Research (Vol. 56) Plagiarism in College Media

Is plagiarism a problem? Is there a solution?

By Carolyn Schurr Levin
with the research assistance of Paola Guzman

Introduction

The article raised red flags immediately. The topic was studying tips for final exams. The student writers on the staff love pitching this type of “list” assignment. The stories do not entail a lot of investigative reporting and are relatively easy to write. The school newspaper [1] publishes them routinely. But, this one didn’t sound right to the faculty adviser, when she read it as part of her weekly newspaper laboratory course [2]. The story included sentences like, “Leave yourself ample time.” The adviser’s students simply did not use the word “ample.” So, she plugged the story into a free online plagiarism checker, something that she does not routinely do when she reads stories written by the students in her class. Within minutes, she found the blog post that the story was copied from, essentially verbatim.

The adviser emailed the student, a senior broadcasting major poised to graduate from college in a mere few weeks, and asked her to stop by the adviser’s office before class the following morning. The student inquired in her email response about the purpose of the meeting. The adviser told her that she had some concerns about the story submitted that week.

The adviser and the student met the next morning in the adviser’s office. The adviser showed the student her story, side-by-side with the blog from which it had been copied, with the identical paragraphs highlighted in yellow. The student looked at both, wide eyed, and said unflinchingly, “We can’t do that?”[3]

Continue reading “Research (Vol. 56) Plagiarism in College Media”

College Student-Run News Entities and Communications Agencies

Finding Solidarity in the Era of ‘Blame the Media’

By Doug Swanson
California State University, Fullerton

Being a journalism or broadcast educator was never an easy job. These days, under the shadow of ‘fake news’ and amidst the widely-promoted claim that journalists are ‘enemies of the people,’ the work can seem immensely more difficult. The rewards can seem more elusive.

College media advisers are educators who teach students to become responsible citizens in a noisy world in which a multitude of media so persuasively point in the opposite direction. Regardless of the specific media entity advisers work with, there are common opportunities and challenges. College student-produced publications and broadcast operations have much in common with the quickly expanding population of student-run communications agencies. There’s much we can learn from each other. We must work together to strengthen our educational presence and show clearly our public value in these tumultuous times. Continue reading “College Student-Run News Entities and Communications Agencies”

Research (Vol. 56): The Best Medium for the Story

A Case Study of Integrated Student Media

By Patrick Howe and Brady Teufel

Abstract

This study explores the quantifiable and cultural changes that occurred at one large college student media outlet during the five years after it combined several distinct media to form a fully “integrated” newsroom. The study draws on participant observation, in-depth interviews, examinations of web and social media analytics and written analysis performed by student leaders to identify key objectives and outcomes. It explores obstacles, both cultural and technological, that arose, and it identifies opportunities for other college media to serve audiences using a similar approach.

Continue reading “Research (Vol. 56): The Best Medium for the Story”

Undergrad research panel to be launched at NY conference

Papers Accepted until Feb. 1

The College Media Association is accepting submissions by undergraduate students of original, non-published traditional and nontraditional research in the form of either abstracts or research papers on current media issues. Papers will undergo a blind review process, and top research will be presented at the 2019 College Media Association convention in New York March 6-9.

Submission deadline is Feb. 1. The eligible period is for work between July 1, 2017 to Dec. 31, 2018.

Abstracts should be between 250 and 500 words. Full papers should be no longer than 25 pages, excluding references, tables and appendices. If accepted, full papers are due by Feb. 18. Papers may have multiple student authors and only be student work.

Papers are welcome on any topic that addresses current media issues. Nontraditional research, such as films, enterprise projects, web content, and performance works are acceptable but must have an abstract. Submissions from all theoretical and methodological perspectives are invited. Continue reading “Undergrad research panel to be launched at NY conference”

Increased incidents and hate crimes pose challenges for student journalists

Up Next:  An action plan and resources on how to improve diversity opportunities in campus newsrooms. Coming next Tuesday in CMR.

