Pinnacle Awards Recognize Excellence

Awards put the focus on student achievement

By Lisa Lyon Payne
CMR Editor

Each spring, our top writers, photographers and designers celebrate with caps and gowns, and we reflect on the impactful work they and their colleagues have produced. As advisers and their staff look back, consider recognizing them by submitting top content for the College Media Association’s Pinnacle Awards, which recognize both outstanding media organizations and individual work.

The deadline for all Pinnacle submissions is June 1.

Organizational Pinnacle Awards are free and open to any student media organization with an active member as an adviser. Categories include newspapers, websites, magazines, yearbooks, radio and television stations, and winners will be recognized at the Fall National College Media Convention in Louisville, KY. Individual award entries limit each school to one entry per category and cost $10 for members and $20 for non members.

More information can be found here.

Covering Suicide: Resources for College Journalists

Campus newsrooms need guidance, tools for covering ‘the most difficult story’

By Jena Heath
St. Edward’s University

It is a tragic fact that many college journalists will be faced with the challenge of covering the suicide of a classmate, team mate or dorm friend. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15-24-year-olds, accounting for 20 percent of all deaths annually, and the second leading cause of death among college students after accidents (CDC 2012). Professional newsrooms have long had policies in place regarding suicide coverage. These policies usually dictate that suicides committed in public places should be covered as new stories.

Unfortunately, these policies and the thinking behind them have not made their way with any consistency to college newsrooms, according to a study I conducted in 2014 with a former student, Brooke Blanton, who was Editor-in-Chief of the St. Edward’s University student news site (The Most Difficult Story: Covering Suicide on College Campuses, College Media Review, Vol 52, 2014-15).

What we found on the part of both student journalists and some advisers was confusion over how to walk the line between factual news coverage and fears of being perceived as insensitive or sensational. Some of this was the result of pressure, direct and indirect, from university administrators concerned about liability and public perception. Some was confusion over how to think about and cover death, especially of a peer.

As a result, a tendency to downplay suicide coverage, or not cover suicides at all, even those committed publicly, became evident in our interviews with both student journalists and advisers. This is unfortunate, as college journalists can play a key role in helping their campus communities gain a clearer, more accurate understanding of the causes of suicide. Continue reading Covering Suicide: Resources for College Journalists

Navigating Native Advertising in College Media

Sponsored content finding a niche in college media marketing

By Matthew Salzano
Pacific Lutheran University

Consumers of Colorado State’s Rocky Mountain Collegian recently learned how to build a bar. A Ft. Collin’s liquor store owner told a freshly 21-year-old student just what to buy — from his store! — to have a classier selection in a college home than just whatever beer was cheap that week. The landing page for the video is marked with bold text, declaring it “SPONSORED CONTENT.” Sponsored content is the long-form version of advertising content that is known as native advertising.

Native or Sponsored Advertising making an appearance in college media sites

Traditionally, ads stand out due to the difference in their form from editorial content—a quarter page ad looks different than a op-ed or reportage. With native advertising, however, the paid content looks like it natively inhabits to the platform it exists on: the liquor store video is only distinguishable from editorial video content due to that all-caps label.

The practice that was once only seen from large media outlets like Buzzfeed or the Guardian has made it to college newsrooms. Native advertising, especially creating sponsored content, poses challenges and opportunities for college newsrooms to educate and prepare students while serving clientele. Continue reading Navigating Native Advertising in College Media

Takeaway Messages From the Spring National College Media Convention

Why location is critical when planning a college media convention

By Kenna Griffin
Oklahoma City University

Location! Location! Location! I’ve heard it before, but I would not have believed how important location is when planning a college media convention until I saw it with my own eyes.

CMA’s spring national convention in New York was my first as a board member. I’ve seen evaluations for other collegiate media conventions and have been on planning committees, but I still was surprised how often location played into the feedback we received about #CMANYC18.

New York is an exciting, inspiring place, which was reflected in all of the positive comments about the convention’s location. Location is key, and several attendees said the convention being in New York was their favorite aspect of it. Airlines panicked about a winter storm that really wasn’t much, which caused some attendees travel problems, but the positive feedback was much greater than any grumbles about travel woes or expense of the city. Aside from feedback on the location itself, there were two specific areas of feedback in which it was important: 1) networking and 2) speakers. Continue reading Takeaway Messages From the Spring National College Media Convention

Don’t forget these end-of-the-year deadlines

Contests, awards recognize media achievements

By Carol Terracina Hartman, Ph.D.

Before everything gets archived and stowed away for the summer months, here are a few final tasks to add to the end-of-year items: nominate that Outstanding Adviser for CMA Award of Distinction, due May 1, and submit entries for Pinnacle Awards, due June 1.

College Media Association honors the contributions of advisers in a variety of capacities, including those at two-year newspapers, four-year newspapers, those who have advised less than five years (Honor Roll Adviser) and those with more than five years (Distinguished Adviser Award), and more.

The guidelines and complete the application form are found on the “Adviser Awards” link. Continue reading Don’t forget these end-of-the-year deadlines