Let your content be your guide with design

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Content drives design. Always.

By Patrick Armstrong
Austin Peay State University

When I first started working in the Nashville Design Studio in 2012, there was an art display that always caught my eye. It was an old newspaper rack door that said “Content Drives Design” and was located in our studio meeting space. You could not miss it. Still to this day, I reflect on it with any design work I do, and any advice I give to my students.

The photos were powerful and really told the story. But the story was the rain stopping for a period of time before more arriving. A few issues before this — when the flooding started — the content called for the photos to be full page and dominate coverage. The content booked for this page dictated this design because it was just a normal news day.

As a designer, I always love viewing bold, powerful art that encourages readers to pick up the newspaper. It’s my belief that interesting and dynamic art such as illustrations and photography will be the reason why someone chooses to pick up a newspaper or not.

It’s in an artist’s DNA to go big, be bold, create something unique and tell a story. But do we always have to blow an idea out on a page to where it’s the only art on the page or runs the full width of a page? The answer is “no.”

Continue reading Let your content be your guide with design

Photographers document ‘Gateway to the South’

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College Media Shoot-Out 2018

The cool weather and drizzle didn’t stop 29 photographers from submitting images in Louisville as part of the annual Photo Shoot-out for college photojournalists.

Andrew Walter of Eastfield College said, “I liked how free the theme was in that as long as you believed your image fit the theme of ‘Gateway to the South,’ you could capture an image of anything you found newsworthy.”

Zahn Schultz of Central Washington University said, “It challenges participants to think critically and put the skills they have learned into a new and unfamiliar environment. It’s also a ton of fun, getting to explore a new city and find new and different perspectives camera in hand is an absolute blast.” Continue reading Photographers document ‘Gateway to the South’

Research (Vol. 55): Bullied on Twitter

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An Ethical Analysis of the Trump Effect on Student Media 

Brittany Fleming, Ph.D.
Slippery Rock University

Mark Zeltner, Ph.D.
Slippery Rock University

Cody Nespor, B.S.
University of West Virginia

Abstract: On March 31, 2018, a Pennsylvania state representative used Twitter to confront and challenge the ethics of a student journalist, tweeting “…and then there is the “Editor in Chief” of the student blog/paper @CodyNesporSRU who pushes a lib agenda and [is] a horrible writer” to the feeds of his 5,500+ Twitter followers. Closely resembling the social media etiquette of President Donald Trump, or what we will refer to as the Trump Effect, this post caught the attention of not only the student journalist mentioned in the tweet, but student media advisers and professional journalists across the country. Unfortunately, this type of behavior is becoming more common in our society and student journalists need a framework for dealing with similar issues.

Using a modified version of the Potter Box created by Loy D. Watley (2014) as an analytical framework, this case study examines the aforementioned student journalist’s ethical action and response to the state representative’s tweet. Alternative outcomes to this specific situation will be discussed, as well as recommendations on how to handle the Trump Effect in the future, without harming the reputation of the journalist. Continue reading Research (Vol. 55): Bullied on Twitter

Book Review: Bunk by Kevin Young

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The Rise of Hoaxes, Humbug, Plagiarists, Phonies, Post-Facts, and Fake News

Book By Kevin Young


Reviewed by Carolyn Schurr Levin

You can be forgiven if the barrage of fake news, accusations of fake news, threats of fake news, and disputes about fake news have sent your head spinning for the past year or two. Since the term fake news has invaded our national conversation only relatively recently, it is entirely understandable to desire to take a step back and learn more about the phenomenon and how we got to where we are. Continue reading Book Review: Bunk by Kevin Young

CMA launches student media research program

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Kickoff set for Louisville conference

By Kelly Messinger

At the ACP/CMA conference in Louisville, CMA will launch its student research program.

Many students conduct some kind of undergraduate capstone experience in media, and that experience could earn a student an Apple Award at the New York City convention in March.

“Student research has been shown to be a high-impact educational practice,” said Kelly Messinger, committee member and adviser at Capital University. “We want to acknowledge traditional and non-traditional kinds of scholarship. Elizabeth R. Smith, Lisa Lyon Payne and I are looking forward to seeing projects students will be submitting. We welcome anyone who wants to help.”

The session, “Grow Your Academic Mullet and Get Rewards: CMA’s Call for Undergrad Research” at 3:30 p.m. Oct. 26 will fill everyone in on the details. The research must pertain to current issues in media and be produced from July 1, 2017 through Dec. 31, 2018.

“A student research initiative by College Media Association is probably long overdue,” said Kenna Griffin, CMA president elect and professor at Oklahoma City University. “Working with students to produce worthwhile academic research is a huge part of what many of our members do. Having a way for students to share their research findings makes sense. I’m excited to see the quality of work we will receive and look forward to watching students present at our New York convention.”

A January 2019 deadline for projects will be announced. Nontraditional research, such as a documentary, would need an accompanying academic paper.

College Media Celebrate Free Speech

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Constitution Day is Sept. 17

By Ted Petersen
Florida Tech

The Florida Tech Crimson has hosted “Free Speech Day” for the past seven years. As Constitution Day approaches, other colleges might learn from the inexpensive and successful program at Florida Tech.

