Strategies for sustaining student media in times of crisis
By Patti Piburn and Kim Lisagor Bisheff
Student reporters in KCPR, using remote technologies, continued producing and broadcasting live news on-air throughout the pandemic and during subsequent disruptions. This qualitative case study examines the remote strategies adopted by the station in the lockdown to determine what should remain, with two goals in mind: keeping broadcast student media going in a future crisis and better equipping journalism graduates. Semi-structured interviews with graduates who were part of the radio news team before, during and after the pandemic reveal that they acquired and refined crucial soft skills during their remote student media experience. The graduates report that their experience equipped them for a “new normal” in the workplace. They described gaining such soft skills as confidence, resilience and adaptability as well as improved organization, communication and collaboration. While in-person reporting is preferred, blending remote work, and the technologies that support it, into student media makes the organization more resilient and better prepares students for transformed newsrooms. Continue reading “Weathering the storm”
Journalists ‘ready to go’ after Mega Workshop
By Madison Roth, Minnesota Daily
Eager journalism students filled the room, carrying their hopes and dreams with them as they settled into the dingy orange chairs. Chatter bursting with excitement rang in the ears of the staff members leading the workshop tracks.
This is the weekend the some 100 students had been anticipating for months: the 2023 Associated Collegiate Press College Media Mega Workshop.
Rick Green, executive editor and chief content officer of the Press Democrat in Santa Rosa, California, kicked off the workshop by asking staff and students where they were from, as every area of the country was represented in some way.
He asked the students why they were attending the conference.
Responses ranged from “We’re really excited to get different ideas from school and learn how to improve our newspaper.” to “If you have enthusiasm and trust in yourself, anything you’re putting out there, people are gonna listen.” Continue reading “Editor challenges students: get ‘fired up’”
Alternate story forms expand journalist’s toolbox
By Andy Bechtel
Readers of student media often have questions about things in the news. College journalists can provide answers using the “frequently asked questions” format.
Korie Dean, a reporter at The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, specializes in FAQ stories. She’s reported and written them about topics such as COVID restrictions, health insurance and bans on outdoor burning.
“You might find yourself asking questions about a new law that’s gone into effect, a confusing term that’s related to the news of the day, a viral post on social media or just about anything else,” says Dean, a 2021 graduate of the journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill. “Those topics make for fantastic FAQs, because they’re things people undoubtedly have questions about and will be searching (literally searching on Google — SEO is key!) for answers on.”
So when should you try a FAQ, and how do you put one together? Here’s what you need to know. Continue reading “The FAQ: Another way to tell a story”
Local publications provide ample opportunities
Yvonne Mintz is the editor and publisher of The Facts in Brazoria County, Texas.
It’s not a newspaper most readers would have heard of. The Facts doesn’t compete with USA Today or even the Houston Chronicle, which is right up the road.
It doesn’t need to.
The Facts is just as likely to cover a local softball game or a high school graduation as it is the latest controversy at the town council.
The paper’s motto reminds readers of its mission: “No one delivers local news like The Facts.”
While sitting on a panel talking to college journalists, Mintz expanded on this idea.
“Without us, officials in this community would be unchecked in their power,” she told the interns participating in the Dow Jones News Fund / Texas Press Association Center for Editing Excellence training program before they left for internships at publications such as the Houston Chronicle and patch.com but also the Azle News, Hill Country News, Pleasanton Express and Tyler County Booster, all in Texas.
Mike Hodges, executive director of the Texas Press Association, said of community newspapers, “They are the lifeblood of every community.” Continue reading “Community newspapers the ‘lifeblood of every community’”
‘State of College Media’ survey results.
Special to College Media Review
Ninety-four percent of college media outlets continued production during the COVID-19 pandemic amid campus shutdowns and restructuring operations to work virtually, according to the results of CMA’s 2020 benchmarking survey.
The fourth annual “State of College Media” survey provides a snapshot of what college media operations face and also identifies industry trends. Approximately 135 CMA members nationwide completed the survey, which was distributed electronically on June 4, 2020.
The survey was sent to all 635 CMA members. This yielded a 44% open rate and a 34% click through rate. A follow-up reminder on June 16 had a 41% open rate and a 20% click through rate. Results were released on June 26, 2020. With a total of 135 members participating, the overall response rate is 21%.
