Research (Vol. 58): Freedom of Information in College

How student journalists learn to file public records requests

By Katherine Fink
Pace University
kfink@pace.edu

Abstract: This interview-based study examines the experiences of college journalists who have filed freedom of information (FOI) requests. Sixteen college journalists were asked about specific public-records requests they filed and their feelings about FOI in general. This study finds that college journalists generally learned how to file FOI requests not in the classroom, but rather from their peers. Students filed requests that tended to seek records from their home institutions rather than from other agencies. College journalists were generally optimistic about the potential of FOI to yield newsworthy information, despite that many of their requests went nowhere. College journalists also believed their status as students put them at a disadvantage. Finally, some students recognized that the outcomes of requests were highly situational, based on the records officers handling them.

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Research (Vol. 58): What’s in an Editorial Frame?

How Award-Winning Student Newspaper Editorials Framed COVID-19

By Brittany L. Fleming
and Emily A. Dolan
Slippery Rock University

Abstract: The current study explored the content of initial COVID-19 editorials from award-winning student newspapers across the country in an effort to understand how these editorials framed the issue. Using both qualitative and quantitative analyses, we found that top student newspapers framed the issue largely around morality and economic issues. Other frames were also employed (e.g., conflict), albeit to a lesser extent. Our analyses also provide details on the common language editorials employed within each frame and how frames were strategically employed across editorials. Our discussion provides an in-depth analysis of the structure of initial COVID-19 editorials and a framework for editorial reporting on crises in the future is proposed. Continue reading “Research (Vol. 58): What’s in an Editorial Frame?”

Survey: College media continue despite pandemic

‘State of College Media’ survey results.

Special to College Media Review

Ninety-four percent of college media outlets continued production during the COVID-19 pandemic amid campus shutdowns and restructuring operations to work virtually, according to the results of CMA’s 2020 benchmarking survey.

The fourth annual “State of College Media” survey provides a snapshot of what college media operations face and also identifies industry trends. Approximately 135 CMA members nationwide completed the survey, which was distributed electronically on June 4, 2020.

The survey was sent to all 635 CMA members. This yielded a 44% open rate and a 34% click through rate. A follow-up reminder on June 16 had a 41% open rate and a 20% click through rate. Results were released on June 26, 2020. With a total of 135 members participating, the overall response rate is 21%.

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Research (Vol. 57): Social Media Use and Yearbooks

How award winners deploy social media

By Robert Bergland

Northwest Missouri State University

Abstract: The Internet and social media have transformed all college media outlets, and the yearbook is no exception. But, while there have been some studies on the impact of these technologies on commercial and college newspapers, yearbooks have not received such scrutiny. This study of award-winning yearbooks attempts to shed light on how yearbooks are using social media to promote their events, their staffs and their content. Using the 22 yearbooks that have been named a finalist in the major competitions in the last three years, this paper examines the number of followers, the number of posts, the content of these posts and the follower response to those posts during the fall 2018 semester. Continue reading “Research (Vol. 57): Social Media Use and Yearbooks”

Diversity in college media — action plan and resources

Developing a Diversity and Inclusion Action Plan

By Rachele Kanigel

San Francisco State University

Keyshawn Housey (left) and Peter Egede (right) lead a march on Georgia Southern University’s campus on Oct. 19, 2018 to protest the university’s response to a student’s use of the N-word in a text correspondence with her assigned roommates. (Special to CMR) Click here for related story.

Want to improve your coverage of underrepresented communities and the issues that impact them?

Here’s an action plan and important resources to help you get your student media staff ready.

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A trio of unconventional convention sessions

Teaching mindsets instead of skills in Dallas

By Michael Koretzky

Having presented at CMA conventions for 12 years, I’ve learned as much as I’ve taught. The biggest lesson: Students seek survival skills more than technical skills. The reason is simple: Before they can excel, they must cope.

