March 28, 2021

Seeking professional help

Here’s a wild idea, courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel — why not consider offering some space to professional news organizations inside your newsroom or department?

Some of you already do, of course — you might have an NPR affiliate on campus, or you share space with a wire service, or you’ve conceived of another unique collaboration.

Sure, it’s a little unsettling to hear about news organizations increasingly selling or moving out of their longtime homes to save money or downsize. But perhaps there’s a silver lining — an opportunity for your department or student media organization to build on networking capital, especially if you can get your university on board.

Look for a quiet space that gets good internet and could be used for Zoom or in-person interviews, but don’t make it so far out of the way that students wouldn’t be able to see the pros at work. Think about nearby parking for personal vehicles and even satellite trucks.

Then communicate its availability to your network (especially on social), and encourage your students to do the same.

Do you already work with a professional news agency with space on campus? Let me know how that works and I’ll attempt to share it in a future newsletter. Until then, carry on my wayward ones. The semester’s end draws near!

An update on Poynter’s Diversity Across the Curriculum

Thanks to the many, many of you who applied for Diversity Across the Curriculum. We had vastly more applicants than seats available, which tells us that there’s a real need for this teaching and that we need to continue to offer it in the future. Stay tuned for information about a fall cohort as we look at ways to help programs embrace real diversity, equity and inclusion.

In the meantime, Teachapalooza is coming up June 4-5. This affordable, two-day virtual event is designed to help college journalism educators catch up, power up and reignite their passion for teaching. If you’ve never attended, this is the year! And to our repeat customers, we look forward to convening with you again.

Story idea alert!

Have you heard of transcript ransom? Check out this piece from The Hechinger Report: Colleges are withholding transcripts and degrees from millions over unpaid bills. Here’s the gut-punching pull quote: “Nationwide, 6.6 million students can’t obtain their transcripts from public and private colleges and universities that block them from access for having unpaid balances as low as $25 or less.” Is this happening at your school? This seems like the kind of story in which once you find sources, they would be more than happy to talk. The more outrageous the hold, the better the story!

New newsletter alert!

I’m really excited about this new newsletter from Poynter for journalists of color. I hope you’ll subscribe, but more importantly, I hope you’ll share it with the student journalists of color you work with as a way to remind them that you see them and you support them.

Tip sheet alert!

I came across this tip sheet from the Global Investigative Journalism Network and thought you might find it helpful for your students (I love the international lens this group offers us sometimes myopically American journalists): Tips for Interviewing Victims of Tragedy, Witnesses, and Survivors. One great tip I saw: “Yield control: The interviewee must not feel pressured. Before starting the interview, it’s important to tell them they have control. Inform them that they only have to answer the questions they want to respond to; that they can take a break or to end the interview if they feel overwhelmed; or that they can request that you not reveal potentially risky information. These are their rights.”

Job alert!

Poynter is looking for a part-time editor to help us as we continue to expand editorial operations. We are flexible and expect you to be, too. Experience, excellent writing skills and AP Style chops will help. Maybe you or someone you know would fit the bill?

OK, enough alerts.

Here’s just some good old-fashioned advice as you consider ongoing changes to your print publications, as I’m sure many of you will face this coming semester: Cutting print: Making it work when publishing days must go.

College headlines

Great journalism to share with your students

This week’s Professor’s Press Pass

Alexi McCammond at a screening of documentary “Mike Wallace Is Here” at The Whitby Hotel in New York City on June 20, 2019 (Lev Radin/Shutterstock)

This week, we take a look at the situation that unfolded at Teen Vogue and how a series of youthful (yet racist) tweets derailed a rising Black journalism star. The case study should lead to some robust conversations about responsibility and forgiveness of sins on social media. When, if ever, is the right time to forgive on Twitter?

One last thing

I’m following College Media Madness on Twitter and I have to say it’s a real injection of joy into my day when I see the competition and interaction among the schools, editors and advisers. I hope they raise a lot of money!

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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