About six months into my role as adviser to the Crimson, the student-run newspaper at my private university, I learned something new—the Crimson is a free press. Continue reading College Media Celebrate Free Speech

College Media Boot Camp Basics

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The Five Ws of College Media Training

By Kelley Lash
Rice University

While the temperature outside might not seem to agree, fall is coming, and so are our students. Whether you work with a lab publication, just one or two media, or an entire group of outlets, one of the most important things you can do to serve your students is to set up some kind of training boot camp.

Like anything else in college media, the approach will vary, as you can see in this piece from CMR in 2013. This updated version will focus on the core five Ws and H of college media boot camp: whom are you serving, what will you cover, where should you hold it, when will it have the greatest impact, why it matters and how you can pull it all off.

The most important thing to remember is that training must suit your needs and, most importantly, the needs of your students. No single approach works for everyone, but paying attention to the core questions will help you develop something that sets you up for success in the coming year. Continue reading College Media Boot Camp Basics

Review: The Basics of Media Writing: A Strategic Approach

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Text by Scott Kuehn and Andrew Lingwall offers a coaching approach tailored to its readers

Reviewed by Carol Terracina-Hartman, CMR Managing Editor

“The Basics of Media Writing: A Strategic Approach” takes results from writing faculty surveys, writing student surveys, qualitative interviews with media professionals and adds some classical rhetoric to offer a strategy-based introductory media writing textbook. Research and rhetoric are a tall order for an introductory textbook, especially one that’s  not dry, dated, and completely out of context for the millennial generation. But, authors Scott A. Kuehn and James Andrew Lingwall argue, they are taking aim at a modern medium and updating the methods by which professors teach as they offer strategic writing models for students to follow.

The Basics of Media Writing published by CQ Press Sage Publishing, ISBN 9781506308104.

In short, the authors, both professors of communication at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, crafted a textbook designed to get students thinking strategically about their writing, from approach through to publication.

“Millennials are not approaching writing the same way you and I would,” Lingwall said. “With these three research studies – and the textbooks rooted in the ’80s and ’90s seem so tired. We wanted to punch up content with a [coaching] approach: ‘you can do it.’”

Continue reading Review: The Basics of Media Writing: A Strategic Approach

Interns offer advice for copy editors

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Preparing students for their summer jobs as multi-platform editors

By Bradley Wilson
CMR Managing Editor

Twenty-one years ago, a senior lecturer at the University of Texas, Griff Singer, recognized a need, a need to train copy editors. Together with Rich Holden, then executive director of the Dow Jones News Fund, they created the Center for Editing Excellence to train interns. They all received two weeks of training before they set foot at media outlets such as Newsday, the Houston Chronicle, the Beaumont Enterprise, Stars and Stripes, the Dallas Morning News or, as the profession has evolved, worked in copy editing centers such as Gatehouse’s Center for News & Design, or for online media such as Buzzfeed.

Over time, they’ve continued to focus on the different levels of editing:

  • LEVEL 1 — law, ethics, appropriate sources, different angles; edit upon conceptualization
  • LEVEL 2 — organization, design, enough reporting; edit with drafts and rewriting
  • LEVEL 3 — grammar, spelling, punctuation, style; edit at the last minute

In the last few years, the students have added to their skills in headline writing, trimming news briefs and designing pages and learn more about embedding video and best practices for Twitter. While now the training is only 10 days, it is just as grueling. Students, mostly college juniors and seniors, spend their last three days producing a six-page newspaper, a website and social media in real time with real publication deadlines — the Southwest Journalist.

The training center at the UT-Austin is one of six centers, two focusing on editing and preparing interns for their summer jobs as multi-platform editors. The other four, now led by Linda Shockey, managing director of the Dow Jones News Fund, focus on business reporting, data journalism or digital media.

Before they left each of the interns in Austin offered some advice for other copy editors. Here is their advice. Continue reading Interns offer advice for copy editors

Review: Hate: Why We Should Resist It With Free Speech, Not Censorship

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Nadine Strossen’s book on free speech arrives at precisely the right time

Reviewed by Carolyn Schurr Levin

These are perilous times for free speech on college campuses. So many invited speakers are being “uninvited” because of their disfavored views that the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) maintains a database of “Disinvitation Attempts.” Students have faced expulsion and faculty members have faced punishment, including dismissal, for talks, online posts, or otherwise expressing disfavored views. College newspapers have been forced to apologize for stories or advertisements labeled as offensive “hate speech.” Some have experienced the theft of newspapers from their racks. And college media advisers are increasingly fearful for their own jobs and the very existence of their media outlets due to their publication of content that might be perceived as unpopular or unwelcome.

Enter Nadine Strossen at precisely the right time with her consequential new book, Hate: Why We should Resist It With Free Speech, Not Censorship. Strossen, a professor of constitutional law at New York Law School and a former president of the American Civil Liberties Union, provides needed elucidation about the grossly misunderstood concept of “hate speech,” not just on college campuses, but in our larger society. Strossen dispels the notion that “hate speech” is not free speech and she vehemently argues that the remedy for speech that might seem harmful to some eyes is more, not less, speech.

Continue reading Review: Hate: Why We Should Resist It With Free Speech, Not Censorship