February 27, 2022

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Remembering Kelley Lash

The college journalism world was rocked this week with the sudden death of Rice University student media director and adviser Kelley Lash, 46. Her former students shared their memories, while college newsroom advisers across the country took to the College Media Association’s listserv to share remembrances and grief.

I didn’t know Lash that well, but I didn’t want to send this newsletter off without recognizing what a generous and special person she was in a group of people who excel at being generous and special. Here is what a few fellow advisers shared:

“Kelley encapsulated everything we try to do as advisers. I will always remember when Kelley reached out to me a few years back after one of my students at Colorado State was tragically killed. But that’s who she was with her time and support. What a loss.” — Jim Rodenbush, University of Indiana

“Kelley was so vivacious. … (She) somehow found a way to connect with everyone, which is probably why she was such a good and popular president and board member, and why subsequent boards relied on her so much.” — Steven Chappell, Northwest Missouri State University

“Heartbroken. Devastated. All of it. Sitting here somehow I want to encapsulate the impact Kelley had. … It’s impossible. … She was fierce and kind and committed to this organization and its members perhaps more than anyone else I’ve ever known.” — Chris Evans, University of Illinois

“Kelley was the heart and soul of college media, and of CMA. She was a ‘can do’ individual, as well as a ‘what can I do for you’ leader. … Kelley, you’ve been taken from us too soon. We will miss you, but we promise to carry the college media torch high in your honor. You lived your life to make college media a better place, and we will forever love you for it.” — Laura Widmer, Associated Collegiate Press

Covering war for campus

Do you have Ukrainian or Russian students on campus? What a perfect time to find out, and to get their feelings on what’s happening in their home countries.

I’ve seen several stories about Ukrainian adoptions but haven’t yet seen any from students studying abroad in the United States. That could be solid gold if you can find them.

Nieman Lab put together “Some resources for following the war in Ukraine” and  Muckrack had a good list of resources in its daily newsletter:

Both could be primers to get your student reporters up to speed before any interviews. There’s also this Reuters Institute Twitter thread: “As Russia attacks Ukraine, here’s a thread with resources and news articles that may be useful for journalists today. Please share and add suggestions.”

NBCU Academy has this behind-the-scenes video about their journalists: “Andy Eckardt, NBC News’ deputy editor of Europe, and Sue Kroll, NBC News’ senior coordinating producer, talked with NBCU Academy about safety, getting the story right and how to keep morale up in a tense environment.”

A few more awards

Alert readers tipped me off to a few more contests and awards that I left out of my list last week.

Former NPPA president Tom Hardin wanted to make sure you all knew about the National Press Photographers Foundation scholarships and grants awards annually, which you can read about here. And Kim Fox reminded me that the Broadcast Education Association offers cash awards for students and faculty.

Renaming rights

Possible story or assignment: The U.S. Interior Department has announced plans to rename more than 600 federal geographic features that include an offensive Indigenous term. You can read its announcement and see the list here. Any locales near your school impacted? How do local Indigenous communities respond?

Wonder Tools tip

Jeremy Caplan’s Wonder Tools newsletter is often revelatory for educators, and this week’s made me wonder if any of you have leaned on Spark Video from Adobe to simplify either your assignments or your work. Here’s more.

Follow the teeth

Thinking a recent viral story didn’t add up, Wired’s Matt Reynolds dove into the real story of the man who vomited his dentures into a trash can only to find them mailed back more than a decade later. Or did he? This story is an excellent example of the news media failing to verify basic facts and getting too caught up in the humor and oddity of a story to realize it’s probably just not really true.

A lead masterclass

U.S. Senate candidate Abby Broyles. (AP Photo/Garett Fisbeck, File)

Maybe I’m biased because this is from my home state, but if you’re looking for an example of a fantastic news lead to show your students, this AP story by Sean Murphy shows you how it’s done: “A U.S. House candidate in Oklahoma has apologized after reports that she became intoxicated at a Valentine’s Day weekend sleepover for middle-school-aged girls, berated several of the children and vomited in a hamper.”

Headlines about higher ed

Great journalism to share with your students

Diversity, equity and inclusion

This week in fact checking

Here’s a great Instagram post from my friends at MediaWise with tips on spotting (and not sharing) Ukraine/Russia mis- and disinformation.

The Lead

This week, we featured “Where’s the audience for student publications? Most of them aren’t reading print newspapers.” In it, Taylor Blatchford thoughtfully urged students to consider where their readers were, and meet them there. If nothing else, please make sure your newspaper students see and internalize this graph: “Change is hard and breaking traditions can be painful. … Even if your publication has been printed daily since the 1800s, you are not obligated to continue doing that if it doesn’t make sense anymore. And if your publication has decided to reduce print issues, it’s important not to see that as a failure. You’re redirecting your resources and focusing on reaching your readers.”

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 highlight a guest columnist for the HuffPost — a congressional candidate in Pennsylvania who reveals that she previously worked as a stripper in college. We ask students to consider how this revelation might impact the way this candidate is treated or referred to in the news media.

You can get in on this and over 50 other classroom lessons with a subscription to Professor’s Press Pass, which is $12 a month or $100 for a year, with a new case study posted every week.

One last thing

Moms are the best!

Resources for Educators

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

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