December 8, 2021

The Lead is a weekly newsletter that provides resources and connections for student journalists in both college and high school. Sign up here to have it delivered to your inbox every Wednesday morning during the school year.

COVID-19 enforcement on campus. Student mule riders. Climate justice advocacy. Discrimination in athletics.

I asked student journalists to submit their favorite work from 2021, and you sent in work that covers a multitude of subjects. Compiling these lists leaves me inspired by the depth and breadth of student journalism. These newsletter issues are always among my favorites.

This is The Lead’s last newsletter before taking a winter break, but don’t worry — I’m leaving you with a long reading list for the next month. Relax, recharge and we’ll be back in your inbox in January.


Rush: Jackson He — The State Press (Arizona State University)

Got (oat) milk?  — College Voices (Vanderbilt University)

Uniondale Community Land Trust sells first home — The Long Island Advocate (Hofstra University)

Project Pause  — The School of The New York Times (The School of The New York Times Gap Year Program)

The Afghan Resettlement Report — (American University School of Communication)

“The Afghan Resettlement Report is a podcast that localizes a national story by talking with Washington, D.C.-area people and agencies about efforts to help Afghans resettling in the area.” — Jill Olmsted

The Spirit of Invention — The Breeze (Chaffey College)

UCM community shows their pride with a world record attempt — Muleskinner (University of Central Missouri)

In the dark: Transparency rule fails to shed light on costs for IU Health Bloomington patients — Indiana Daily Student (Indiana University)

Coronavirus coverage

Fordham begins stronger enforcement of mask policy on campus — The Fordham Observer (Fordham University)

For Long Beach grocery workers, soon to expire hero pay has helped with necessities and mental health during the pandemic — VoiceWaves (California State University Long Beach)

After effects: The costs of going back in-person — The Huron Emery (Huron High School)


‘SNAPPED’: Before and after a UMD alumna’s breaking point in Greek life — The Diamondback (University of Maryland)

The freedom of movement: A radical dance program gives prisoners a way out — Ampersand (University of Southern California)

“That’s Brock Purdy”: His ‘underdog’ mentality, love for Iowa State and how he learned to play without fear — Iowa State Daily (Iowa State University)

National Diabetes Awareness Month: Type 1 fighters reflect on journey and visibility — The WIHI Opal (Washtenaw International High School)

The man, the myth, the banana? — The Daily Evergreen (Washington State University)

‘Complete betrayal’: Facilities changes met with criticism by staff and community — Chimes (Calvin University)

Wesleyan collaborates with National Education Equity Lab to offer college classes to Title 1 high schools — The Wesleyan Argus (Wesleyan University)

The impact of micro grants on San Bruno small businesses — The Skyline View (Skyline College)

“Pursuing the topic of micro grants brought to light significant economic implications of COVID-19 and a creative tactic we’ve employed to rebuild our community.” — Anoush Torounian

Afghan women faced with massive rollback in freedom, rights as Taliban seizes control — The Panther (Chapman University)

Is “Peabody shaming” a real thing? Students weigh in — The Vanderbilt Hustler (Vanderbilt University)

Magnolia Mead is taking the fight for climate justice to the top — The Eagle (American University)

Gender fluidity in fashion — breaking the stigma — InFocus News (Palo Alto Senior High School)

Where I belong: Finding myself at IDLES — WECB Milk Crate (Emerson College)

Hitchcock: A radio play — The Badger Report (UW Madison)

Group chats: Cheating platform or learning aid? Hunter’s still figuring it out — The Envoy (Hunter College)

We asked mayoral candidates about CUNY. Here’s what they said. — The Envoy (Hunter College)

UMD history professor James Gao remembered for his generosity, quest for knowledge — The Diamondback (University of Maryland)

“Obituaries are the most important stories we write because they tell the story of someone’s life.” — Christine Zhu

“A critical beginning”: Youth advocates on Michigan’s recent menstrual equity wins — The WIHI Opal (Washtenaw International High School [Ypsilanti, Michigan])

The perfect adaptation? Discussing ‘Dune’ with Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya — The Vanderbilt Hustler (Vanderbilt University)

Will Surfside ever be the same? Residents tell their small town’s story — The Miami New Times (University of Florida)

New Provost Matt Cecil, COVID-19 restrictions and visions for a post-pandemic campus — The Northerner (Northern Kentucky University)

Inclusivity for the Deaf-Hard of Hearing community starts with accessible communication for all — Muleskinner (University of Central Missouri)

“This was a very personal story for one of our staffers who is deaf/hard of hearing, and it was a strong piece that brought together writing, design and video.” — Bethany Spitzmiller

Bipartisan brothers: The Harrisons reflect on their relationship in divisive times — The Huron Emery (Huron High School [Ann Arbor, Michigan])

Gay-Straight Alliance leaders on improving vocal and visible allyship at WIHI — The WIHI Opal (Washtenaw International High School)

One of Islam’s most important holidays is Thursday. Why do we still have class? — The Envoy (Hunter College)

