Exploring New Media Consumption Habits Among College Students and their Influence on Traditional Student Media
By Hans K. Meyer, Burton Speakman and Nisha Garud Ohio University
Abstract: This study examines news consumption habits of college students focusing on the factors, purpose and sources of new media consumption. Through a survey of 812students at a medium-sized Midwestern university, four types of news habits emerged: active, passive, civic engagement, and digital. Students actively seek digital media but consumption of these sources turns passive. New media, including mobile technology, have not completely taken over the news consumption habit of traditional sources. Continue reading Research (Vol. 54) — Active Choice, Passive Consumption
By Carol Terracina-Hartman
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
and Robert G. Nulph Missouri Western State University
Abstract: With prior research indicating successful college media programs, as judged against their peers, tend to be housed in academic departments with faculty-level advisors, this study examines how college media outlets are presented, promoted, and used for recruiting within departments and home institutions. How visible are they? Primarily housed in political science, visibility has expanded as a research interest with the advent of social media. For this study, visibility is “organizational behavior to present content communally” (Brunner and Boyer 2008). After examining the top 35 award-winning programs, results indicate low levels not only of presence and visibility, but also self-promotion: college media references are two clicks from department homepage (46%) and 3-4 clicks from university homepage (57%). Media outlets most often post recruitment information (33%). These results suggest a need for growth in promotion, public relations, and associations.
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).
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 Research (Vol. 52) Do college students want to see political news in their newspaper?
An outlook of employment opportunities in the mass communication industry
By Kyle J. Miller
Dr. Charles A. Lubbers University of South Dakota
The employment outlook in any field is dictated by the balance of supply and demand. However, the available supply of college graduates and the demand for the graduates to fill a particular job category in a field can vary greatly.
According to a 2012 study by Becker, Vlad and Kalpen, 51,784 bachelor’s degrees were granted in the U.S. in 2011, and that number was only slightly larger than the year before. They also noted that during 2011, 203,561 students were enrolled in bachelor’s programs, a decline of .05 percent from the year before.
Undergraduate students are studying a growing number of specializations within the mass communication field. This reflects changes in the terms used to describe the specializations, as well as a growth in those areas as a result of newer technologies. As noted in Table 1, journalism, once the dominant specialization in the field, now accounts for slightly less than 30 percent of the students. The next largest group of students is located in strategic communication programs. Students studying radio/television generally made up 4.9 percent. Clearly the concentration of students is located in the areas of journalism and strategic communications, with significantly smaller numbers in the telecommunications field.
An Examination of the State of College Newspapers in a Turbulent Time
By Lisa Lyon Payne Virginia Wesleyan College
Abstract: This paper provides an initial investigation of the current state of the college newspapers among liberal arts schools in the southeast. An online survey using both open and closed-ended questions examines variables such as method and frequency of publication, use of advertising and online presence. Only 37.5% of respondents reported having a journalism program at their institution, and those who contributed to the student newspaper came from majors ranging from biology to philosophy. While a full 100% of respondents reported having advertising in their college newspapers, about one-third of respondents reported they did not have an online edition of the paper. Most publications were fewer than 10 pages and did have a faculty adviser to the publication. Of the schools that participated, a majority said there is no class credit associated with their publications. Also of interest, just more than half of respondents stated staff writers receive some form of compensation for their contributions to the publication; where this compensation comes from varies.
What do Twitter, the iPad and a campus newspaper have in common? Current literature suggests that all three are a preferred communication choice for many of today’s college students (The Washington Times, March 8, 2012). Despite the slow and agonizing decline of traditional newspapers, research indicates that even in this modern, wireless world of communication, many college students gravitate toward the print version of their campus newspaper over an electronic version. Additionally, despite the woes of the traditional news daily, many student newspapers appear to be weathering the storm with fewer economic troubles (Keller 2008, Supiano 2012).
The year was 1989. Reagan had just ended his term as office and I was an undergraduate searching for a topic for my senior honors thesis. As editor of my college newspaper at Millikin University, I was interested in researching media ethics at college newspapers. After discovering the existence of College Media Review (actually College Press Review, before the name change) and finding several valuable ethics articles in the journal, I was on my way.
Information Access in an Era of Privatized Public Higher Education
By Alexa Capeloto CUNY in New York City
Public information laws at the federal and state level enshrine a citizen’s right to petition public agencies for access to records and meetings related to the business of governance. Most such laws make no explicit mention, however, of private entities that do public work either instead of or in addition to what public agencies provide. As a result of vague or insufficient laws and ambiguous court decisions, information that might once have been accessible could potentially be withheld from the public because it has moved into the private domain. The tension between privatization and public access today is intensifying as public agencies increasingly contract out services, accept corporate sponsorship, create quasi-public entities or otherwise transact with private organizations and individuals. Nowhere is this more evident than at public colleges and universities, which are turning to privatization as state revenue, fiscal prioritizing and even the philosophical underpinnings of public education shift around them. In every state, student media journalists and advisers at public colleges should study relevant legislation and case law surrounding this issue, review contracts and communications with private entities and, when warranted, push for access when schools close the door on information that might once have been obtained with a simple request. This article is meant to provide a beginning for that process.
“War on Words: Who Should Protect Journalists” full of in-depth research and interviews with 60 sources
By Pat Winters Lauro
During World War II, 37 American journalists were killed on the job, including the famous war correspondent Ernie Pyle, who was shot dead by a Japanese sniper in the Pacific.
In contrast, more than 1,000 journalists and their essential support staff, including drivers and translators, have been killed in just the last 10 years, according to the International News Safety Institute – and not necessarily because they were caught in crossfire. In a number of cases, they were targeted because of their jobs. And their murderers got away with it. According to INSI, eight of 10 murders of journalists have never been investigated.
Student media advisers give high marks for priorities, performance of publication boards
By LEI XIE and JAMES SIMON Fairfield University
Abstract – College journalists often have their work evaluated by campus Media Advisory Boards. Student editors complain some boards have used their oversight role to censor or indirectly exert control over the print or broadcast product. This exploratory study seeks to determine how often Media Advisory Boards exist and what factors correlate with a school having such a board. This study, based on a national survey of members of the College Media Advisers organization (N = 157), is designed to provide baseline data on such questions as how boards differ in title and size, what characteristics of a school help explain differences in the composition of a board, and what are the most common functions of a board. The results can be useful to schools considering creation of such a board, to schools examining the operations of their current board, and to various constituencies – student editors, journalism faculty, administrators – involved with the student press. Continue reading Research Spotlight: Media advisory board — friend or foe?
As college budgets become tighter and news consumer habits change, all eyes are on how student media is adapting to changes. This study of student news websites that sit in the Pacemaker Winners’ Circle describes the features that push them to the front of the pack in multimedia, interactivity and content management.