Student news organizations have long experienced various forms of censorship.
This qualitative pilot study (N=46) examines articles on college newspaper websites to explore how student news organizations cover issues of press freedom and censorship. The researchers used a grounded theory approach to explore common themes of coverage and potential differences between private and public institutions’ approach to such topics. The findings indicate there are four broad areas of interest: explanation of the role of journalism, industry challenges, censorship, and college-specific issues of press freedom and speech. This pilot study will serve to inform a larger content analysis.
According to the Student Press Law Center, censorship is “any restrictions on your publication’s coverage or operations by anyone who works for the school or is acting on behalf of the school (like student government officials)” (Dean 2021, para. 1). Outright acts of censorship can be seen, for example, when in 2013, The Fauman at Florida A&M University was “suspended from publishing, its adviser removed and its staff told they must reapply for their positions” (Gregory 2013). In a case study of different college newsrooms, it was found that “that administrators who engage in censorship appear to do so when the newspaper publishes unflattering coverage of the university” (Matlock 2021, 97). Continue reading “RESEARCH: Student media coverage of censorship and press freedom”
By Kirstie Hettinga California Lutheran University
Abstract: Accuracy is the foundation of news media, but how and where journalism students learn about accuracy may be less understood. Previous research found that popular journalism textbooks varied in covering this topic. If textbooks are not teaching accuracy, where do students learn about being accurate? Eleven current advisers representing four-year public and private schools as well as community colleges participated in a moderated discussion at the 2017 Associated Collegiate Press midwinter convention. The participants were most interested in activities and assignments to practice being accurate, rather than higher-level discussions of accuracy. Directions for future research are also discussed.Continue reading “Research (Vol. 55) Exploring how college media advisers teach accuracy”
Advisers interested in dipping their toes in the academic research waters of college media are invited to attend a session on publishing opportunities in College Media Review at the CMA Spring National College Media Convention in New York March 7-10.
College Media Review’s Research Annual is now available for download from this site.
Volume 54 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 2016-2017 Academic Year.
To download a copy of this volume, CLICK HERE. Non-member downloads here will be available for a limited time. Members can access past CMR material inboxed the members only section of there CMA website.
For previous editions of the Research Annual, see the “Archive” link on the left column of the home page.
The College Media Association is accepting submissions of original, non-published research in the form of either abstracts or research papers on all aspects of college media and advising college media. Papers will undergo a blind review process, and top research will be presented at the 2017 Fall National College Media Convention in Dallas (Oct. 25-29).
Submission deadline is August 1.
Either abstracts or full-length research papers are acceptable. Abstracts should be between 250 and 500 words. Full papers should be no longer than 25 pages, excluding references, tables and appendices. If accepted, full papers are due by August 31.
Papers are welcome on any topic that addresses an issue surrounding college media. Submissions from all theoretical and methodological perspectives are invited. We particularly encourage submissions that are theoretically based and clearly relate to a current issue in college media.
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).