equipment to record news in a variety of ways. Every journalist should have a digital audio recorder, digital camera and some way of recording video, even if it’s just short video clips on a digital point-and-shoot. Reporters are now shooting photos and videos with their cell phones and posting them to the Web immediately, sometimes before a photographer can even get to the scene of the news.

6. Link up.
Social networking is becoming an increasingly important part of journalism and all journalists should have a presence on a number of sites, especially LinkedIn, but also myspace, facebook, Wired Journalists, Twitter and other sites.

7. Get yourself out there. Even before you enter a newsroom (or, for journalism educators, even after you leave one) you can get your work out there by posting videos to YouTube, photos to flickr, articles to Web sites, posts to blogs. If a potential employer can’t find your work in a Google search (and yes, these have become a routine part of considering a candidate for a job), you don’t exist.

8. Create a Web presence.
If you don’t already have a Web site or blog, it’s time to get one. Register your name – or something close to it – as a domain name at and put some content up there. Every journalist should have at least a resume and some work samples up on the Web. Put up photos, videos, stories, anything you have that can show you have multiple skills and you’re not afraid to use them.

9. Stay current. With new equipment, software and applications being developed all the time, the possibilities for online journalism are literally changing by the day. It can be hard to keep up to date but you have to if you want to survive. To get up to speed, follow the leaders in the field, including the Center for Innovation in College Media, Wired Journalists, Mindy McAdams, MediaStorm,Ryan Sholin, Multimedia Shooter, Rob Curley.

10. Don’t despair. Yes, media outlets and media jobs are disappearing, but it doesn’t pay to wring your hands. Even while old forms of journalism seem to be dying out, new ones are rising, offering new possibilities for great storytelling and truth-sharing. Journalism is not dying out, it’s just changing. As Rob Curley says, “The most important part of the word newspaper is news, not paper.”

Do you have tips, resources or Web sites to share? Post a comment here.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Medill may drop the J-word

Is journalism getting to be a dirty word?

Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism is thinking about dropping "journalism" from its name, according to Chicago Tribune columnist Eric Zorn.

"Careful observers have noted the disappearance of 'journalism' at the school since (John) Lavine was named dean in December 2005 and began an aggressive effort to blend the marketing and journalism curriculum," Zorn wrote in last Thursday's column. "The school stationery, like its Web site, now refers simply to 'Medill,' after namesake 19th century Tribune managing editor and Chicago Mayor Joseph Medill."

Other candidates being considered by a committee appointed by Lavine:

  • The Medill School of Audience and Consumer Information

  • The Medill School of Media Arts and Sciences

  • The Medill School of Information and Influence

The committee is supposed to come up with a new name by April.

Zorn's readers offered some suggestions of their own this week, among them:

  • Chicago Reader blogger Whet Moser proposed "The Ministry of Information at Northwestern University."

  • "Grad 74" offered "Northwestern University School of Spin, Puffery, and Propaganda."

  • "Austin Mayor" nominated "Northwestern University's Stephen Colbert School for Truthiness."

  • And "Spector" had a tried and not-so-true idea for renaming a venerated institution: "Macy's."

Do you have a suggestion for Medill's new name? Post it here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Breaking news right now

NEW YORK -- How do you write breaking news for the Web?

Follow the Bloomberg model, said Paul Conley, a media consultant who co-led a workshop on Multimedia Storytelling today sponsored by College Media Advisers.

Conley noted that reporting breaking news on the Web is all about speed and updates. When a news story breaks, Bloomberg starts by posting a headline, usually within seconds of the news happening.

Next, a reporter will write a two-paragraph story, which will be posted within minutes. Then comes a four-paragraph story, which will generally follow this format:

Paragraph 1: Theme – what happened and why
Paragraph 2: Authority – a quote
Paragraph 3: Details – more information
Paragraph 4: Why it matters, what’s at stake

“This is the fastest and easiest way to move to 24/7 publishing,” Conley said. “It’s possible to impose this system tomorrow on your Web site.”

Breaking news should be edited quickly, even with the editor looking over the shoulder of the reporter writing.

“It’s not quite publish first, edit later, but almost,” Conley said. “Since it’s the Web, it’s not permanent.”

Jennifer Ward, assistant managing editor, interactive media, for the Fresno Bee, said her paper covers breaking news with updates of three to four paragraphs posted throughout the day.

“Then we do a write-through at the end of the day or as the story is closing,” she said.

Reporters often file news updates and even photos by cell phone, posting material as an event unfolds. “We just had someone filing text message updates from a funeral,” she said.

Sportswriters provide brief play-by-play reports on games and update a scoreboard on the newspaper’s Web site every time a team scores.

Ward noted that Fresno Bee reporters also use their cell phones to take video on breaking news stories and are often able to post before television reporters can. Two new Web sites, and, allow reporters to post video from their cell phones within seconds.

“It’s the coolest thing I’ve seen in a decade,” Ward said. “It’s totally changing the way we do things. We’re beating TV. We don’t need a $30,000 video truck to do live video.”

Seventeen student journalists and college newspaper advisers attended today’s workshop, one of 27 “Media Pro” workshops sponsored this week by College Media Advisers.

Some resources for learning multimedia:

J-Lab, the Institute for Interactive Journalism
An organization that "helps journalists and citizens use digital technologies to develop new ways for people to participate in public life with projects on innovations in journalism, citizen media, interactive news stories, entrepreneurship, training and research and publications."

A how-to site for community journalism

Journalism 2.0 How to Survive and Thrive
A digital literacy guide for the information age by Mark Briggs, Assistant Managing Editor for Interactive News, The News Tribune

A cheap, easy-to-use program for putting together audio slideshows created by photographer Joe Weiss.

A free, easy audio editing program

A free content management system. Some newspapers, including The Temple News at Temple University, have started to use WordPress to publish online.
(You can read about The Temple News' move from College Publisher to WordPress here.)

Another free content management system