Articles about "College journalism"

Pepperdine student newspapers reported stolen after front-page DUI story

Student Press Law Center

Hundreds of copies of Pepperdine University’s student newspaper have been reported stolen “likely to censor a front-page story about a student who is being charged with drunken driving,” Anna Schiffbauer writes for the Student Press Law Center:

“Elizabeth Smith, the newspaper’s adviser, said staff members noticed an unusual number of the Sept. 25 (paper) were missing from stands outside the library and student center on Sept. 26 and reported it to the university’s Department of Public Safety. They realized the newspapers normally outside the International Programs office were taken on Sept. 28, Smith said.”

Schiffbauer writes that “about 350″ copies of Pepperdine University’s student newspaper were stolen in October 2012 after the paper published an article about a student charged with a DUI.

In 2013, there were at least 10 incidents of student newspapers being stolen nationwide. In April, Poynter’s Kristen Hare reported members of the Delta Chi fraternity at Central Michigan University were shown in tweets burning copies of the student newspaper there. Read more

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Gubernatorial candidate bars student journalists from marijuana presser

Student Press Law Center

Student journalists at Columbia College Chicago were turned away from an Illinois gubernatorial candidate’s press conference about medical marijuana because they weren’t considered part of the “working press,” Michael Bragg reports for the Student Press Law Center:

A press representative for Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor, told the Columbia College students and their professor, Curtis Lawrence, that the press conference on medical marijuana was open only to the “working press.” Rauner, who is running against Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn, would not talk to the students, either.

Lawrence told the SPLC he asked Rauner to talk to the students as he was leaving the conference, but he said the candidate ignored him, not meeting his eyes before he was “whisked down the hallway.”

The students wanted to attend the presser for “Covering Politics,” a course at Columbia College Chicago that features live event coverage, Lawrence told the SPLC. They have been allowed to cover several meetings in Chicago before, including events with Quinn.

This isn’t the first time student journalists have been prevented from covering pot. In April, high school senior Abbey Laine was told she couldn’t write a story about medical marijuana for a student magazine in Lakeland, Florida.

Frank Webster, the school’s communications academy director, said the proposed article “didn’t fit our audience” because the publication is “primarily about marketing and (being) a mouthpiece for Lakeland High and Harrison School of the Arts.” Read more


J-school director vows he won’t let student newspaper die

The Daily Egyptian | The Torch | College Media Matters

The board of trustees at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale may eliminate a proposed student fee that supports the school newspaper, the Daily Egyptian. Some trustees “asked if the paper had considered going online or weekly,” Karsten Burgstahler reports.

The newspaper “has payroll costs of more than $500,000 a year and online ad revenue of approximately $30,000 a year, meaning transitioning the paper online isn’t feasible,” Burgstahler reports Daily Egyptian faculty Managing Editor Eric Fidler said.

“I’m not certain that the board has fully considered the ramifications of putting [the fee] off for a year,” he said. “It almost certainly means the end of the Daily Egyptian and, not too long after the end of the Daily Egyptian, I believe you’ll see the end of the School of Journalism.”

Reached by email Thursday, SIU j-school director William Freivogel said he was at a board meeting where he planned to ask the board to reconsider tabling the fee. He agreed the paper’s future “would be threatened” if the fee goes down. “But I have no intention of shutting down the paper,” Freivogel wrote. The Daily Egyptian “is approaching its 100th birthday in 2016 and has turned out top journalists around the country,” he said. “But suffice it to say I’m not going to let the DE die.”

In other student newspapering news, officials at St. John’s University in New York informed journalists at independent student newspaper The Torch on April 29 that they planned to move its offices to a space that “currently hosts three graduate assistants,” Kieran Lynch writes for The Torch. The Torch currently has 13 editors and two business managers, Lynch writes. On Instagram, Torch Editor-in-Chief Samantha Albanese said the new digs, in Room 130 on the floorplan below, are “a closet-like space“: Read more


College newspapers are following students online, but will revenue come along, too?

Late last month, The Columbia Daily Spectator at Columbia University announced a big change, Peter Sterne reported in Capital New York. The publication would still update its website daily, Editor-in-Chief Abby Abrams told Sterne, but it would print only once per week.

Poynter has written a number of stories about student newspapers heading online during the last few years. But it’s not always easy to compare them.

