Archive for July, 2010

CMM 10 is a spotlighting of the 10 individuals who have mattered most to college media over the past academic year.  This inaugural edition honors a mix of standout student journalists, innovative student media entrepreneurs, and impassioned outside advocates of campus press 2.0.  With a hat tip to the annual Time 100, the posts announcing each honoree include a few words of adoration penned by a close friend or colleague.  Next up…

Jennifer Waits

Founder & Overseer, Spinning Indie college radio blog

During a recent interview Jennifer Waits conducted, a fellow DJ told her, “It’s an addiction. I have to DJ. . . . When you’re DJing to FM airwaves, you’re DJing into space. There’s no feeling like it.”  Waits has been personally hooked on this feeling for more than 24 years– serving as a DJ at four different college radio stations, including WHRC during her undergraduate days at Haverford College and KFJC (operated by Foothill College in California) since 1999.

“I love music and for me the easiest way to stay in touch with new music and old, undiscovered music is by staying involved in college radio,” she said. “KFJC owns tens of thousands of records and CDs and there’s always something amazing to be learned from searching through their vast record library and from tapping into the collective knowledge of fellow DJs. I love crafting a radio show from week to week and weaving together pieces of music in order to share sounds with listeners.”

Off the air, she is committed to “spreading the gospel of college radio” like no one else on earth.  She freelances about it prolifically and is the founder and one-woman tour de force behind Spinning Indie, the world’s most influential college radio blog.

As an adamant “evangelist for radio’s ongoing relevance,” she is determined to specifically spotlight college radio culture- its independence, eclecticism, and celebration of a unique musical feast you will not find anywhere else on the dial. “To me, college radio is the best source for underground, experimental music that doesn’t make it into the rotation of commercial radio stations,” she said.  “I like the mix of genres too- from sound collage to folk music from the 1920s to Turkish psychedelia to modern classical and chamber pop. You never know what to expect when you tune into a college radio station and that’s what makes college radio so magical.”

My favorite portions of SI: a field trip series documenting her visits to college radio stations across the U.S. and a separate virtual tour highlighting student stations “that might be a bit below the radar.”  Ultimately, Waits does not earn money for her blogging or DJing.  In fact, she is the one paying.  She finances the station trips out of her own pocket and also pays tuition at Foothill, since only registered students can work with the station.  In her words, simply, “It’s a labor of love.”

“An Invaluable Asset to College Radio”

By Paul Riismandel

Jennifer Waits is the strongest and smartest voice reporting on and advocating for college radio today. With a deep knowledge of the history of this unique medium, combined with a keen sense of its role in our media environment, Jennifer shares the fruits of her research and passion  at RadioSurvivor.com and her own blog, Spinning Indie. Not content to just write about college radio, she puts her conviction to work by visiting stations and networking with their staffs, becoming a catalyst for the exchange of information and ideas amongst this often atomized community. Jennifer is an invaluable asset to college radio (and she does her own show, too).

Riismandel is *the* mediageek.

Other CMM 10 honorees:

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Karla Bowsher, University Press

Ryan Dunn & Dave Hendricks, College News Network

Adam Goldstein, Student Press Law Center

Windsor Hanger, Stephanie Kaplan & Annie Wang, Her Campus

Davis Shaver, Onward State

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Bob Kustra, the president of Boise State University, has publicly apologized for a recent rant against the school’s athletic rival, the University of Idaho, in which he called the UI campus culture “nasty” and “inebriated.”

The primary trigger for the un-presidential outburst, according to Kustra: a recent opinion column run in The Argonaut, UI’s student newspaper, which informed incoming UI students that they will hate BSU.

“There is one crucial element all incoming students need to know about attending the University of Idaho,” the student writer of the piece relates. “It is not that classes will be hard or time-consuming, how to find classes or to know which building is which, or where you will live or how to pay for school. It is that as a UI Vandal [the school’s mascot], you will hate Boise State University. . . . True, die-hard Vandals hate BSU with a passion that at times seems unreal.”

The piece passionately derides the BSU fight song and mascot, while calling the schools’ rivalry intermittently “dirty, mean and vulgar.”  Is it a straightforward “hate” column that possibly steps over the line?  Is it meant to be impassioned to the point of satire?  Is it simply a spirited battle cry prior to a big football game (the two foes meet in mid-November)? Or is it a diatribe solely intended to anger BSU students and staff?

