Pinnacle Awards Recognize Excellence

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Awards put the focus on student achievement

By Lisa Lyon Payne
CMR Editor

Each spring, our top writers, photographers and designers celebrate with caps and gowns, and we reflect on the impactful work they and their colleagues have produced. As advisers and their staff look back, consider recognizing them by submitting top content for the College Media Association’s Pinnacle Awards, which recognize both outstanding media organizations and individual work.

The deadline for all Pinnacle submissions is June 1.

Organizational Pinnacle Awards are free and open to any student media organization with an active member as an adviser. Categories include newspapers, websites, magazines, yearbooks, radio and television stations, and winners will be recognized at the Fall National College Media Convention in Louisville, KY. Individual award entries limit each school to one entry per category and cost $10 for members and $20 for non members.

More information can be found here.

Covering Suicide: Resources for College Journalists

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Campus newsrooms need guidance, tools for covering ‘the most difficult story’

By Jena Heath
St. Edward’s University

It is a tragic fact that many college journalists will be faced with the challenge of covering the suicide of a classmate, team mate or dorm friend. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that suicide is the third leading cause of death among 15-24-year-olds, accounting for 20 percent of all deaths annually, and the second leading cause of death among college students after accidents (CDC 2012). Professional newsrooms have long had policies in place regarding suicide coverage. These policies usually dictate that suicides committed in public places should be covered as new stories.

Unfortunately, these policies and the thinking behind them have not made their way with any consistency to college newsrooms, according to a study I conducted in 2014 with a former student, Brooke Blanton, who was Editor-in-Chief of the St. Edward’s University student news site (The Most Difficult Story: Covering Suicide on College Campuses, College Media Review, Vol 52, 2014-15).

What we found on the part of both student journalists and some advisers was confusion over how to walk the line between factual news coverage and fears of being perceived as insensitive or sensational. Some of this was the result of pressure, direct and indirect, from university administrators concerned about liability and public perception. Some was confusion over how to think about and cover death, especially of a peer.

As a result, a tendency to downplay suicide coverage, or not cover suicides at all, even those committed publicly, became evident in our interviews with both student journalists and advisers. This is unfortunate, as college journalists can play a key role in helping their campus communities gain a clearer, more accurate understanding of the causes of suicide. Continue reading Covering Suicide: Resources for College Journalists

Navigating Native Advertising in College Media

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Sponsored content finding a niche in college media marketing

By Matthew Salzano
Pacific Lutheran University

Consumers of Colorado State’s Rocky Mountain Collegian recently learned how to build a bar. A Ft. Collin’s liquor store owner told a freshly 21-year-old student just what to buy — from his store! — to have a classier selection in a college home than just whatever beer was cheap that week. The landing page for the video is marked with bold text, declaring it “SPONSORED CONTENT.” Sponsored content is the long-form version of advertising content that is known as native advertising.

Native or Sponsored Advertising making an appearance in college media sites

Traditionally, ads stand out due to the difference in their form from editorial content—a quarter page ad looks different than a op-ed or reportage. With native advertising, however, the paid content looks like it natively inhabits to the platform it exists on: the liquor store video is only distinguishable from editorial video content due to that all-caps label.

The practice that was once only seen from large media outlets like Buzzfeed or the Guardian has made it to college newsrooms. Native advertising, especially creating sponsored content, poses challenges and opportunities for college newsrooms to educate and prepare students while serving clientele. Continue reading Navigating Native Advertising in College Media

Takeaway Messages From the Spring National College Media Convention

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Why location is critical when planning a college media convention

By Kenna Griffin
Oklahoma City University

Location! Location! Location! I’ve heard it before, but I would not have believed how important location is when planning a college media convention until I saw it with my own eyes.

CMA’s spring national convention in New York was my first as a board member. I’ve seen evaluations for other collegiate media conventions and have been on planning committees, but I still was surprised how often location played into the feedback we received about #CMANYC18.

New York is an exciting, inspiring place, which was reflected in all of the positive comments about the convention’s location. Location is key, and several attendees said the convention being in New York was their favorite aspect of it. Airlines panicked about a winter storm that really wasn’t much, which caused some attendees travel problems, but the positive feedback was much greater than any grumbles about travel woes or expense of the city. Aside from feedback on the location itself, there were two specific areas of feedback in which it was important: 1) networking and 2) speakers. Continue reading Takeaway Messages From the Spring National College Media Convention

Don’t forget these end-of-the-year deadlines

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Contests, awards recognize media achievements

By Carol Terracina Hartman, Ph.D.

Before everything gets archived and stowed away for the summer months, here are a few final tasks to add to the end-of-year items: nominate that Outstanding Adviser for CMA Award of Distinction, due May 1, and submit entries for Pinnacle Awards, due June 1.

College Media Association honors the contributions of advisers in a variety of capacities, including those at two-year newspapers, four-year newspapers, those who have advised less than five years (Honor Roll Adviser) and those with more than five years (Distinguished Adviser Award), and more.

The guidelines and complete the application form are found on the “Adviser Awards” link. Continue reading Don’t forget these end-of-the-year deadlines

Journalism and Mass Communication Honor Societies

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Weighing the costs and benefits: A guide to Honor Societies

Editor’s note: This guide is meant to provide a quick overview and offer easy comparison information of the journalism and mass communication honor societies described in greater detail last week. 