At Western Kentucky University, the College Heights Herald publishes twice weekly. Except for a small, university-funded professional staff, its operations are entirely supported by ad revenue.

On the same day The Spectator announced plans to print less frequently, the University of Missouri St. Louis announced it would forgive $40,000 in debt for student paper The Current after the student activity board denied all funding. Lindsay Toler wrote in the Riverfront Times that the school will also come up with a new funding source.

But The Spectator has a board of trustees, is a nonprofit and is independent from the school. Though there hasn’t been a recent national census on college newspapers, Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, thought about a dozen were independent nonprofits, he said in a phone interview with Poynter. Others get some funding through the universities, such as subsidies, and there are student newspapers that exist as part of a course and are lab papers. Some are dailies. Some are bi-weeklies or weeklies.

The question for all these papers, though, is how do they continue to survive? That question might seem familiar to people in the business of printing the daily news, but it doesn’t really reflect that world, either, said Keith Herndon, a visiting professor of journalism at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia.

“There’s a lot of things that they may have in common, but there are many more differences.”

College papers are more like community papers

College journalism, Herndon said, has much more in common with community journalism for the following reasons: TV news isn’t competing the way it is in larger news markets, and there’s a defined audience, in this case the university community.

They share many problems with general-interest papers, he said, including a decline in print revenue, falling pick-up rates (one way college papers can judge their circulation) and the fact that an increasing portion of the community they report on has moved online. But “the transition of advertisers at a community level has not moved to digital anywhere near the number it has made on the national scene,” Herndon said. “I worry that the trend of moving things online is happening prematurely.”

College students are already online, but what if advertisers won’t follow them?

“Journalism is full of conundrums,” Herndon said. “And this, I believe, is the conundrum.”

Print may still be the best business model for some

Last year, when it looked like University of Texas at Austin’s The Daily Texan was heading online, graduates of the school gathered and formed an alumni group to discourage that and offer ideas on how to save the paper.

“A lot of people from my era are just not giving up on print yet,” said John Reetz, president of Media Solutions Partners, in a phone interview with Poynter. This is funny coming from him, he said, given that his business is helping newspapers transition digitally.

But the main concern of the group was simple — then how will the paper survive? Reetz said the first question he asks is what’s the digital plan?

“And then there is no plan, generally, other than, We’re gonna pay more attention to it.”

At The Daily Texan, Reetz said, less than 2 percent of revenue came from digital advertising. “It’s a death sentence.”

During this time, the school came through with transitional funding and a move to the communications college. The school has time now to help the paper find a business model that works. And the alumni group came up with 66 paths for profitability. It’s important to transition online, Reetz said, but publications have to build traffic first.

The next few years will be tough for student newspapers, Reetz said. With students moving in and out of the newspapers, there’s little continuity and not a lot of resources.

Remember how all those papers are different?

At Western Kentucky University, print’s still working, said Carrie Pratt, multiplatform news advisor for the College Heights Herald and a former photographer and video editor at the Tampa Bay Times.

“Definitely the bulk of our revenue comes from print advertising,” Pratt said in a phone interview with Poynter.

The school employs five professionals for the Heights Herald. Students who work on the paper are paid, and the paper funds its everyday operations with revenue. The Heights Herald publishes twice weekly, and a new distribution model has helped get more papers into more hands, she said.

Now, instead of counting on students to pick up papers from racks, members of the staff help hand them out, pointing out what’s inside. It was the editor’s idea, Pratt said, and it has worked.

“Students take it,” she said. “They take it.”

The practice is an organic one, she said, one that’s worked for the school and the staff. Since she came to the school, she’s also watched a gradual culture change as staff devotes more time to publishing news online. That takes time, Pratt said, but the students all have mobile tools. There’s an app, an investigative team and the students recently finished a long-term narrative project.

For schools that are going online only, Pratt said she’d ask, “what are your resources?”

It’s an exciting time to be in student media, Pratt said. She can’t say whether they’ll stick with print or someday be online-only.

“We’re in a position and we will continue to be in a position where we are flexible and ready to work with whatever medium that is.”

Related: Student newspapers move to mobile as interest in print wanes Read more

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Michigan frats sort of sorry they trashed copies of student newspaper

Student Press Law Center | CM Life

Despite now-deleted tweets showing burning copies of CM Life and hundreds of missing copies of Central Michigan University’s student newspaper, some fraternity members are now sorry. Kind of.