In other words, survival means gaining control of inner demons before mastering InDesign. Running a college news outlet is the most stressful extra-curricular activity on campus, for two big reasons:

  1. It’s the only one constantly on deadline, and deadlines equal stress. If Student Senate can’t meet quorum, who cares? But if the newspaper doesn’t print or post on time, there’s hell to pay.
  2. It’s the only one that hires anarchists on purpose. Reporters need to question authority, which means they tend to do so with their sources – and their bosses. Arguments in college newsrooms can easily escalate from professional to personal, because everyone is new at managing conflict.

That’s why three sessions at the newly rejuvenated CMA-ACP convention in Dallas impressed me so much. They had nothing to do with a particular skill and everything to do with a general approach to life…

Coffee with the Elderly

About 40 percent of college and university students are 25 or older, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. This statistic can make for interesting dynamics, especially in community college newsrooms: Oftentimes friction occurs when older students try to manage younger ones. And it’s even worse when younger editors supervise older staffers. Continue reading “A trio of unconventional convention sessions”

Smith heads CMA’s research panel

College Media research papers sought

By Lisa Lyon Payne
CMR Editor

Recently appointed CMA research chair, Elizabeth Smith, assistant professor of journalism and student media adviser at Pepperdine University, will organize two annual peer-reviewed research panels showcasing top scholarly research on all aspects of college media. Smith took her post in January 2018.

Elizabeth R. Smith

Smith says examining the various aspects of college media is critical in our role as advisers.

“I believe it is the responsibility of journalism faculty to produce high-quality research on topics most pertinent to college journalism and student journalists,” Smith said. “My own line of research has followed this passion, and I want to continue to encourage and support others to do so, as well.”

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Call for academic research papers

AEJMC, CMA panel showcases college media research

Each year at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) convention, the Council of Affiliates and College Media Association sponsor a panel where scholars present research on topics related to college media. The College Media Association is currently accepting submissions of original, non-published research on all aspects of college media and advising college media. Papers will undergo a blind review process, and top research will be presented Thursday, August 9, at the 2018 AEJMC Convention in Washington, DC (Aug. 6-9).

Submission deadline is April 1.

Top research will be presented at the 2018 AEJMC Convention in Washington, DC

Only full-length research papers are acceptable. Papers should include an abstract between 250 and 500 words. Full papers should be no longer than 25 pages, excluding references, tables and appendices. Continue reading “Call for academic research papers”

Payne assumes CMR editorship

“Invitation to get more involved in CMA.”

By Lisa Lyon Payne
CMR Editor

Four years ago, I received an email from then CMA President Rachele Kanigel with the subject line “Invitation to get more involved in CMA.”

The opportunity that followed, serving as CMA’s research chair, opened my eyes to the exciting and meaningful research our college media peers conduct, enhancing our lives as educators and advisers. Helping to cultivate and showcase the important works presented at the CMA academic research panels not only forged new relationships with my colleagues, but also strengthened a deep commitment to expanding and improving the body of knowledge in college media research. I am a research nerd at heart.

I am honored to have been chosen to serve as the new CMR editor, and I am looking forward to the challenge of building upon the great work of my predecessor, Debra Chandler Landis.

I currently chair the communication department at a small, liberal arts university where, along with my journalism and communication teaching responsibilities as an associate professor of communication, I advise The Marlin Chronicle, the student-run newspaper. Continue reading “Payne assumes CMR editorship”

Setting New Year’s resolutions can be a growth tool for college media

Workplaces can benefit from setting goals

By Debra Chandler Landis

New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for individuals. They’re for workplaces, too.

And, they can apply to college media’s news, business and advertising staffs.

December might not be the best time to ask college media staffs to set resolutions; their minds are on the last stories to report for the semester or quarter and the final projects to complete and exams to take.

However, resolution setting could be an excellent component of a back-to-school staff retreat or planning session for spring.

There are myriad possibilities for resolutions, which can serve to boost creativity, collegiality, job enjoyment, and overall production.

“The New Year is often seen as a chance to start fresh. These resolutions are probably easier to achieve than your new exercise plan….and more rewarding” is the headline for an article on the website, Inc., by Adam Heitzman, co-founder and managing partner of HigherVisibility. HigherVisiblity is a Tennessee-based agency that offers internet marketing services ranging from search engine optimization, pay per click management, affiliate marketing management, website design, social media marketing, and email marketing services.

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