If its aim was the latter, mission accomplished.  The column definitely nabbed a spot under Kustra’s skin and caused him to lash out during a subsequent interview with the Idaho Statesman editorial board. In his apology, he noted, “It troubles me that the occasion of an annual football game causes the air waves and Internet to be full of disparagement of Boise State’s students, faculty and programs, year after year.”

As an outside observer and college football fan, my first two impressions: 1) I wonder if The Arbiter, Boise State’s student newspaper, will respond.  2) I cannot wait to watch this game.

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Back in November 2008, during an online chat, I told Center for Innovation in College Media director Bryan Murley: “College journalists don’t seem to really know quite yet how to handle new media as a news reporting and presentation platform. . . . I think we may be overestimating just how many students are truly adept at new media, and just how high their level of adeptness runs.”

Now, nearly two years later, in a mini state-of-the-student-press-2.0 address, Michael Koretzky has confirmed that college media are *still* missing what I call “the big online IOU”- Interactivity, Originality, and an Understanding of the web’s potential.

Koretzky criticizes a majority of college news media sites as cluttered, homely hack jobs filled with web-unfriendly shovelware.  “What’s so weirdly depressing is that I’ve seen many of these newspapers in print- and they kick ass,” he writes.  “From the design to the writing to the photography, you can tell talented students sweat and bled for their paper dreams.  Their print editions have verve.  Their online editions have templates.”

My take: For all the talk about the innate Internet abilities of the young, the mobile, and the wireless, the truth is that a large majority of current students still have no desire to contribute to the web world beyond basic user status. They fool around on Facebook, view YouTube videos, text until their thumbs bleed, and then go to sleep– phone on vibrate, new media potential unplugged.

“We’re content to exploit the Internet, not innovate in it,” writes Derek Flanzraich, a recent Harvard University graduate who launched an online television network while still in school.  “We’re lazy. . . . Generation X can invent the new web– and we’ll use it when/if we need it.”

As a March 2010 Economist article similarly confirmed, “Michael Wesch, who pioneered the use of new media in his cultural anthropology classes at Kansas State University . . . [says] that many of his incoming students have only a superficial familiarity with the digital tools that they use regularly, especially when it comes to the tools’ social and political potential. Only a small fraction of students may count as true digital natives.”

As a whole, journalism students, sadly, are not among them.  They have not gone (digitally) native to the degree they should. There are many reasons for j-students’ unplugged new media potential: laziness, lack of relevant knowledge and skill-sets (in part a knock on j-schools and departments), overworked student media staff, and a lingering print-first mentality whose merits are debatable (after all, print newspapers remain popular on campus and print still represents the largest stack of professional j-jobs, but of course times are a-changin’).

And so the time has come for a call to arms.  To all student journalists and the educators and advisers who love them: We must get beyond the shovelware mentality.  Posting a basic copy-paste of our print news products online is no longer enough.  We must stop citing the small-staff-already-overworked-still-learning-tech-stuff-no-funding-for-quality-redesign excuse.  It’s a new media world in collegemediatopia.  Web presence requires a different presentation style.  It’s not just about showing up.

(Update July 28, 2010: A new study in the International Journal of Communication further confirms the alarming truth about students’ lack of web savvy.)

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CMM 10 is a spotlighting of the 10 individuals who have mattered most to college media over the past academic year.  This inaugural edition honors a mix of standout student journalists, innovative student media entrepreneurs, and impassioned outside advocates of campus press 2.0.  With a hat tip to the annual Time 100, the posts announcing each honoree include a few words of adoration penned by a close friend or colleague.  Next up…

Dave Hendricks & Ryan Dunn

Founders and overseers, College News Network

Lewis & Clark. Mickey & Minnie. Adam & Eve. Bill & Hillary. Sonny & Cher. Lucy & Ricky. Bonnie & Clyde. Simon & Garfunkel. Hendricks & Dunn. The Ohio University journalist sensations are the latest, greatest duos to leave a lasting mark on the world (wide web)- and collegemediatopia.