Covering Bigotry on Campus

By Rachele Kanigel

San Francisco State University

Matthew Enfinger, editor-in-chief of The George-Anne at Georgia Southern University, reads the newspaper’s special issue exploring the campus community’s responses to the N-word. (Special to CMR)

Last summer, before they even met, two roommates at Georgia Southern University introduced themselves and started chatting over text. It all seemed friendly until one young woman, who is White*, inadvertently wrote this to her soon-to-be roommate, who is Black:

Her insta looks pretty normal not too nig—ish.

The message was intended for a third roommate who was assigned to share the room with them. Mortified, the woman who sent the text immediately apologized.

“OMG I am so sorry! Holy crap,” she wrote. “I did NOT mean to say that. … I meant to say triggerish meaning like you seemed really cool nothing that triggered a red flag. I’m so embarrassed I apologize.”

But the apology didn’t stop the text conversation from going viral. Before long screenshots of the exchange were all over social media.

Matthew Enfinger, editor-in-chief of The George-Anne, the student newspaper at Georgia Southern University, recognized the incident as a news story, but also as an opportunity to delve into the deeper issues it represented.

Continue reading “Increased incidents and hate crimes pose challenges for student journalists”

The art of branding and marketing college media

Shorthorn marketing team: two members of the marketing team, Javeria Arshad and Matt Weseman handing out copies of The Shorthorn on campus. (Photo: Adam Drew)

There’s an art to many aspects of marketing

By Debra Chandler Landis

Students at Messiah College in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, didn’t seem as engaged—or interested—in The Pulse, a student-run media hub comprised  of a website, magazine, yearbook and radio station as the student journalists wanted to see.

Pulse branding literally can fly through the air.

Copies of the magazine, published three times a semester, remained on racks. The website, regularly updated with new content, wasn’t generating the anticipated conversations. Response to freebies with The Pulse logo was lackluster.

Something needed to change, Pulse staffers said, and adviser Ed Arke encouraged them to see what they could do.

The students embarked on a rebranding and marketing campaign in spring 2018 that found them designing a new logo, overhauling The Pulse website, and creating new Pulse posters and brochures that were in place when fall 2018 classes started.

The work is paying off. Continue reading “The art of branding and marketing college media”

Sympathy for the Devil (Almost)

The latest journalism scandal evokes memories of the man in the street

By Michael Ray Taylor
Henderson State University

On Nov. 8, after a lengthy investigation, the Houston Chronicle retracted eight articles written by political reporter Mike Ward. Many of the people quoted in these articles appear to have been invented. Ward, who joined the paper in 2014 after a long stint at the Austin American-Statesman, resigned in the wake of the accusations after they surfaced in September.

While a far cry from the journalistic norm President Trump would have us believe, fake quotes from fake people have become all too familiar. From the famous cases of Janet Cooke, Jason Blair and Stephen Glass to more recent transgressions discovered at The Intercept and CNN, some “journalists” have in fact chosen to invent people rather than interview them.

As a journalist for over 30 years, I deplore any act reducing press credibility at a time when journalists face daily attacks from the President. As a journalism professor, I worry about the ever-decreasing number of students willing to consider our maligned career. How, I wonder, can I promote ethical behavior in an age of shock radio and Russian trolls, especially when even prominent professionals take heinous shortcuts? Continue reading “Sympathy for the Devil (Almost)”

Perfect gifts for the Student Media research nerd in us all

College Media Review Black Friday doorbuster

Peer reviewed research for sale

College Media Review has slashed prices for its entire library collection of research annuals by 50 percent. At $5 per volume (plus shipping and handling), these beautifully bound annuals make perfect stocking stuffers for the college media research nerds in your life.

Peer-reviewed manuscripts covering topics such as teaching media accuracy, developing tools for cross-cultural student journalism and understanding the Trump effect on student media are included in the 2018 volume, but the price extends to all research annuals dating back to 2012.

This offer extends through the end of the year.

Order here.

P.S. No actual doors were harmed in this Doorbuster special.

 

 

Let your content be your guide with design

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”

Research (Vol. 55): Bullied on Twitter

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”