May 9, 2021

Last week, Poynter wrapped up a yearlong partnership with 10 student media organizations across the country.

Student journalists at these 10 schools spent the last year tackling a major investigative and/or explanatory topic at each of their schools.

“This project has changed the way our newsroom focuses on long-term series,” said Oyin Adedoyin, editor-in-chief of The Spokesman at Morgan State University in Baltimore. “We’ve learned tools and developed contacts that we’ll continue to expand upon for years to come.”

Adedoyin was just one of the dozens of students I had the pleasure of working with over the course of this project. They benefited from Poynter coaching and resources, but it’s obvious to those of us working closely with these students that the state of emerging journalism is robust and inspiring.

“This program has given me the opportunity to write stories that matter and the resources to see them through,” said Yacob Reyes, editor of The Hawkeye News at Hillsborough (County, Florida) Community College.

I hope this list of their work gives you ideas for your own classes and staff in the fall. Soon, we’ll be announcing a new cohort of College Media Project schools, and I look forward to sharing their topics and ideas with you.

For now, I hope you’ll dive into this roundup of completed projects, and that there’s something in here your student can benefit from.

  • 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, with a timeline, stories, videos, podcasts and a live event. (They even created a project merch shop!)
  • USC Annenberg Media Center: The student-run media center created a three-person Equity Board to ensure equitable coverage in their reporting and provide guidance for reporters working on sensitive topics around diversity and inclusion. The board participated in editorial pitch meetings, reviewed content, and published a style guide on best practices for the newsroom.
  • Morgan State University: The team at The Spokesman launched “Black Health Matters”, a series on racial disparities in health that included stories, multimedia and a live webinar — and one of my favorite stories in the entire series, “As coronavirus variants circulate Baltimore, the vaccine debate persists within the Black community.”
  • University of Richmond: With “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 sections of campus were built on top of the Westham Burying Ground, where bodies of slaves were buried.
  • Colorado State University: The Rocky Mountain Collegian examined its campus culture following a number of high-profile incidents over the last few years. The staff produced a series of reports aimed at fostering dialogue at CSU, and even contracted with a consulting firm for best practices. They also added an op-ed section called “Notes from the Margin,” inviting students from marginalized communities to share their experiences.
  • The University of South Florida St. Petersburg: In “Green & Gold,” The Crow’s Nest examined the consolidation of USF’s three campuses, and ran a series of explanatory breakdowns for its student audience about how the new budget will impact them.
  • Johns Hopkins University: The News-Letter planned a year-end virtual magazine examining the historical relationship between their school’s marquee medical community and the rest of the area.
  • The University of Kansas: The Daily Kansan will publish a four-part series on the impact of administrative transparency, or lack thereof — including an examination of what happens when leaders aren’t forthcoming about Title IX complaints, what goes on in Greek life and more.
  • Duquesne University: In a special section culminating a year of work, the staff of the Duke highlighted the stories of Black students, alumni and local community members making change in their communities.

Facts matter. Get paid to prove it.

I’m excited to announce that the MediaWise Campus Correspondents program, which empowers college students to teach their peers fact from fiction online, is back for another year. Students accepted into the program will be trained on fact-checking fundamentals and get paid to produce social media content and lead virtual campus trainings.

If you have a student who does well at the front of the classroom and/or has a knack for social media, encourage them to check out this application link.

Applications are due May 28.

Save the cheerleader, save free speech

Last week’s Professor’s Press Pass featured a case study on the profane cheerleader whose case ended up in front of the Supreme Court — with potentially major implications for student free speech. The indispensable Student Press Law Center created a quick overview for stakeholders.

“B.L. v. Mahanoy is a free expression case on the Supreme Court docket. The case has major implications for public school students across the country. This page is a primer for reporters, students and teachers who want a quick explanation of the case and how it could affect student free speech nationwide.”

What does the future hold?

I was interested in the Poynter webinar “Diverse Voices and the Future Newsroom,” featuring Robert Samuels and Dion Lim, for its potential implications and insights for college newsrooms. So I volunteered to write about it. You can see my full story here, or find a replay here.

Good news for diverse journalists

Last week, College Media Association announced a new partnership with NLGJA. From the release: “We’re reaching out again with another fantastic opportunity for your students. Thanks to a generous donation from the Walton Family Foundation, NLGJA: The Association of LGBTQ Journalists is offering 100 free memberships for students and recent graduates, and we need your help sharing this opportunity with your students. Interested students should apply to receive one of these complimentary memberships here.”

Preparing to advise on harassment

This may be something to bookmark now for potential later use, and it’s a drum I’m getting used to banging. A UN report details the threats and violence, online and in real life, that female journalists face. As The Guardian writes, “An epidemic of online violence against female journalists worldwide is undermining their reporting, spilling over into real-life attacks and harassment, and puts their health and professional prospects in jeopardy, the UN has warned.” The Washington Post has “Women journalists face escalating violence online. We should know” and CNN has “They’ve been beaten, trolled, threatened with sexual violence but refuse to be silenced.”

So I guess all that is to say — advisers and professors need to take this seriously, and they need to be ready. Here are the resources I’ve gathered so far if you find yourself needing to help or counsel a female journalist facing harassment.

Diverse headlines

One valuable way that you can reinforce diversity, equity and inclusion in your classroom is by sharing journalism about, by and for diverse communities — not just stories that are predominantly by and about cisgender white people. Consider ways in which you could use these stories in your curriculum. Here are a few examples I saw this week.

College headlines

Great journalism to share with your students

Poynter’s Internship Database

This week, we’re featuring Foreign Policy magazine, which is looking for a fall intern to work out of its Washington, D. C., office. The job listing says, “Interns contribute to all aspects of our work including fact-checking, planning, editing, and writing. Our interns have gone on to full-time roles at prestigious media organizations around the world. This is a terrific opportunity to learn more about journalism, geopolitics, and cutting-edge new media.”

Apply here, and see other journalism jobs in our internship database.

The Lead

This headline pretty much says it all: “What one newsroom learned from introducing paid positions for low-income student journalists of color.” The first-person column from editors at the Wesleyan Argus in Middletown, Connecticut, will hopefully inspire you to consider new ways to approach recruitment and retention.

Subscribe to The Lead, Poynter’s weekly newsletter for student journalists, and encourage your students to do the same.

This week’s Professor’s Press Pass

In this week’s Professor’s Press Pass, we ask students to read a new policy issued by The Washington Post that directs editorial employees to avoid advocacy when gathering this summer. Do your students think it’s helpful or does the policy further muddy the water on lines being drawn around lived experiences?

Bonus! Free subscriptions to Press Pass

Thanks to funding from the Scripps Howard and Lumina foundations, we’re offering 25 free subscriptions to our Professor’s Press Pass to professors serving underserved student populations. (Think HBCUs, HSIs and Indigenous-serving schools). If you meet that criteria or think you might otherwise qualify, please send an email to with the subject line “Lumina PPP grants.” In the body, simply tell me the name of your school and which population it serves. If you qualify, I’ll do the rest!

Resources for Journalists

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Barbara Allen is the director of college programming for Poynter. Prior to that, she served as managing editor of She spent two decades in…
Barbara Allen

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