Graphic approach for introducing journalism to students not farfetched at all

Book Review: A NewsHound’s Guide To Student Journalism, by Katina Paron and Javier Guelfi

Reviewed by Carolyn Schurr Levin

Using a comic book to teach basic journalism principles may initially seem like an unusual, albeit original, idea, but, after  reading “A NewsHound’s Guide To Student Journalism,” the idea does not seem farfetched at all. In fact, you won’t be able to put it down. And, while enjoying the comics, perhaps even without knowing it, you will simultaneously be learning so many important journalism concepts and principles.

Written by Katina Paron, who has worked in different capacities as a student journalism educator, and illustrated by Javier Guelfi, a cartoonist, illustrator and graphic designer, the book is clever and engaging. Although the book is not brand new – it was released in October 2018 – it is worth taking a look at, if you haven’t already done so.

The book includes content routinely included in other basic reporting books, such as interviewing tips, understanding and avoiding conflicts of interest, and using data in news stories. What makes it unique, though, are the comic strip vignettes that introduce each chapter and topic. To begin the chapter on “Deep Throat: Digging into Investigative Journalism,” readers meet Joe Kubble, a high school freshman who “was born to be a reporter.” In each subsequent chapter’s comic, Kubble navigates the perils and pitfalls of journalism, from the importance of verification to crowdsourcing through social media. In doing so, he learns, and teaches us, basic lessons in how to write a lead, how to localize news, and how to stay out of trouble. Continue reading “Graphic approach for introducing journalism to students not farfetched at all”

Legal analysis: Audible captions leads to copyright infringement suit

Where technology and copyright collide

By Carolyn Schurr Levin

There is nothing simple about copyright. The law is complex, with so many nuances. In this first CMR legal column, we analyze a pending copyright dispute involving newly developed technology in an effort to assist students and advisers as similar issues arise.

Audible, the Amazon.com audiobook company that bills itself as “the world’s largest seller and producer of audiobooks and other spoken-word entertainment,” introduced a new feature in July 2019 that displays the text of a book while it is read. The feature, called Audible Captions, allows listeners “to follow along with a few lines of machine-generated text as they listen to the audio performance,” according to Audible’s website. “We developed this technology,” Audible’s website states, “because we believe our culture, particularly in under-resourced environments, is at risk of losing a significant portion of the next generation of book readers. We have heard from so many teachers and educators that they want to find new ways to improve literacy rates and inspire students to pick up a book and read.”

LEGAL ANALYSIS: In this new column, we will choose a recently filed lawsuit against the media and analyze the claims being made, the arguments against those claims, and the implications for college media organizations. --Editor

Book publishing companies, however, were less than pleased with the announcement about the launch of Audible Captions. On August 23, 2019, seven publishers—Chronicle Books, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers Macmillan Publishing Group, Penguin Random House, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster—filed a federal copyright infringement lawsuit against Audible alleging that Audible Captions infringes the copyrights in their books. The publishers are seeking a court order to stop the launch of Audible Captions, as well as collecting an award of monetary damages for the alleged infringement Continue reading “Legal analysis: Audible captions leads to copyright infringement suit”

Student media leaders forge relationships with new administrators

‘In with the new…’ Establishing productive work relationships that benefit student media

By Debra Chandler Landis

Ongoing communication between student reporters and the people and programs they cover is key to establishing mutual rapport, trust and respect.

So is communication between editors-in-chief and the top brass of their colleges and universities.

Student editors can help set the stage for ongoing productive working relationships in much the same way executive editors of professional news organizations do when they meet with community leaders, elected officials and others in high-level positions their reporters cover. Continue reading “Student media leaders forge relationships with new administrators”

Book Review: ‘There’s No Crying in Newsrooms,’ by Kristin Grady Gilger and Julia Wallace

Book captures ‘what it takes for women to lead, not just in the news business but in any business’

Reviewed by Carolyn Schurr Levin

The co-editors-in-chief of the college newspaper that I advise are women. Last year’s editor-in-chief was a woman. In fact, in my nine years as the paper’s faculty adviser, the vast majority of the editors have been women. They have been talented and confident and unafraid to use the skills they are honing on campus at their summer internships or, after they graduate, in the workplace. Yet, are college newspapers, which, according to anecdotal evidence, are often largely staffed and led by female students, reflective of the workplace these students will enter upon graduation? What awaits these passionate young female journalists? Can they rise to the same level that they have achieved on campus, where running the student newspaper makes them campus leaders?

