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.
 
NWMU_Minions

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

Research (Vol. 52): Guiding principles in an age of instantaneous publication

College Students, Media Advisers Agree with Professionals Regarding Publication of Graphic Spot News Images

By Bradley Wilson, Ph.D.
Midwestern State University


BradleyWilson3

Bradley Wilson, Managing Editor College Media Review

Introduction – Professional photojournalists have been discussing what types of photos they should take and publish since the dawn of the profession. College media advisers and college photojournalists join that discussion more frequently as technology evolves. When dealing with basic photojournalistic ethics, the research and the abundance of prior literature provide a foundation for a discussion about what types of spot news photographs media outlets should publish in an era when all individuals armed with a digital camera can call themselves photojournalists on the scene of a spot news event.

Background – During the last half of the 19th century, photography was becoming an integral part of society. Photographers carrying bulky cameras documented building, still objects and, for those people who could sit still for the long exposures, formal portraits. By the time of the Civil War, photographers such as Matthew Brady carried their cameras to the action to show battlefields, camps, towns and people touched by the war. When a selection of Antietam photos went on exhibit in Brady’s gallery in New York in 1862, The New York Times wrote: “Mr. Brady has done something to bring home to us the terrible reality and earnestness of war. If he has not brought bodies and laid them in our dooryards … he has done something very like it” (“Brady’s Photographs,” 1862). As historian Naomi Rosenblaum (1984) said of photography at the time, “The photograph was regarded as an exemplary record because it was thought to provide an objective — that is, unaltered — view of solid fact and achievement.” 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

Key questions for developing social media policy

Who are our readers and when are they most active on social media?

(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 Kate Jacobson
Special to College Media Review


Six years ago, media companies were not that concerned about social media. Twitter was just catching on and Facebook was evolving from college kids sharing pictures to a vehicle for information.

SocialMediaNckBooth

Illustration: Creative Commons, Nick Booth

Almost all media companies big and small have tried to find their own niche in the social media world. Large news organizations have dedicated employees to monitor and craft the company’s social media message, while others have had to improvise.

Back in 2011, I was the editor of The State News at Michigan State University. We were a college newspaper trying to find our place in the world of social media. When we were looking for better ways to reach our audience, we asked ourselves: How can we uniform our social media efforts and maximize the amount of people we reached? Continue reading

Colleagues, students, others salute the late Bonnie Thrasher

Adviser was veteran of 22 years at Arkansas State

By Debra Chandler Landis
Editor, CMR

The tributes to the late Bonnie Thrasher continued to flow. Colleagues posted on the College Media Association listserv. Thrasher’s students at Arkansas State University, where she taught and advised The Herald for 22 years, produced a special edition in her honor. A journalism graduate of Arkansas State praised Thrasher’s tough-minded journalistic ways but also fondly called her a fellow “cat lady,” referring to the numerous felines Thrasher rescued over the years.

BonneThrasherThrasher, vice president of the CMA who also held positions of CMA secretary and treasurer, was active in several professional journalism organizations. She died in her sleep at home on March 31, with the Arkansas State University College of Media and Communication posting on its Facebook page: “We are saddened to announce the passing of our beloved faculty member, colleague, mentor and friend Ms. Bonnie Thrasher. Kind words and positive thoughts to her family, friends and students in this difficult time.”
Between news of Thrasher’s death and an ensuing memorial service , CMA members, writing on the CMA listserv, painted a portrait with their words of a smart, dedicated, and witty colleague known as much for her dedication to journalism as for being a role model with straightforward talk accented by a lovely Southern accent.

Continue reading