April 17, 2022

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I’m breaking the Rule of Three this week to offer up what I think is an interesting trend — and to ask you about it, my loyal and hardworking readers. (So, so hardworking … is it May yet?)

Over the last few weeks I’ve had interesting conversations with a couple of different folks. One was with a former newspaperman who’s helping lead discussions about what a new journalism school at Texas A&M might look like.

And in another conversation, I spent a delightful hour in the California sun sitting on a balcony at Loyola Marymount University, talking to the journalism program director, Kate Pickert, about what it was like to start up a department.

Without giving away any of the details of our conversations, I’ll simply ask this: Suppose you’re handed the proverbial keys and a blank check for a new journalism school of your own design. What would you do? What classes would you offer? What spaces would you build?

Or put more pointedly: What would you change about the state of journalism education, and what would you double down on? (Sorry, I’m writing from Las Vegas, and I think state law requires me to phrase it that way.)

I can’t wait to hear from you on this. Tell me so I can round up your responses in a future newsletter.

Thank you for being a friend

Since the pandemic, there’s been an uptick in the number of college journalists who have reached out to Poynter for help managing the stress that comes with the territory. Google “how to handle stress” and the top results include eating better, turning off the news, sleeping eight hours, getting regular exercise, and avoiding alcohol and caffeine. Who knows any college journalists who are going to follow that advice? Me neither.

That’s why I’ve become really fascinated by the concept of peer support and peer counseling, especially since professional collegiate counseling services are stretched incredibly thin. Point being, we know that college newsrooms are the de facto support networks for many student journalists. Training our young journalists to help each other handle stress, burnout and trauma sure seems like a worthwhile use of our time. Anybody out there doing it?

Who’s running the paper at VMI?

Virginia Military Institute Corp of Cadets march past cannons during a ceremony on the parade grounds at the school in Lexington, Virginia, in 2021. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

According to attorneys and students, it’s students. But university officials at Virginia Military Institute seem to have their doubts. Another case of university overreach or is there something deeper at play here?

An eye-popping number

Tillman Hall at Clemson University. (Shutterstock)


Did you see the story about a former Clemson student winning a defamation suit to the tune of more than $5 million after a Title IX case? This will have implications for the already tricky navigation of reporting on Title IX. In case you need it now or in the future, here’s our free Poynter self-directed course on Title IX.

Anniversary gifts

Photo by Barbara Allen

Speaking of Loyola Marymount … while I was on campus recently, I got a VIP tour of the school’s library, which is hosting an exhibit on the 100-year anniversary of the school paper, the Loyolan. The Loyolan partnered with the library to display front pages through the ages, topics that were hot on campus, and different sections of the newspaper.

I also heard recently from The Wisconsin Daily Cardinal, which just celebrated its 130th birthday with a special section and other events.

So what are you doing to celebrate your big anniversaries on campus? I hope it includes fundraising and celebrating both current students and alumni.

No comment? No way.

This headline pretty much says it all, and it features Frank LoMonte, so you know it’s going to have great advice: “Video & highlights: Opening access – How to push back on restrictive communication policies in education (and beyond).”

Workers should get paid

Check out the statistics in this story about the number of white vs. Black and Latino students who finished unpaid internships, and then check out some of the solutions schools are offering to assure all students are paid for their work.

Come on, guys.

I think they’ve got a case, or at least a really good complaint: “USC sues YouTubers over disruptive prank videos.” I feel so awful for the students in these classes.


Love this piece from Nieman Lab: “Journalism at small liberal arts colleges shouldn’t be inaccessible.” The subhead says it all: “Some student newspaper positions — especially editorial ones — at many liberal arts colleges are unpaid, which perpetuates the continued overrepresentation of upper-middle class, often white, reporters.”

Headlines about higher ed

Great journalism to share with your students

Diversity, equity and inclusion

Internship Database

This week, we’re featuring an internship with the Freedom of the Press Foundation/U.S. Press Freedom Tracker, which is either remote or in New York. The listing says, “The ideal candidate will have an interest in press freedom issues and will spend the bulk of the internship researching and reporting for publication.”

Check out our continuously evolving internship database (improvements coming this summer!) for more paid opportunities for your students.

This week’s Professor’s Press Pass

John Oliver at the 73rd Emmy Awards in 2021. (Photo by Vince Bucci/Invision for Sterling Vineyards/AP Images)

In this week’s Professor’s Press Pass, we asked students to watch a “Last Week Tonight” clip and discuss the intersection of journalism and comedy. Can journalism be funny and still count as journalism?

Bonus case study (because I couldn’t resist): This story, and how anonymous sources should be considered against the backdrop of political party pressure and the voters’ right to know about their representatives.

One last thing

Well, crap.

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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