Their contribution: College News Network. They began the nationwide student press content-sharing site last November in the wake of UWIRE’s sudden disappearance.  From the beginning, the start-up venture was an exemplar of web 2.0 and student journalism awesomeness.  Impassioned.  Interactive. Easy to operate. Run with minimal overhead and a manageable work routine. A needed service at just the right time.  THIS is CNN.

Left to right: Dave Hendricks and Ryan Dunn. (Hendricks photo by Courtney Hergesheimer.)

Dunn: “Doggedly Pursues Every Story, Every Time”

By Dave Hendricks

Several years before we founded the College News Network, Ryan Dunn covered cops in Athens, Ohio, for Ohio University’s student-run newspaper, The Post. In a town filled with eager but inexperienced journalism students, the cops weren’t interested in meeting or dealing with a new reporter. But Ryan waited.

He went to every crime scene he could, kept calling officers who wouldn’t call back and chased every story. And, eventually, some of the officers warmed up to him. He went on to cover some of the biggest news of the year, including the deaths of two students who overdosed on heroin. To this day, he’s probably the only person at the paper who could tell you what shift a given officer is on. Ryan doggedly pursues every story, every time. And he doesn’t give up.

Hendricks is the co-founder of College News Network and an editor at The Post.

Hendricks: “A Natural Reporter”

By Ryan Dunn

The first time I heard of Mr. Dave Murray Hendricks, Jr. was when I started working for The Summer Post, the weekly version of our student paper after the regular year’s courses wrapped up. I decided to take a few classes before freshman year started, and was riding high with a story or two on a couple front pages.

On the fourth issue of my journalism career, I see seven (!) Dave Hendricks bylines. I asked my future editor how I could do this. She told me I don’t want to be like Dave, as journalism, well, let’s say took a priority over school. That sums him up well, and it was something I always shot for.  Over three years, I worked very closely with Dave at The Post and College News Network, the latter of which we co-founded. If I were a corrupt and well-paid administrator for any organization (God willing), Dave’s is one of the last calls I would take. With a dogmatic drive and knack for asking questions that yield great answers, he’s a natural reporter.

Dunn is the co-founder of College News Network and an editor at The Post.

Other CMM 10 honorees:

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Karla Bowsher, University Press

Adam Goldstein, Student Press Law Center

Windsor Hanger, Stephanie Kaplan & Annie Wang, Her Campus

Davis Shaver, Onward State

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This CMM series features a sampling of crazy cool, highly relevant or offbeat stories by student journalists that can be localized for different campus audiences- along with suggestions on ways to create and present that content. Next up…

Senior Thesis Spotlights

Dance in colonial America. Radicalism in Wesleyan University’s past. A photographic “cardboard city.” These topics and creative pursuits were among the works featured in a series published throughout this past spring by The Wesleyan Argus.  The Argus pieces are straightforward profiles or Q&As with final-year students discussing their long-term passion projects: their senior theses.

The spotlights serve a dual role: profiling an eclectic slate of students (including a wrestling champion, a self-described student radical, and an opera lover) and helping fill a worthy news niche- student schoolwork.  Let’s be honest, among the many stories run on students’ awesomeness in athletics, extracurriculars, internships, volunteering, and outside artistic or business ventures, features on their research activities or classroom achievement are rare.  And usually for good reason: On the face of it, they are not newsworthy. (Literally, what comes to mind at the moment are student newspaper features on random lab achievements by science students- usually at the grad. school level.)

The Argus angle rocks that non-newsworthy assumption, providing a model for other campus media to follow.  Seek out especially intriguing, offbeat or impacting academic work undertaken by your student peers.  Senior theses are obvious selections, but many advanced courses or separate research-for-credit opportunities offer students the opportunity to add to existing knowledge or make a creative contribution.

Keep the profiles or Q&As short.  (I like the NYT Magazine style in that respect, such as this Eminem interview.)  And focus on the student as much as his or her research– the wrestler-dance researcher profile shown above is a perfect example.