Kristin Gilger, Senior Associate Dean and Reynolds Professor in Business Journalism in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, and her colleague, Julia Wallace, Frank Russell Chair in the Business of Journalism at ASU, explore the answers to these questions in their new book, “There’s No Crying in Newsrooms,” published by Rowman & Littlefield in July 2019. Through the stories and experiences of female newsroom leaders, Gilger and Wallace examine “What Women Have Learned about What It Takes to Lead.”  Continue reading “Book Review: ‘There’s No Crying in Newsrooms,’ by Kristin Grady Gilger and Julia Wallace”

Study on integrated student media earns 2019 research award

CMA’s Nordin Award recipients named

CMR Staff Reports

College Media Review has awarded Patrick Howe and Brady Teufel of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, the 2019 Ken Nordin Award, which recognizes the top college media research publication appearing in College Media Review.

The paper, “The Best Medium for the Story: A Case Study of Integrated Student Media” was published in volume 56 of the 2019 College Media Review Research Annual. The award was chosen based on a panel of CMR Associate Editor Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver, CMA Research Chair Elizabeth Smith and CMR Editor Lisa Lyon Payne.

In the annual, Kopenhaver included an editor’s note that commends the authors for conceiving new models to ensure the best possible learning laboratory for achievement in student media. The 2019 CMR Research Annual, which compiles the publications in a bound annual volume, is available for purchase through the CMR Bookstore.

Continue reading “Study on integrated student media earns 2019 research award”

Hight reminds student journalists to take care of themselves

Sound advice from the Mega Workshop

By Bradley Wilson, CMR Managing Editor

When it came to the opening of the College Media Mega Workshop in Minneapolis, Joe Hight asked the 350 or so students what they all have in common.

Quickly, the students stated the obvious.

  • We tell stories
  • We all individually tell stories
  • We have deadlines
  • We’re nosey. We’re curious as well.
  • We’re skeptical.
  • We follow a set of ethical standards
  • We’re passionate. When you lose that passion that’s when u go into cynicism.
  • We’re here for the truth. People wonder what the truth is these days.
  • We’re tough. Only heard three or four of you say yeah.
  • We ask the tough questions.

Then Hight turned the talk into what he really wanted students to start thinking about.

He asked, “I’ve always learned how journalists are resilient. Is that a myth?”

Continue reading “Hight reminds student journalists to take care of themselves”

WordPress speaks my language

The CMS powerhouse dominates the content delivery business

By Bradley Wilson, CMR Managing Editor

“WordPress is so amazing it doesn’t even need an introduction,” said Brad Parbs, a specialist in WordPress-focused Web development. However, for colleges and universities looking to update their website, knowing that WordPress is the most often-used content management system and that it is consistently ranked as the most user-friendly and easiest to use makes it easier to narrow down the choices.

Indeed, surveys rank it as having a market share greater than 60 percent, including sites for companies such as Forbes and Pepsi. Clearly, WordPress has become the content management system of choice for collegiate media. More than half (54%) of the school publications that received an Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker or who where a finalist in 2018 used WordPress.

What follows is a discussion with Jonathan Elmer, former student publications manager at Louisiana Tech about his experience implementing WordPress and moving the student media online.

So, I get schools asking me all the time about starting up a website or revamping their old one. Is WordPress the way to go? Why/not?

