Colleagues offer tributes to an ambassador for college media — Dan Reimold

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For Dan Reimold, fostering a college media “revolution” was a a favorite and frequent topic. He preached this gospel coast to coast. Shown above, he addressed students and faculty at Elon University last year. The noted scholar, frequent contributor to College Media Review, and founder of of the influential website College Media Matters, died in August at age 34. (Photo by Colin Donohue)

34-year-old scholar provided an internationally recognized voice as an advocate on behalf of college media

As colleges and universities start their new academic years and college media begin new production schedules, College Media Review salutes the late Dan Reimold by recapping some conversations with those who knew him, as well as summarizing a few of the myriad online toasts to the College Media Association member, widely recognized as a gifted educator and expert on college media.

Dan Reimold
Dan Reimold

Reimold died August 21. The 34-year-old was an assistant professor of journalism at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and adviser to The Hawk student newspaper.

Reimold was a frequent contributor to College Media Review during its days as a print publication through conversion to a digital first format and thereafter.

“Dan was smart, edgy, engaging and a helluva reporter in his own right. We corresponded and talked frequently over several years that I edited College Media Review, and I always knew if Dan was contributing a story package to the magazine, it would be well anchored,” said Robert Bohler, Texas Christian University, past editor of CMR.

Cover story by Dan Reimold; cover art by Ryan Honeyman

“His first piece for CMR was the Carnal Knowledge cover story in 2007 that depicted how sex columnists had aroused interest and rancor — depending on whether or not you were a student or an administrator— on college campuses. Dan was a doctoral student at Ohio U. at the time.”

Reimold contributed numerous story packages for CMR, including annual reviews of college media and the magazine’s first podcast. (See partial list at the end of this story).

“He was always a reporter who knew how to promote, and his talent revealed itself in his CMR articles.  He always met deadline, always pushed sidebars and visuals. The book on journalistic sexual revolution he fashioned from his research, and his expansion into the general blogging on crises in college journalism.  Wow, what a talent, and what a loss to our profession and to the students from all walks whom he mentored,” Bohler wrote in a message to the CMA discussion group.

When a colleague dies suddenly and busy schedules prevented you from seeing each other as much as hoped, “you curse those work schedules,” said John DiCarlo, student media program director and adjunct journalism instructor at Temple University.

“My biggest regret is that I didn’t get to spend any time with Dan during his time at Saint Joe’s (Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia).. Busy schedules get in the way, and then you curse those schedules when something like this happens,” DICarlo said. “Because I’m teaching a sports writing class at St. Joe’s this semester, I figured we’d finally catch up then.  I’m kicking myself for taking that for granted.”

DiCarlo said Reimold was “about the biggest student media advocate we had across the country,” taking pride in showcasing students’ work and facilitating important conversations.

“At Saint Joseph’s, Dan left an indelible mark – in the classroom, I’m sure, and especially as the adviser to The Hawk, the university’s student newspaper. Yes, the students do the work, but you don’t win a Pacemaker award without a great adviser pushing the students to do that work and getting them to believe they can produce the content,” DiCarlo said. “I imagine Dan would have been too modest to say it, so I’ll say it for him – his students were lucky to have him, and we were, too. “

The Department of English at Saint Joseph’s University is working to ensure Dan’s excellence as an adviser to The Hawk and in the journalism classes he taught lives on, according to Peter Norberg, department chairman. Reimold’s family has requested that memorial donations be made to Saint Joseph’s University.

Dan Reimold in his element — mixing it up with students, in this case student editors of The Pendulum, Elon University’s student news organization where he made a campus presentation last year. (Photo by Colin Donohue)

At a time when some naysay about the future of journalism, Reimold helped students get excited about career opportunities and the importance of the press to society, Norberg said.

“He was very dynamic and cutting-edge in his teaching,” Norberg said, referring to Reimold’s desire to keep as up-to-date as possible on trends and innovations involving the news media and sharing the information with students in classes, at The Hawk, and through books, articles, blogs and online conversations.

Rachele Kanigel, CMA president, said she prepared an external review of Reimold’s dossier for tenure and promotion. It wasn’t long after she mailed it, Kanigel said, that she received a call that Reimold had died.

Rachele Kanigel, CMA president

“Though I’ve known Dan for years, read his writings regularly, sat on numerous convention panels with him and chatted at more CMA, ACP and AEJMC meetings than I can count, I was struck anew by the volume, breadth and depth of his research about college media. Looking through the thick packet of his writings for College Media Matters, Poynter, PBS MediaShift, USA Today College and chapters from his books (just a sampling of his work), I was simply in awe of how much he had accomplished in a few short years,” Kanigel said in a post on the CMA listserv.

“I felt proud to know Dan and to be able to praise him to his colleagues and dean. I knew he wouldn’t need my letter of review — how could anyone think twice about promoting Dan Reimold and giving him tenure?! — but I put extra effort into it because it was for Dan and because Dan gave everything his all.”

Timothy Olsen, student media adviser at Utah State University, met Reimold over the summer at a CMA workshop in Houston and later gave him a ride to the airport.

“His passion and love for college media was immediately evident there during his presentations and interactions with the other advisers,” Olsen recalled.

“We happened to be leaving the conference at the same time and traveling to the same airport, and I was able to give Dan a ride. We had a great conversation about the state of college media, the nuances of the business in different areas of the country and how to motivate the next generation of journalists. I knew immediately Dan would be an incredible resource for a new adviser in the college media ranks.

“In the short time that I knew Dan I could tell he was a great ambassador for our profession.”

Family members said Reimold’s death was the result of an accident in his Wynnewood, Pa., apartment. The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Alexander Balacki, chief medical investigator for Montgomery County, said the cause of death would not be determined for several weeks pending the results of a forensic investigation.

Dan Reimold was the featured speaker last year at Elon University’s Student Communications Media Board banquet. Invited to campus by School of Communications Dean Paul Parsons, Reimold also held informal gatherings with students of The Pendulum at Elon and interviewed student journalists. (Photo by Colin Donohue)

CMR Editor Debra Chandler Landis and Bill Neville, webmaster, contributed to this story.


Among Dan Reimold’s recent contributions to College Media Review’s online editions are listed below. He had been a contributor to the print version of CMR since 2007.

The Media World took note of the life and contributions of Dan Reimold, 1981-2015.