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CMM 10 is a spotlighting of the 10 individuals who have mattered most to college media over the past academic year.  This inaugural edition honors a mix of standout student journalists, innovative student media entrepreneurs, and impassioned outside advocates of campus press 2.0.  With a hat tip to the annual Time 100, the posts announcing each honoree include a few words of adoration penned by a close friend or colleague.  Next up…

Karla Bowsher

Editor in chief, The University Press, Florida Atlantic University

In the “Photo of the Day” now featured on The University Press website, a golden silk spider is in full focus, navigating a tightly-woven web in the Florida sun.  The picture resonates with UP’s own current tangled reality. The Florida Atlantic University student newspaper is caught in a web of intrigue involving a beloved ousted adviser, a replacement student media director so far less-than-respected, a band of administrators who have pressured j-students to do things their way, and a set of slighted staffers trying to suck it up and cover FAU daily.

Karla Bowsher, UP’s editor in chief, is the woman at the web’s center. Previously, as the paper’s copy chief, she helped heal the “open, oozing, pus-ridden sore” that was the UP copyediting system.  The current sore she battles oozes censorship.  Even while still extremely new to the EIC post, she has passionately stood her ground in the face of administrative threats.  She has been unafraid to publicly challenge school officials for their off-kilter words and behaviors.  She has rallied her UP peers to continue reporting the news.  And she has continued reporting herself, writing pieces that “snarkily hold FAU’s powers-that-be accountable.”

Unlike that of the pictured golden silk spider, the web in which Bowsher finds herself is not of her own making.  But she is making the most of it– and earning the respect of the journalism establishment and free speech advocates along the way.

Photo by Devin Desjarlais

“Karla Uses Journalism for More Than Just Reporting”

By Michael Koretzky

Karla Bowsher is probably the most famous student editor in the country this summer- not bad for a Spanish Studies major who started the job only a few weeks ago.  I believe Karla was genetically engineered to handle the controversy embroiling FAU right now. She’s proven immune to the administration tactics that have broken other student leaders. When she’s been threatened, she researches the rules and learns she can’t be punished. When she’s ignored, she keeps asking relevant questions. When she’s dictated to, she stands up for herself and her staff.

In other words, Karla uses journalism for more than just reporting on her university. She uses journalism to preserve her newspaper’s independence. I’ve never seen Karla lose her cool, either in front of her staff or behind the scenes. and when the heat is on, she cooks. She’s been firm but not rude, fervent but not melodramatic, opinionated but not dogmatic.  All you need to know about Karla you can hear for yourself. Catch her in action…

Koretzky is a veteran journalist and the former paid adviser and current volunteer adviser for The University Press.

Other CMM 10 honorees:

Adam Goldstein, Student Press Law Center

Windsor Hanger, Stephanie Kaplan & Annie Wang, Her Campus

Davis Shaver, Onward State

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CMM 10 is a spotlighting of the 10 individuals who have mattered most to college media over the past academic year.  This inaugural edition honors a mix of standout student journalists, innovative student media entrepreneurs, and impassioned outside advocates of campus press 2.0.  With a hat tip to the annual Time 100, the posts announcing each honoree include a few words of adoration penned by a close friend or colleague.  Next up…

Davis Shaver

Founder & publisher, Onward State, Penn State University

Nowadays, the most interesting student media outlets are not just being staffed.  They are being created.  Davis Shaver’s creation, Onward State, is among the most prominent new players in collegemediatopia- a flash-bang success with recognized staying power.  Shaver is being called an online whiz kid and the potential “future of alternative student media.”  I would not be surprised if he sports a secret Journalism 3.0 tattoo.  His new media methods are laudable, and so is his timeless aim: delivering news and commentary of interest and importance to students.

“His Work Ethic and Drive Match His Vision”

By Evan Kalikow

The thing that has always impressed me about Davis is that his work ethic and drive match his vision. A lot of times, people will have great ideas, but they won’t have the dedication to go through with them. Not so with Davis. From the first day I knew him, he had a great idea for a student-run blog about Penn State. Thanks in large part to his pragmatism and dedication, that blog is now a reality and has been going strong for almost two years.

On a more personal note, another great thing about Davis is his diverse sense of humor. He can appreciate a well-crafted and witty joke about current affairs, philosophy, culture, etc., and then turn around and laugh at a poop joke (and believe me, we’ve exchanged plenty of both). It’s something I’ve always admired.

Kalikow is standards editor at Onward State.

Other CMM 10 honorees:

Adam Goldstein, Student Press Law Center

Windsor Hanger, Stephanie Kaplan & Annie Wang, Her Campus

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