By Lindsey Wotanis
Marywood University

Kappa Tau Alpha

http://www.kappataualpha.org/

Key Facts:

  • Founded 1910
  • “Kappa Tau Alpha is a college honor society that recognizes academic excellence and promotes scholarship in journalism and mass communication.”
  • 96 chapters nationwide

Key Benefits:

  • National recognition for academic excellence
  • Academic and service awards for outstanding seniors

Costs:

  • To start a chapter: No charter fee
  • Individual initiation fee: $30 for lifetime membership
  • Honor cords: $8 plus shipping

GPA Requirements:

  • Must have at least a 3.00 GPA (on 4.0 system) in junior/senior level journalism/mass communication courses.

Continue reading Journalism and Mass Communication Honor Societies

Adding an honor society to the mix

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Advisers say honor groups create space for service, engagement, and recognition of excellence

By Lindsey Wotanis
Marywood University

College media advisers have a lot on their plates.

They’re doing their best, day in and out, to train the next generation of journalists–a difficult task at a time when the free press is constantly under attack and when more and more university public relations teams are working overtime to control their schools’ images.

The thought of incorporating something else into the mix might be overwhelming. But adding an honor society has the potential to pay dividends for advisers, students and campus communities who are in the trenches engaged in everyday collegiate media work.

Chapters can motivate students and reward excellent work

One of the most obvious benefits of starting an honor society chapter is the opportunities it affords for rewarding outstanding work.

Next week in CMR: A guide to Honor Societies

Some societies, like Lambda Pi Eta, which is the official honor society of the National Communication Association, honor communication students who excel academically. Students earning a 3.0 overall GPA and a 3.25 major GPA are invited to join. The National Broadcasting Society/Alpha Epsilon Rho (NBS/AERho), a society geared toward students in broadcasting and other electronic media, has similar GPA requirements for new members.

Continue reading Adding an honor society to the mix

Review: ‘Dynamics of News Reporting & Writing’

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Filak’s textbook offers ‘more’ in form of accompanying blog

Reviewed by Carolyn Schurr Levin

At a time when students are increasingly skeptical about the value of high priced textbooks and professors are often asked to justify their cost, it undoubtedly helps when a book offers something “more.” Vincent Filak’s “Dynamics of News Reporting & Writing,” released on Jan. 2, 2018, does just that. In addition to providing a potpourri of chapters routinely found in reporting books, including “Interviewing,” “Broadcast-Style Writing and Voicing,” “Basics of Writing,” and “Editing Audio and Video,” Filak, a professor of journalism at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, has deftly added “more” in the form of a blog, dynamicsofwriting.com. It includes almost daily updates with additional information, examples of material discussed in the textbook and interactive elements to keep students engaged and the material fresh. Recent blog posts, including “Profile Writing: You can observe a lot by watching” and “5 cool things about open records I learned from an #ACPBOM session,” provide timely and helpful content that can be integrated into a course curriculum.

The textbook is written in a conversational tone. “I try to put tools in your toolbox,” Filak said. “Whatever you are doing or where you are going, you will take these with you.” The book is, above all, practical and user friendly. Each chapter begins with “Learning Objectives,” offers “Helpful Hints,” and ends with “Write Now!” assignments. Continue reading Review: ‘Dynamics of News Reporting & Writing’

Extra! Extra!: The NTUBulletin and Active Journalism Teaching and Writing

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Instruction at National Taipei University of Business, 2016-2018

By David Pendery
National Taipei University of Business


Abstract — This paper examines publication of the NTUBulletin newspaper at the National Taipei University of Business (NTUB) from spring 2016 through fall 2017, focusing on the fall 2017 semester. This was the first English language newspaper published at our school. The newspaper is a full-color paper, printed on A3 and A4 paper. A four-page paper has been expanded to six pages. The paper has undergone one redesign. It began with a four-week deadline schedule that was reduced to three weeks in the second semester. A News English class originally published the paper and later was moved into writing courses. The paper thus always had a focus on writing improvement with students – the value of which has been shown in questionnaires distributed to the class. This paper has created substantial energy and excitement at NTUB, and the teacher has been invited to distribute copies to other schools and speak about the experience of publication and writing training in the course. Continue reading Extra! Extra!: The NTUBulletin and Active Journalism Teaching and Writing

Infusing Ethics in our Student Media

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The Research and Creation of a Self-Guided, Online Ethics Training for College Journalists

By Amanda C. Bright and Catherine E. Jewell
Eastern Illinois University

Recent political and social events have brought into sharp focus the issue of ethical behavior in the practice of journalism, thus creating a critical need for providing student media members with a solid ethical grounding. The pervasive issue of fake news has created a sense of urgency in the pedagogy of ethical standards, as well. Tim Gallagher highlighted a gap in journalistic understanding in his article, Living Up to Our Standards, stating:

Robert Bergland at the Walter Cronkite Conference on Media Ethics at Missouri Western State University, Nov. 9, 2015. Photo by Bradley Wilson

The public does not understand how reporters and editors sift through potential stories, make decisions about what to cover (with disinterest for the partisan viewpoints), and then begin the process of accumulating information, discarding some of it, challenging “proof” that sources offer, and finally choosing the words that will tell the story. The public knows nothing of the editing process. Fake news has none of this. (Gallagher 2017, 22)

Students new to university newsrooms come often with this “public” understanding of journalism. Hence, the bulk of real journalistic training begins in university programs. Students, however, often begin publishing work through student media soon after starting college, when ethics courses may not have been taken yet. Continue reading Infusing Ethics in our Student Media