Breaking news

The Asian American and Pacific Islander college community speak up — The Roundup News (Los Angeles Pierce College)

LGBTQ+ book removed from Lakewood’s library — Spartan News Network (Lakewood High School [St. Petersburg, Florida])

Innovative technology offers hope for toxic Agawam Lake — The Long Island Advocate (Hofstra University)

Breaking news reporting on gun violence incidents in Hyde Park — The Chicago Maroon (University of Chicago)

“This piece, along with the follow-up reporting, represents my and The Maroon’s effort to contextualize the gun violence on and off-campus while providing accurate and timely coverage on public safety incidents; in addition, this coverage is also important to me as an international student and POC.” — Yiwen Lu

Dr. Allyn Walker on administrative leave after campus protest — The Mace & Crown (Old Dominion University)

Flooding in Gillette House displaces 44 students to Hayes Street Hotel — The Vanderbilt Hustler (Vanderbilt University)


2021-22 Basketball Preview: NKU Basketball is Back — The Northerner (Northern Kentucky University)

Mule Riders uphold a tradition of excellence — Muleskinner (University of Central Missouri)

Kansas COVID Project — University of Kansas

“Excellent storytelling project from KU journalism students unearthing how COVID-19 impacted the sports world in the state of Kansas.” — Chris Heady

Burned out: student athletes reflect on stressful schedules — The Campanile (Palo Alto High School)

Editorial and opinion

Thanksgiving dinner at Defiance College  — The Defender (Defiance College)

Opinion: When a Black cop runs for mayor — The Envoy (CUNY Hunter College)

National greasy food day — The Defender (Defiance College)

Sonia Sanchez’s chorus of voices — The Envoy (Hunter College)

“Andrew Ng wrote a beautiful review of a poetry collection by a Hunter alum in which they wrestle with the themes explored in the poems.” — Lauren Hakimi

Investigative + in-depth

Legal Discrimination — The Collegian (Walla Walla University)

The University faces an ethical dilemma with a Media Ethics professor — The Hofstra Chronicle (Hofstra University)

Uncovering and examining Dougherty Valley High School’s dress code — The Wildcat Tribune (Dougherty Valley High School [San Ramon, California])

Who fills in the gaps during the pandemic? Teenage girls — Ms. Magazine (Vanderbilt University)

AU unintentionally exposed thousands of students’ data in violation of federal law — The Eagle (American University)

Safe zones implemented on campus to support LGBTQ+ students — The Johnsonian (Winthrop University)

As Suffolk Athletics lags university on diversity, ex-players of color say they faced discrimination — The Suffolk Journal (Suffolk University)

“This investigation started a conversation on campus about what needs to be fixed in our athletics department and how — something that many student athletes knew was a long time coming.” — Caroline Enos

77 nationalities & 66 currencies: How do currency exchange rates affect Minerva students’ tuition fees? — The Minerva Quest (Minerva Schools at KGI [San Francisco, California])

Diploma mix-up causes confusion for recent graduates — The Envoy (Hunter College)

TA grading privileges revoked — The Campanile (Palo Alto High School)

How (un)safe is 16 Turk Street? Analyzing reports of crime and harassment around Minerva’s San Francisco residence hall — The Minerva Quest (Minerva Schools at KGI)

The Downsize — Chimes (Calvin University)

U.S. Supreme Court hears case against FBI for spying on Orange County Mosques — The Panther (Chapman University)

Despite being vaccinated, Hunter students were academically withdrawn from classes — The Envoy (Hunter College)

The Crimson Klan — The Harvard Crimson (Harvard University)

‘Red flag warning’: NIU Foundation invests nearly $7 million in fossil fuels — Northern Star (Northern Illinois University)

‘Critical’ violation and official warning issued to VUMC regarding guinea pig mistreatment — The Vanderbilt Hustler (Vanderbilt University)

Despite university threats, few students face suspension after violating COVID-19 gathering guidelines — The Lantern (Ohio State University)

“This piece was the culmination of a four-month fight for public records from the university and answered a vital question of what happened to students who broke COVID-19 guidelines.” — Owen Milnes

Unexpected guests infiltrate the Netherlands — The Hofstra Chronicle (Hofstra University)

Construction blasts near West End elicit complaints from students in nearby residence halls — The Hustler (Vanderbilt University)

VSB Decision Making — The Griffins’ Nest (Eric Hamber Secondary School [Vancouver, British Columbia])

Deconstructing the Divide — The NewsHouse (Newhouse School at Syracuse University)

Unidentified person eggs Georgetown students, local pedestrians — The Hoya (Georgetown University)

Opportunities and trainings

📅 Programming note: The Lead is taking some time off for winter break after this issue. Relax, recharge and we’ll be back in January.

💌 Last week’s newsletterShare your best work from 2021

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Taylor Blatchford is a journalist at The Seattle Times who independently writes The Lead, a newsletter for student journalists. She can be reached at…
Taylor Blatchford

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