Continue reading “Survey: College media continue despite pandemic”
Community College student newspapers illustrate publishing trends
By Richard Cameron
What types of stories do community college student newspapers publish on their online sites in a typical semester/quarter? That was the original purposed of a content review of 46 California community college student publications conducted for the spring 2020 term.
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.” Sherlock Holmes, “A Study in Scarlett” (Arthur Conan Doyle)
Of course, the spring 2020 term turned out to be anything but typical as COVID-19 caused a mid-term shutdown of campuses and a shift to remote instruction. While not intended, the bifurcated study was fortuitous in timing, however, as it appears all campuses will start a new academic year with remote instruction, indeed the whole academic year may be remote.
Slightly less than 40% of California’s 119 community colleges offer associate degrees in journalism, and an important component in those degrees requires course work on the student publication. Forty-six have online publications. The colleges offer multiple levels of enrollment in publication courses, from beginning to advanced, and nearly all combine up to four levels of courses into one newspaper staff, so the mix of experience on a given staff varies greatly from campus to campus. Continue reading “College media reporting during a tumultuous spring”
Community journalism ‘never more important’ than now
By Megan Wehring
Texas State University
The Pew Research Center continues to report on declining newspaper circulation (“its lowest level since 1940”), revenue (“declined dramatically between 2008 and 2018”) and employment (“dropped by nearly half between 2008 and 2018”).
But Frank Blethen, in a Washington Post column, says, “Local journalism has never been more important or sought after.”
And longtime journalist Joyce Dehli calls local journalism “an essential force in our democracy.”
Emphasizing the continuing role of local media in American society, a panel of local journalists visited with college students as part of Dow Jones News Fund and Texas Press Association intern training May 27.
Panelists discussed how local journalists need to earn and maintain the public’s trust. They must tell all the stories of the community. Continue reading “Local media leaders encourage prospective journalists”
‘Important time for journalism in this country’
By Bradley Wilson
CMR Managing Editor
When Washington Post Executive Editor Marty Baron spoke to a crowd of hundreds of college journalists at the National College Media Convention, sponsored by the College Media Association and Associated Collegiate Press, he was rather unassuming. For a man who has worked for the Miami Herald, the Los Angeles Times and The New York Times and who has been portrayed in the movie Spotlight for leadership at the Boston Globe and coverage of the Boston Catholic sexual abuse scandal that earned the Globe a Pulitzer Prize in 2003, he seemed rather quiet.
But that’s just on the surface.
When it comes to standing up to the president of the United States or for the First Amendment, Baron is far from unassuming.
Baron acknowledged from the outset to a crowd of hundreds of college journalists, “This is a really important time for journalism in this country. Obviously our profession has come under assault primarily from this White House down the road, and so we have to be thinking a lot about what our profession is all about and what our role is in a democracy. We find ourselves having to defend ourselves in a way that we haven’t had to do in quite some time.”
Still, he saved his punchline for the end — truth and facts do not depend on someone’s opinion, who holds the most power or what’s the most popular. Continue reading “Washington Post editor: Press exists to hold government accountable”
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”
College Journalists convene in New York
By Carol Terracina-Hartman
For College Media Review
The College Media Association conference in New York City — #CMANYC19 — offers standard broad range of workshops, on-site publication critiques with a professional for student staffs, and tours of professional media outlets beginning March 6.
And this year’s lineup of speakers is anything but standard, reaching beyond the “how to” of news production to ask, “how do we”?
Recruiting top editors from Vice, #CMANYC19 gives college media students a chance for a — not just to attend a lecture. Chat with Vice’s master brand Executive Editor Dory Carr-Harris: What is her vision for Vice? What are the struggles? and accomplishments?
Vice.com is arguably one of the greatest successes of new media: How do the editors target their audience? How do writers build credibility? How does new media grab old readers?
Managing Editor Rachel Shallom heads up the biweekly newsletter, The Cohort, focusing on women in digital leadership. She also curates a newsletter featuring news and moves in digital journalism.
Continue reading “CMANYC19 goes beyond ‘how to’ to ask ‘how do we’”