On Wednesday, Student Press Law Center reported on missing and vandalized copies of CM Life after the newspaper ran a series of stories on Delta Chi, a fraternity that had been suspended last year. Rex Santus reported for SPLC that along with stolen newspapers, members of another fraternity at the school tweeted a photo of the newspapers being set on fire and another with a stack of the papers and “Thanks for the bonfire material.”

(Chapter president Dave) Kobel said his fraternity picked up about 50 copies, collectively, to discuss at a chapter meeting, but it was not meant as censorship. The articles were intended for reading, he said, and the bonfire tweets were “overblown” jokes.

“I guess you could say that we’re sorry,” Kobel said. “We didn’t mean any poor intentions with the tweet. That’s not intention.”

CM Life’s editor-in-chief, Justin Hicks, told SPLC “I called these guys out for refusing to talk to us. That’s when people started getting really mad about it.” Read more


Kent State journalism faculty ‘embarrassed’ by university’s secretive presidential search

Akron Beacon Journal | The Daily Kent Stater | When Journalism Fails

Faculty members from Kent State University’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication took out an ad in student paper The Daily Kent Stater Tuesday to protest the university’s search for a new president. Officials destroyed documentation of the search, saying it had “turned over all records that are relevant,” Carol Biliczky reported in the Akron Beacon Journal earlier this month.

“We’re embarrassed by our administration’s refusal to disclose public records related to the recent presidential search,” the ad reads. “And we’re troubled over credible news reports that some of these records may have been shredded to avoid public inspection.” Read more


Jennifer Conlin writes about independent student publication The Michigan Daily, which beat local daily The Ann Arbor News on a major story. Since the News underwent several repositionings in the local market, the Daily has been “the only Monday-through-Friday print publication in town”:

The constant changes have muddled The Ann Arbor News’s identity and, according to some residents, eroded its standing as the go-to source of news in the community. That sense was reinforced by the football article, on which The Ann Arbor News played catch-up after student reporters broke the story.

“I feel The Michigan Daily fills an important niche in Ann Arbor and a need that is unmet by our regional newspapers in an era of constrained resources,” said the student paper’s editor in chief, Peter Shahin, sitting with the two reporters who broke the football scandal story, Adam Rubenfire and Matt Slovin, in the Daily’s conference room. …

“We have 200 to 250 staff, and though we are a trade publication first covering the university, we are also trying to fill a void in other areas here, like the arts,” Mr. Shahin said. “I think we truly have the pulse of the town.”

Jennifer Conlin, The New York Times

Deposit photos

Student newspapers move to mobile as interest in print wanes

The Daily O’Collegian at Oklahoma State University is embarking on a massive reinvention that will push back deadlines, require less work on papers and encourage students to spend more time on their mobile phones.

On the surface, it sounds like every college student’s dream. In reality, it is part of a rising movement within college media 2.0 – one which principal architects are determined to see through even while unsure about its eventual success.

Starting this fall, the 119-year-old student newspaper in Stillwater, Okla., will adopt a new format, publishing schedule and digital focus. It is even changing its name, from The Daily O’Collegian to the O’Colly, the pub’s longtime nickname.

The loss of Daily in the nameplate mirrors the shrinking print schedule. Student staffers will be putting out a print edition three times per week instead of five. And these every-other-day issues – appearing Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – will be tabloid-sized instead of broadsheet.

“By making this change, we are transitioning from a five-day-a-week newspaper to a 24/7 media company,” said Editor-in-Chief Kyle Hinchey last month in a formal announcement about the changes. “In this digital age, it is imperative we direct more of our attention to our digital audience, and that’s what this step forward will allow us to do.”

The slide away from print is being taken in various ways by many student press outlets. Collectively, advisers, educators and student journalists are witnessing or participating in the biggest shift in college media since campus newspapers appeared in modern form in the mid-to-late 1800s. Their move from print to digital mirrors what is occurring in the larger media industry, with many issues and questions sounding a familiar ring.

‘100-percent digital transition’

Depending on one’s perspective, the evolution from print to digital is either a rebirth or a bloodletting. In both camps, though, there is agreement that print is the victim.

A growing number of papers are cutting or considering cutting the number of print editions they publish each week or month. Others are trimming their page sizes or reducing the number of copies or pages produced for each issue.

