Handing out papers builds overall awareness of the product

— and motivates rack pickups

By David Simpson
Director of Student Media
Georgia Southern University


If you want a college student to read a newspaper, hand it to her.
That may not sound profound, but it’s the most important lesson I’ve learned about circulation at two colleges where I’ve worked.

DavidSimpson

David Simpson of Georgia Southern University enjoying the New York tabloid experience while attending the National College Media Convention. Photo by Sabastian Wee.

At Georgia Southern University, we were printing 3,500 copies of The George-Anne newspaper on Tuesdays and 4,500 on Thursdays (for an enrollment of about 20,000) in January 2014. On some days, a large chunk of those papers remained on racks until they were recycled.

In spring 2015, we printed 5,500 copies on both Tuesday and Thursdays.Returns on a bad day were around 10 percent. The difference was the Street Team.

Eight students on a modest stipend worked two-hour shifts just standing at a busy spot and saying, “Hi, have a newspaper.” Every Tuesday and Thursday, they put 2,800 papers directly into the hands of students. (OK, every now and then there was a problem, but when we were fully staffed and doing it correctly, all those papers were handed out.) Continue reading

CMR’s Research Annual available for download

College Media focus of research activities

College Media Review’s Research Annual is now available for download from this site.

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CLICK IMAGE to download

Volume 52 for CMR contains peer-reviewed research relating to college media and its practitioners that was published by the College Media Review (CMReview.org) during the 2014-2015 Academic Year.

To download a copy of this volume, CLICK HERE.

For previous editions of the Research Annual, see the “Archive” link at the top of the home page.

 

Research (Vol. 52) Do college students want to see political news in their newspaper?

Campus Readership Habits

Jeffrey B. Hedrick, Ph.D.
Jacksonville State University


The future of print newspapers is a topic for discussion due to declining circulation numbers over time, as online news consumption rose sharply in recent years, coupled with the costs and technological challenges of the rapid advance of the mobile era (Sasseen, Olmstead, & Mitchell, 2013). Some publishers have decreased their fulltime staff, while larger papers have eliminated bureaus in hot news zones. Several daily newspapers with high circulation numbers in one Southern state (Alabama) have in fact reduced their publication frequency, eliminating at least one day and as many as four days. The Anniston Star no longer prints a Monday edition, while the Huntsville Times and Birmingham News have eliminated their Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday print editions. Those who work with students in college media are challenged by survey findings that indicate the job market for 2013 communication graduates seeking employment has “stalled,” unfavorable findings recruitment-wise for programs in general (Becker, Vlad, & Simpson, 2014, 1).

Jeffrey Hedrick

Jeffrey Hedrick

University newspapers have also been affected by economic conditions and socio-cultural changes as well (Craven, 2013). Educational revenue is unpredictable and undependable, particularly in southern states like Alabama that practice “proration,” the process of making mid-year budget cuts (Public Education in Alabama After Desegregation). States are spending about 28 percent less on higher education than they did in 2008, with Alabama spending 39.8 percent less per student (6th highest cut) over the past six fiscal years: FY08 to FY13 (Oliff, Johnson, & Leachman, 2013). These conditions are prompting student media advisers nation-wide to explore ways to make ends meet and maintain circulation numbers. Continue reading

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.

TheWoodWord_Wotanis

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

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

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.

New York trip kids

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

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

Prevention of college media adviser firings

No foolproof methods, but steps, resources to consider

Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series.

By Jody Kleinberg Biehl
University at Buffalo


The recent firings of three college newspaper advisers are a sobering reminder of how fragile newspaper advising jobs can be. Often advisers are not tenured faculty, but have renewable yearly contracts that can be denied at the whim of administrators unhappy about student coverage.

WilliamFYurasko2385674185_a0c78d36dd_bThis, said, Chris Evans, CMA adviser advocate chair, makes advisers vulnerable. Some – like recently fired Cheryl Reed of Northern Michigan — have come to believe that untenured faculty should not take advising jobs because it puts them too much at risk. Evans himself, said his job at the University of Vermont is on a contract basis, but he regularly takes steps to protect himself.

What are some of those steps? What can advisers who want to push their students to be tough journalists, but who also want to make sure they keep their jobs do? Continue reading

Advisers under fire (and fired)

Advisers, students fighting spate of adviser firings in six months

Illustration by Sean MacEntee via Creative Commons

Illustration by Sean MacEntee via Creative Commons

Editor’s note: This is the first of two parts. The next story will focus on strategies for developing campus educational initiatives in support of First Amendment and student voices.

By Jody Kleinberg Biehl
University at Buffalo


Three college media advisers been fired in the past six months – a spate Frank LoMonte, executive director of the Student Press Law Center, calls “one of the worst stretches I can remember.”

Cheryl Reed from Northern Michigan University, James Compton of Muscatine Community College in Iowa, and Patricia Roberts of Delta State University in Mississippi, have all lost positions as student media advisers since November.

And all of them – along with their students — are fighting back. Continue reading

Redesign one way to leave mark on media

Guided questions focus on orderly process

(Editor’s note: A few years ago they were running college newsrooms. As they begin their careers, college media alums now in the profession reflect on their collegiate experiences in this periodic series.)


By Shasta Langenbacher
Special to College Media Review

Every group of students wants to put its own mark on the campus paper. For my tenure as a student managing editor, our team’s mark was updating the paper completely.

Illustration: Creative Commons, Joan M. Has

Illustration: Creative Commons, Joan M. Has

With recent technological advances, students have turned to making a splash on Twitter or getting a story to go viral. But without a graphically appealing paper, it’s even less likely anyone will pick up a paper and stay in tune if it’s nothing but a gray mass splattered on a broadsheet, disconnected from any references to the digital world. Keeping your printed copy visually up to date is vital for securing advertising, as it lets companies know you’re serious about your commitment to all forms of journalism, not just reacting to the next trend in your content and design.

With Internet encroaching on printed pieces of newspaper journalism, it’s more important than ever to incorporate interesting tidbits to accompany a story, whether it’s a teaser to a YouTube page, or to add a tagline to advertise a reporter’s Twitter feed to answer questions on a story. Readers are multi-platform today, and if a student reporter does not learn to design for this now, they will be doomed in the industry. Continue reading