Penn State tops Princeton Review’s ‘Best College Newspapers’ list

Princeton Review
If you register on its site, Princeton Review will give you a list of schools ranked by the quality of their newspapers. That’s great news for the Daily Collegian of Penn State, this year’s No. 1, up from No. 6 in 2011. The rest of the Top 10:
2. UNC Chapel Hill
3. Yale
4. Brown
5. University of Wisconsin – Madison
6. University of Kansas
7. University of Maryland – College Park
8. University of Florida
9. University of California Santa Barbara
10. University of Georgia

The listings don’t actually say anything about the publications honored, leaving you only to guess why they ended up so high. Two years ago, one blogger strafed the rankings, saying they came from a fuzzy survey question.

I’ve asked Princeton Review for more on that. But Daily Collegian was publishing in the center of an enormous story all last year as Jerry Sandusky was accused of sexual abuse and coach Joe Paterno was fired. Yale’s Daily News had its great and missed columnist Marina Keegan, but it also had to investigate a fabulist who was once on staff. And University of Georgia independent newspaper The Red & Black kept Poynter staffers busy for a good part of last week with a student walkout and a scuffle between its publisher and a reporter.

Syracuse University’s paper was number 13, while N.C. State, number 18, ended up on top of Northwestern University, number 20 in this list. Some of the country’s best journalism schools are missing entirely from the list of best student newspapers, including Columbia University, University of Missouri at Columbia, and University of Southern California.

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  • http://twitter.com/AdGo Adam Goldstein

    The top two papers are both separately incorporated, too, as are #8 and #10; they’re actually far more separate than the Missourian is. The Missourian might like to think it’s unaffiliated with the school, but the people making editorial decisions are school employees. And the students have to work there to get their J-school degree. If anything, the Missourian isn’t here because it isn’t a college newspaper at all, as opposed to the Red & Black. It’s just a government-owned newspaper, about as good as Stars & Stripes (which isn’t a slam on either publication’s quality–just a reflection of their independence).

  • http://twitter.com/AdGo Adam Goldstein

    The top two papers are both separately incorporated, too, as are #8 and #10; they’re actually far more separate than the Missourian is. The Missourian might like to think it’s unaffiliated with the school, but the people making editorial decisions are school employees. And the students have to work there to get their J-school degree. If anything, the Missourian isn’t here because it isn’t a college newspaper at all, as opposed to the Red & Black. It’s just a government-owned newspaper, about as good as Stars & Stripes (which isn’t a slam on either publication’s quality–just a reflection of their independence).

  • http://twitter.com/EricaPerel EricaPerel

    It’s interesting to note that the list skews toward newspapers that are independent of journalism schools or entirely independent. And while it’s true that this ranking is more of a popularity contest than a juried award, it sheds light on where actual 18 to 22-year-olds are reading the student newspaper. Disclaimer: I work for UNC’s student paper.

  • http://www.facebook.com/thayob Trent Hayob

    The University of Missouri probably isn’t listed because it’s student newspaper is second tier. The better J-school students here work on the Missourian, a local paper unaffiliated with the school.

  • http://www.facebook.com/richard.r.bruce Richard R. Bruce

    Why didn’t the Penn State newspaper report on the years of sexual abuse?

  • Bryan M.

    Best College Newspaper

    Based on students’ answers to the survey question: “How do you rate your campus newspaper?”

    http://www.princetonreview.com/college/college-rankings.aspx

    So at least they changed the wording from “How popular is your campus newspaper,” but good to know my rant still fits. You can’t have a “best of” when the people doing the ranking have no comparative basis for their evaluations.

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    Thanks, I’ve fixed this. –Julie

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=16806567 Tara Schupner

    Just wanted to point out that this article is somewhat misleading because although Penn State is #1, the list starts with UNC next to the number 1 and can easily cause confusion about the ranking of the rest of the schools on the list.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=16806567 Tara Schupner

    Just wanted to point out that this article is somewhat misleading because although Penn State is #1, the list starts with UNC next to the number 1 and can easily cause confusion about the ranking of the rest of the schools on the list.

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    Yes. And it did originally. When I changed it to an ordered list, that changed, so I’ve changed it back. Thanks for noticing! –Julie Moos, Director of Poynter Online

  • http://www.poynter.org Poynter

    Yes. And it did originally. When I changed it to an ordered list, that changed, so I’ve changed it back. Thanks for noticing! –Julie Moos, Director of Poynter Online

  • Anonymous

    If Penn State is #1, shouldn’t the list of runners up start with the number 2?

  • Anonymous

    If Penn State is #1, shouldn’t the list of runners up start with the number 2?