Still others are experimenting with magazine editions, special issues, new sections, non-content revenue streams, social media schemes, mobile apps and Web overhauls. A few papers have dropped print entirely, opting to reboot as online-only outlets.

The College Reporter at Franklin & Marshall College, for one, announced in February it will email and post a PDF of its print edition, the culmination of a three-year “100-percent digital transition.”

Ray Catalino (Ray Catalino photo)

It is a transition O’Colly General Manager Ray Catalino contends is necessary across college media, however tough it may be for traditionalists to stomach.

“I’ve been holding off,” Catalino said of the changes to print. “A lot of papers have been holding off. But now is the time to make a move. … Whether or not we’ll be any better off a year or five years from now, I don’t know. But I’ve been swayed by the belief that what we’re seeing from readers and customers is a permanent change. For the last few years, I’ve been saying, ‘Oh, it’s just a fad. It’s just that Facebook thing.’ I now see it’s not a fad. We all need to jump in.”

‘Waning interest’

The O’Colly jumped in due to a confluence of factors that its professional staff, student editors and supervisory board found too powerful to ignore, a reality that other college outlets will need to face.

First, pick-ups for the paper’s print edition on and off campus have been declining. Catalino said the return rate – which once hovered no higher than 10 percent for a 10,000-issue run – has risen closer to 20 percent over the past two years for a reduced regular circulation of 8,100 copies.

A recent survey of 2,800 Oklahoma State faculty, staff and students confirmed what the leftover stacks signaled. Student respondents said they increasingly consume digital news and more than half either did not care if the paper reduced its print edition or approved of the move.

A simultaneous, prolonged slump in print advertising – and ad revenue – also spurred the shift. Catalino said readers periodically complained that midweek issues were too skinny and basically ad-free. In addition, advertisers were reacting to print with what he described as “waning interest,” something he admitted might stem in part from “sales students who don’t know the difference between a column inch and a square inch.”

As he explained, “Too many advertisers have been saying ‘You know, I’m just not getting the kind of response that I’d like.’ … So we had to take a big step and change the model.”

‘Churning, churning, churning’

For student press outlets worldwide, developing a sustainable, innovative model that caters to their many constituencies is nearly impossible.

As much as they are viewed as the ultimate student niche media, campus newspapers answer to a variety of groups. Besides their core student audience, there are faculty, staff, alumni and nearby community readers to please. They also serve affiliated journalism schools and programs; the university as a whole; advertisers; professional staff or boards overseeing the budget; employers seeking a new generation of journalists; and, of course, the student journalists themselves.

To appease and re-energize as many audiences as possible, the O’Colly has approved a journalism-first, platform-neutral approach.

Its digital-mobile-print hybrid will deliver news about OK State, Stillwater and the outside world at intervals set to coincide with reader habits. Two of the three print issues each week will most likely contain content heavy on hard news, while the Friday edition will feature more on local arts and entertainment.

The tab format aims to increase each issue’s page count, and the paper’s perceived editorial heft. It will be coupled with whiter, heavier-poundage paper to entice advertising clients.

Through its online paywall – unique among college media – the O’Colly will continue to charge a yearly subscription fee for individuals outside the campus area, although users can still access three articles per month for free. About 450 members pay $20 annually for unrestricted website access, according to Catalino.

The marketing team plans to put together packages that mix modular print ads, social media promotions, homepage plugs and mobile app ads pegged to the amount a client wants to spend.

Finally, nightly editorial deadlines will be changed or abandoned, freeing student staffers from their ink-stained shackles.

“Time for me is the big thing,” said Catalino. “Some of these kids work 40 to 50 hours per week for the newspaper on top of school. They concentrate on print. It consumes so much of their time. … They have the desire to do something electronically, but frankly we’re lucky if we get one or maybe two editors who have the opportunity. We want to change that.”

As O’Colly editorial adviser Barbara Allen similarly shared in an email:

“Honestly, we are really excited about the prospect of being unchained from the daily print cycle. I think it’s a time-sucker. Is it possible that we’ll stop feeding the beast and have more time for thoughtful production of news? I hope so. Right now, I see my amazing, dedicated, smart students just churning, churning, churning. What suffers isn’t the print product, but the younger journalists who need mentoring, the investigations that are languishing, the really well thought-out online components that include creative social media and strong audience engagement. Wouldn’t it be cool if, by recognizing that college eyeballs are increasingly on screens and not paper, we blaze a trail for a more employable burgeoning journalist?”

