Teaching journalism beyond our newsrooms

On educating non-journalism students, colleagues, and administrators about 1A, the role of the campus press and media advisers

By Lindsey Wotanis, Ph.D.
Marywood University

Cheryl Reed, former adviser of The North Wind, the student newspaper at North Michigan University, is the latest casualty in war between College Administrations and the First Amendment. Just a few months earlier, it was Jim Compton, former adviser of The Calumet at Muscatine Community College in Iowa.

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In five years of advising Marywood University’s student newspaper, The Wood Word, I’d never once received a phone call asking me to “rethink” something until…

At a time when colleges and universities around the country are facing enrollment crises, student newspapers that publish less-than-favorable stories about their campuses are seen by administrators as ‘problems’ that need handling. So are their advisers, who are often also faculty members. Sadly, the solutions to the problems are usually censorship or termination of the media advisers.

Reports have suggested that at Northern Michigan, Reed and the student in line for the editor-in-chief position were fired after the student newspaper published reports critical of the administration and of the university’s finances. Reed has since filed suit against the newspaper’s board of directors. The suit names five students and Steve Neiheisel, the university’s vice president for enrollment management and student services, whom Reed claims influenced the students to terminate her.

“Colleges and universities need to foster an open environment where student media outlets are free from interference, even from publication boards,” said College Media Association (CMA) President Rachele Kanigel in an email to members about the case. “There are many ways to bully student media and removing an adviser is simply that: bullying.” Continue reading Teaching journalism beyond our newsrooms

Convergence can work…

… it just might take three years

By Steven Chappell
Director of Student Publications
Northwest Missouri State University


We have spent the past three years working hard to converge our student media operations, which include a yearbook, newspaper, radio station and TV station.
 
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Make the newspaper’s printing a cause for celebration for the whole media family in a Student Media Day.

Part of that process has been convincing the students that it is in their best interests to work together and cross media to better position themselves for employment post-graduation.

We’ve worked on several initiatives in that time, but the most effective has been our Student Media Day, which coincides with the weekly printing of our student newspaper, The Missourian.

Continue reading Convergence can work…

Story is story, regardless of medium

There are more similarities than differences

By Andrea Frantz
Adviser, KBVU 97.5 FM The Edge
Buena Vista University

I’m not sure where to start with ‘lessons learned’ during this past academic year because 2014-15 has really been about redefining my advising identity. In some ways, becoming the adviser to a radio station after a career of student newspaper advising feels like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole, professionally speaking.

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Andrea Frantz (in the shades) with students from Buena Vista University at the New York College Media Association convention in spring 2015.

Why the change? My university has navigated the turbulent waters of the four-year, residential campus enrollment reality better than most. But it has still been forced to re-evaluate how it prioritizes budget choices.

So, like others across the nation, we’ve seen our share of belt-tightening. When a colleague announced his retirement last year, we knew immediately that his line wouldn’t be replaced, and the four Musketeers running our digital media department would morph to just three in 2015-16. This meant not only that I’d take on new preps in photography and audio, but that I’d also assume the reigns of our FCC-licensed radio station. Continue reading Story is story, regardless of medium

Advisers should teach, nudge, offer advice and listen

… But allow students to lead

By Chris Poore
Adviser, The Kentucky Kernel
University of Kentucky
 


It’s not about you.

I learned that early in this job, and I’ve been reminded of it often.

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Chris Poore, adviser of The Kentucky Kernel, the student newspaper at the University of Kentucky, also has a farm business where he delivers eggs door-to-door in downtown Lexington. The Poore Farm sign was a gift from students and presented by Becca Clemons and Rachel Aretakis, two former editors, seen it the photograph with Poore.

I would even advise you to put that phrase on your wall.

It would remind you that each time you get a complaint you should listen, but then make sure students talk to the complainer and resolve the problems themselves. It would remind you that when students make mistakes, you should offer suggestions but make sure the solutions for dealing with those mistakes come from them. And when there are problems on staff, it would remind you to offer your advice but make sure students are driving toward the resolution. Continue reading Advisers should teach, nudge, offer advice and listen