June 22, 2021

Open carry on campus.

The dark anniversary of a notorious sexual assault case.

And the inconsistent monitoring of COVID-19 cases on campus.

These are just a few of the project pitches from campus media organizations accepted into this year’s College Media Project, now in its fourth year at Poynter.

With support from the Charles Koch Foundation, Poynter staffers will provide mentorship, support and financial assistance to the following independent campus news organizations as they explore a topic unique to their campus, but with potential impact across the nation’s colleges:

  • The Kaimin at the University of Montana will examine how the state’s new open carry law will impact its campus, where it’s now legal to carry a firearm.
  • The University of Miami’s UMTV and The Miami Hurricane are planning a multimedia series investigating possibly invasive surveillance techniques on campus and in Miami.
  • In New York, WRHU and The Hofstra Clocktower will combine forces to investigate economic disparities in the Long Island area.
  • The Daily Cardinal of the University of Wisconsin-Madison plans to examine the impact of gentrification around campus and its impact on marginalized communities.
  • The Crimson White at the University of Alabama plans to launch an independent COVID-19 dashboard.
  • El Espejo Magazine, from the University of Texas A&M San Antonio, will examine the impact of COVID-19 on this commuter campus and how its students and organizations will recover.
  • The Daily Collegian at Penn State University will look back on the 10-year anniversary of the Jerry Sandusky trials.

“The range of applicants was really outstanding,” said Barbara Allen, director of college programming for Poynter. “Every year I wonder how the project pitches could get any stronger, and every year I’m blown away at the creativity and drive that student media organizations have.”

Students in the program will have one semester to execute on their projects, which includes a $1,500 grant that can be spent at the discretion of the student leaders. Their work will be showcased online via Poynter.org at the end of the school year.

The last cohort of the College Media Project just wrapped up a year-long project. They included:

  • The University of South Florida St. Petersburg. In “Green & Gold,” The Crow’s Nest examined the consolidation of USF’s three campuses, and wrote a series of explanatory breakdowns for its student audience about how the new budget impacted them.
  • Johns Hopkins University. The editors of the News-Letter had a year-end virtual magazine examining the historical relationship between their school’s marquee medical community and the rest of the area.
  • Texas State University. In “The 11 Percent Project,” the University Star’s staff told the story of Texas State’s Black students, both currently and through the years.
  • USC Annenberg Media Center. The Equity Board: The student-run media center created a three-person board to ensure equitable coverage in their reporting and provide guidance for reporters working on sensitive topics around diversity and inclusion. The Board will participate in editorial pitch meetings, review content, and published a style guide on best practices for the newsroom.
  • Morgan State University. Black Health Matters: The team at The Spokesman launched its series on racial disparities in health care, profiling a nursing student at Morgan State and looking at the dual challenge of being Black and male in nursing.
  • University of Richmond. The Westham Project: The Collegian launched a series of reports about the university’s complicated relationship with race, beginning with a look at the school’s efforts to address the fact that they are believed to have built sections of campus on top of the Westham Burying Ground, where bodies of slaves were buried.
  • Colorado State University. The Rocky Mountain Collegian offers an ambitious look at its campus culture following a number of high-profile incidents over the last few years. They also added an op-ed section called “Notes from the Margin,” inviting students from marginalized communities to share their experiences.
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