‘Why trash the thing?’

Is the trail the O’Colly and other papers are blazing a positive one for the future of the student press? Kevin Schwartz is unconvinced.

Kevin Schwartz (Kevin Schwartz photo)

Schwartz spent roughly 20 years as general manager of The Daily Tar Heel student newspaper at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Emerald Media President Ryan Frank at the University of Oregon dubbed Schwartz “the dean of the college media business.”

Schwartz, who currently runs Schwartz Media Solutions in St. Petersburg, Fla., still believes heavily in the power of print for a multitude of reasons. Along with it serving as a platform for good journalism, he sees print as the main means for college media to remain solvent.

Schwartz’s doctrine is that dropping print does not save money but rather costs the operation its ability to make money. He contends reducing the number of print issues and pages is death by a thousand cuts, not a righting of the ship.

“To give up on print is to kiss your newspaper an eventual goodbye, unless a school is willing to provide 100 percent adequate funding to a digital-only model, and even then much would be lost,” he argues.

What’s especially mystifying to him is the failure of many student editors, advisers and publication boards to recognize what seems obvious: Print is still by far college media’s main source for advertising revenue.

He offers the Daily Tar Heel as one example. The newspaper’s digital ad revenue hovers around $165,000 annually, among the highest levels in college media. By comparison, its print ads brought in approximately $1.18 million last year, an amount confirmed by current General Manager Kelly Wolff.

“What does that tell you?” Schwartz asked. “We better sustain our print edition. It’s what advertisers want. It’s paying nearly 100 percent of the bills. The digital product and digital ad development can offset at least for now the losses we take in print. But why trash the thing until advertisers are actually telling us they want digital alternatives?”

‘Why am I fighting this?’

Catalino said he definitely understands Schwartz’s concerns and admits uncertainty about how the paper’s revenue, Web traffic, mobile engagement and print pick-up will ultimately pan out.

The one thing about which he is confident, at least in the short term: In an economic and media climate demanding change, he would rather evolve based on journalism instincts than sheer survival ones.

“You know, I’m scared about it,” Catalino confessed about the paper’s transition. “I’ve been a daily advocate for years. When some of my peers moved to less than a daily, I’d say, ‘You’re crazy. What are you doing?’

“It’s just after a couple years of these dismal pick-up rates and seeing kids without the time to experiment and grow and learn electronically, it made me think, ‘Why am I fighting this?’” He paused, adding, “Only time will tell if this is the right move and the right time for it.” Read more

A police is parked outside the Electrical Engineering Building on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 where  one person was killed inside a classroom by a gunman who surrendered to a police officer within minutes of the attack, officials said.. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

Purdue clears police who detained student journalist

Journal & Courier | The Exponent

Police at Purdue University were within their rights to detain a student journalist and seize his camera, an investigation led by the school’s police chief determined.

Hayleigh Colombo and Dave Bangert of the (Lafayette, Ind.) Journal & Courier say the report was released on Friday afternoon. Purdue Police Chief John Cox “found that police had reason to hold Hiraku ‘Michael’ Takeda as he attempted to take pictures and check the scene in and near the Electrical Engineering Building moments after the shooting,” they report. “Cox also said he determined that Takeda’s complaints about harassment and rough treatment were unfounded.”

“He was detained because of the apprehending officers’ reasonable suspicion, supported by articulable facts, that criminal activity may be afoot based on Mr. Takeda’s entering a building they had thought was secured, not heeding their verbal commands, and attempting to flee from them,” Cox wrote.

Read more

Purdue police detain student journalist, seize his camera

The Exponent | Journal & Courier

Michael Takeda, the photo editor for the independent Purdue University student paper The Exponent, “was slammed to the ground by the Purdue Police” Tuesday while reporting on a shooting on campus, Taylor Vincent reports.

The officers confiscated Takeda’s camera and photos, detained and questioned his whereabouts within the building, which was then on lockdown after being held by the police for roughly three hours.

Frank LoMonte of the Student Press Law Center intervened after a request from the paper, Mikel Livingston reports in the Journal & Courier. Police returned the camera, and the paper’s publisher, Pat Kuhnle, told Livingston “it appeared that the photographs on the camera were untouched.”

You can see one of Takeda’s photos in this Exponent account of the shooting. Read more