Surviving Sandy, other storms and a flood–and getting the college paper out
By Carolyn Schurr Levin
One of the most important, albeit seemingly routine, tasks of a college newspaper staff is the physical act of getting the newspaper out.
But what happens when a crisis hits, as it did when Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast, only to be followed the following week by a nor’easter?
Among the college newspapers hit by Hurricane Sandy were the Pioneer, the weekly student newspaper at Long Island University Post in Brookville, N.Y., and the College Voice at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey. The College Voice publishes every three weeks.
In anticipation of the forecasted strong winds and hurricane conditions, Long Island University Post cancelled all classes on Monday, Oct. 29. Administrators encouraged students who could to evacuate the dormitories and return home. Approximately 600 students remained in the dorms during the storm.
From professional reporters and editors to professional advisers: Veteran advisers share their stories
By Alexa Capeloto John Jay College of Criminal Justice/CUNY
Jake Lowary says he loves advising The All State student newspaper and Monocle yearbook at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tenn. But he recalls “a definite learning curve” moving from professional newspaper reporter to college media adviser nearly two years ago.
The curve can feel steep when reporters and editors become advisers.
On one hand, working with college media can feel like a natural extension of a journalism career. You pass on all the things you learned as a journalist to future generations, and stay connected to news production via a student newspaper, online publication or broadcast station.
On the other hand, professional journalists may have far less experience developing budgets, helping students craft media bylaws and attending campus meetings as an adviser and/or faculty member rather than as a reporter covering the meetings.
An Examination of the State of College Newspapers in a Turbulent Time
By Lisa Lyon Payne Virginia Wesleyan College
Abstract: This paper provides an initial investigation of the current state of the college newspapers among liberal arts schools in the southeast. An online survey using both open and closed-ended questions examines variables such as method and frequency of publication, use of advertising and online presence. Only 37.5% of respondents reported having a journalism program at their institution, and those who contributed to the student newspaper came from majors ranging from biology to philosophy. While a full 100% of respondents reported having advertising in their college newspapers, about one-third of respondents reported they did not have an online edition of the paper. Most publications were fewer than 10 pages and did have a faculty adviser to the publication. Of the schools that participated, a majority said there is no class credit associated with their publications. Also of interest, just more than half of respondents stated staff writers receive some form of compensation for their contributions to the publication; where this compensation comes from varies.
What do Twitter, the iPad and a campus newspaper have in common? Current literature suggests that all three are a preferred communication choice for many of today’s college students (The Washington Times, March 8, 2012). Despite the slow and agonizing decline of traditional newspapers, research indicates that even in this modern, wireless world of communication, many college students gravitate toward the print version of their campus newspaper over an electronic version. Additionally, despite the woes of the traditional news daily, many student newspapers appear to be weathering the storm with fewer economic troubles (Keller 2008, Supiano 2012).
Newsrooms at liberal arts schools tend to reflect the diverse backgrounds of the students
By Lisa Lyon Payne Virginia Wesleyan College
A recent study of the current state of the college newspapers among liberal arts schools in the Southeast found that fewer than 40 percent of the editors at the Phi Beta Kappa institutions surveyed have a journalism program at their institution. Those students who contribute to their student newspapers come from a range of majors, including biology, philosophy, English, economics, American studies and international affairs.
It’s not uncommon for liberal arts institutions that do offer journalism majors to either require or strongly encourage students to double major.
Four noteworthy First Amendment cases for college media in 2012
By Frank D. LoMonte
Executive Director, Student Press Law Center
With the 25th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark Hazelwood ruling approaching on Jan. 13, the College Media Review asked the Student Press Law Center’s executive director, Frank D. LoMonte, to take stock of the state of free expression rights on college campuses –which, as LoMonte notes, “is a frequent source of litigation, as courts try to make sense of a shifting and sometimes muddled area of First Amendment law.”
During 2012, courts decided four particularly noteworthy cases directly bearing on the legal rights of student journalists and bloggers – including one especially significant case recognizing that the Constitution can protect advisers as well as students against retaliation by public institutions.
Book is both moving memoir and fascinating journey into U.S. history
Written by Belva Davis, with Vicki Haddock
Review by Carolyn Schurr Levin
To describe Belva Davis’ book simply as a memoir by the first black female news anchor in the United States is to ignore the inspiration and history lesson that this incredible book provides. Davis takes us on a journey, from her birth in 1932 in deeply segregated Monroe, La., during the Great Depression, through a lifetime filled with an uncanny ability to overcome obstacles and surpass even her own expectations, to the 21st century, when she has been honored with accolades and awards, including eight local Emmys and Lifetime Achievement Awards from the National Association of Black Journalists and the Northern California Television Academy. Her odyssey can only be described as extraordinary. Although it may not have been her intent when she set out to tell her story, Davis’ memoir surely can inspire young journalists to take on bigger, even seemingly insurmountable challenges, both professional and social.
Davis’ memories of her childhood are filled with sadness. Because her mother, a 14- year-old laundress earning $4 a week, and her father, also a teenager without formal education, working at a local sawmill, were unable to care for her, she became, in her words, “portable – rather like an old suitcase that they would pass from place to place.” Her family fled the racism of the Deep South and headed for Oakland, Calif., as part of the Second Great Migration west during World War II. In California, unfortunately, life was not all that much easier for Davis. She describes how, as both a black and a Southerner, she confronted prejudice in school. She lived in projects. She suffered from neglect and abuse. She describes a home “overstuffed with people but lacking in affection.”
‘You just never know what is going to grab interest’
By Pat Winters Lauro
Drake University student Rachel Weeks was midway through spring semester when a blog post she wrote for a magazine writing course about turning a T-shirt into a tank top hit Internet gold – 60,000 hits.
“She posted a picture to Pinterest and it just exploded,” said Jill Van Wyke, assistant professor at Drake’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Des Moines. “It was eye-opening. You just never know what is going to grab interest.”
Now that even the Pulitzer Prize has been bestowed on a blog — The Huffington Post for investigative journalism — it begs the question: what makes a good blog?
First, blogging is not journalism; it’s a delivery system. Many blogs are promotional in nature or advocacy blogs, an important distinction for students. But within the profession, what makes a good journalistic blog depends on the type of blog it is, which can be as different as the sports page is from the op-ed page in a newspaper. Still, Weeks’ post, the blog equivalent of a service feature, possessed common blog elements that resonated with its audience: it was concise, targeted a specific audience and it was interactive.
How can the journal better serve you and take advantage of the online format?
In my previous, inaugural column, I asked y’all for payback—that is, to give back to the journal for all the ways it has helped you out by contributing to the journal. The response so far has been wonderful. Thanks to your efforts and some good corralling by Managing Editor Debra Landis, we’ve gotten numerous good submissions, with six good articles, a book review and a research article in this issue, with more to come in January. Keep them coming!