I was hired as adviser for all student media here with the immediate mandate to take the publications online. My supervisor,  Brenda Heiman, had championed this initiative and been tremendously supportive from the beginning. Since I was building everything from scratch – re-launching the student publications (newspaper, magazine and yearbook), writing job descriptions, interviewing and hiring staff, learning the procurement process with the State of Louisiana, purchasing equipment (new cameras, lenses and audio gear) – choosing WordPress to take our student newspaper and magazine online was just one of a myriad of decisions and tasks I completed this past year. Continue reading “WordPress speaks my language”

Full Disclosure: Using FOIA requests in a college newsroom

McMichael’s student, Hannah Daniel, recently received copies of her grandfather’s World War II medals using the Freedom of Information Act.

How Georgia College students are breaking news using the state’s open records law

By Pate McMichael, adviser, The Colonnade, and senior lecturer, Georgia College

The first story broke on a Monday morning in our group chat: “I just heard a GC bus hit a person.”

Over the next five weeks, Georgia College, a public liberal arts university in Middle Georgia with 7,000 students, would experience the death of bicyclist, a devastating fraternity house fire, a norovirus outbreak that shut down the dining hall, an armed robbery blocks from campus, and the shooting of a GC student who narrowly survived.

Our tiny young staff at The Colonnade had little experience fielding red-hot news, but that group message changed everything. For the two editors staffing the news desk, the grind of those five weeks taught them a valuable lesson: getting public records in a timely manner can make or break the big story. Continue reading “Full Disclosure: Using FOIA requests in a college newsroom”

New media law text encourages ‘thinking like a journalist.’

Review: ‘Media Law: A Practical Guide (Revised Edition),’ by Ashley Messenger

Reviewed by Carolyn Schurr Levin

“Media Law: A Practical Guide (Revised Edition),” by Ashley Messenger

Teaching media law to undergraduate journalism and communications students is challenging. The concepts are esoteric and complex, even for law students. For undergraduates, the laws often seem foreign and counterintuitive (tweets are copyrighted?!). Many of the media law textbooks and other resources are written by lawyers in language that seems directed to other lawyers or law students.

Luckily, in the mix of available course materials lies “Media Law: A Practical Guide (Revised Edition)”, by Ashley Messenger, who is NPR’s Associate General Counsel. This accessible and user-friendly book is an outlier. Although written by a lawyer, the language is direct and straightforward, exactly what you want for undergraduates, most of whom have never taken a law course before.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have been teaching media law in various iterations – with and without ethics, in person and online, to undergraduates and graduate students – for almost two decades. In my classes, I have used many of the available resources, including the first edition of Messenger’s book, as well as other media law textbooks. Some of them have worked; others haven’t. Messenger’s book works. Continue reading “New media law text encourages ‘thinking like a journalist.’”

Review: ‘Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and The Fight for Facts,’ by Jill Abramson

Abramson details ‘wrenching transition’ of a new media world

Reviewed by Carolyn Schurr Levin

 Jill Abramson’s “Merchants of Truth” received a great deal of attention when it was published in February 2019. But, not for the right reasons. A day after its release, Vice News correspondent Michael Moynihan posted on Twitter paragraphs about his news outlet from Abramson’s book, side by side with similar paragraphs from The New Yorker, the Columbia Journalism Review, Time Out magazine, and other works. Abramson, who is the former Executive Editor of The New York Times, initially denied the allegations of plagiarism, claiming that some Vice News employees were unhappy with her portrayal of Vice in the book. Yet, she promised to carefully review the questioned passages.

After that review, Abramson acknowledged “citation errors” in the book, conceding that some passages included language that is “way too close for comfort” to its source material “and probably should have been in quotes.” In an interview with CNN, she said, “I made some errors in the way I credited sources, but that there was no attempt to pass off someone’s ideas, opinions and phrasings as my own.” Bill Keller, Abramson’s predecessor as the New York Times’ Executive Editor, tweeted support for his colleague: “Jill Abramson is a journalist of courage and integrity. She has written a great book on the profound transformation of the news business, richly documented and full of insight. It’s distressing that some apparent carelessness in attribution might overshadow her achievement.” Others were not as forgiving. 

Continue reading “Review: ‘Merchants of Truth: The Business of News and The Fight for Facts,’ by Jill Abramson”