Archive for April, 2011

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Update: Portion of a Friday morning message to college media advisers from Paul Wright in the UA Office of Student Media… “The Crimson White staff continues to do a great job of reporting from a house in Northport (across the river from Tuscaloosa). At last count, 12 of the CW staff were working to get information out from the only place where they could find power. There have only been two confirmed student deaths, but everyone believes there will be more. I have not heard of any deaths or serious injuries among the Student Media student staffers. Some have been displaced from damaged homes and apartments.”

Kudos to The Crimson Whitethe University of Alabama’s daily student newspaper, for its comprehensive, real-time coverage of the tornado that tore through UA’s hometown Tuscaloosa two days ago and the death, destruction, and emotional devastation being grappled with in its aftermath.

In the storm’s wake, the paper’s journalistic prowess has been on full display. Staffers have been delivering frequent related stories, photo series, and video reports– and a slew of tweets.  On its online masthead, beneath its name, a three-word phrase now sums up the CW’s mission: “Providing Disaster Updates.”  It has also switched two of its main section headers to “Tornado Coverage” and “Tornado Latest.”


Among the updates online and in print, the paper has reported on victims’ and eyewitnesses’ accounts of the storm; Tuscaloosa buildings and businesses that have been either damaged or destroyed; the plight of displaced UA students taking umbrage in the campus recreation center; and President Obama’s visit to the area to tour the destruction.

Separately, the most compelling visuals the paper has captured and constructed: a photo series meshing shots of well-known Tuscaloosa spots before and after the tornado hit.

CW has also been interactive, requesting storm photos from readers and residents on its homepage.  Staffers have also employed Twitter to help others check the whereabouts of UA students and staff who have not yet been located or heard from (sample tweet below).

Amid the uncertainty, the paper posted what news reports indicate was the first confirmed list of UA students killed by the storm.  Yet, earlier this afternoon, the online story was “temporarily removed.”  An editor’s note in its place indicates the paper and university are still carrying out the sad task of determining the exact number.

Roughly 60 miles away, The Kaleidoscope at the University of Alabama Birmingham has also updated its homepage with related information and a photo series.

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A trio of Ohio printing companies recently “refused to publish the latest issue of a student LGBTQ magazine at Kent State University due to content they deemed overly sexual and vulgar.

Fusion, sporting the tagline (and the web address) “That Gay Magazine,” focuses on “sexual minority issues within the general university population.”  According to a Campus Progress report, the printers were apparently miffed about two main parts of the mag’s spring issue– the F-word’s prominent placement in the headline of a cross-dressing photo spread (“Gender Fuck”) and a separate photo of a man in a leotard sporting, ahem, a noticeable bulge in the crotch.

A rep for one of the printers: “We actually asked them [the student editors] to adjust the content of Fusion based on the F-word and on what we’re calling some graphic material, which involved some pictures of genitalia, and we’re just not comfortable producing that type of content.”

The sad irony: That particular printer has produced this “type of content” before. Campus Progress: “Freeport has been Fusion’s publisher for several years, even as the magazine published a spread in its spring 2010 issue depicting underwear-clad men kissing intimately.  Freeport also published the word ‘fuck’ at least three times in two previous issues of Fusion, released fall 2009 and winter 2011.”

The printers’ content concerns also seem antiquated in an age in which F-bombs and noticeable bulges are in earshot and eyeshot of the public in countless films, TV shows, podcasts, print media, classic works of literature, and performances including Broadway shows and the ballet.

In addition, as someone who has literally written the book on this and read more campus sex and LGBT magazines than anyone on Earth, I can confirm Fusion‘s current issue is no more vulgar, sexually explicit or just-plain offensive than all other pubs of its type that have been distributed over the past decade on campuses nationwide.

This is a quality mag, mixing high-minded sexual (orientation) exploration with catchy stories and spreads that positively challenge the status quo of gender, love, and lust.  Its latest challenger: censorship, “tinged with homophobia.”

Fortunately, a fourth printer contacted by Fusion staffers agreed to publish the issue. Click here or on the screenshot of the cover above to take a look.

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College Broadcasters, Inc. (CBI) is calling for a moment of silence on college radio stations at exactly 11 a.m. EST this Thursday.  According to CBI, the aim of the synchronized dead air scheme is to “bring awareness of the deep impact that the sale of student radio stations is having on campuses and their surrounding communities.”

In recent years, an increasing number of high-profile terrestrial student radio stations have been sold or operate under the threat or rumor of sale.   The bottom line of the many rationales offered by an array of administrators is money– and universities not having enough of it or wanting more of it and looking for the easiest ways to make it.  The result, as impassioned college radio scholar Jennifer Waits has written, even the most popular, reputable, and venerable student stations are being eyed as “potential purchase targets.”

CBI president Candace Walton: “The recent sale of stations like KUSF at the University of San Francisco, KTRU at Rice University and WNAZ at Trevecca Nazrene University indicates that college broadcasters need to do a better job of explaining their value and purpose to the schools and communities they serve.  This minute of silence is just the first step in a broader effort to make the nation aware of how critical student stations are to localism in broadcasting.”

KUSF’s sudden shutdown/sale right before semester’s start has spurred some of the most dramatic moments in the ongoing battle for college radio’s terrestrial presence.

Below are screenshots of two must-watch related videos– KUSF staff approaching a USF administrator almost immediately after being kicked out of the station and a public forum the next night presided over by USF’s president (also a Jesuit priest).

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Citing concerns about the school’s budget and legacy media’s relevance in the modern world, the president of California’s Modesto Junior College recently ordered the closing of the MJC mass communications program, including courses in “journalism, radio, television, film, and the instructors who teach these courses.”

Also among the casualties: The Pirates’ Log, MJC’s roughly 85-year-old student newspaper.

MJC President Gaither Loewenstein’s main mission appears to be staving off an $8 million budget deficit expected for the next academic year.  In a 20-page rationale document critics are calling “hastily written” and “shoddily argued,” Loewenstein wrote that mass comm.’s apparently lessening value makes it most ripe for cuts.

In his words, “Simply put, 20th century delivery mechanisms such as broadcasting and print media have lost much of their cultural relevance and employment potential in this modern era. In light of resource limitations, MJC must focus on maintaining its strength in the core disciplines of art, music and theatre, which will provide students with the creative skills set they need to apply their talents in the age of new media.”

What will journalism look like in the age of new media?  Loewenstein wrote that it will appear as “the convergence of computer graphics, gaming, digital applications and the Internet as means of delivery with content derived from the traditional disciplines of art, music and theatre.”  To repeat the latter part of this sentiment, in bold: “content derived from . . . art, music and theatre.”  (Editorial aside: Huh?)

An editorial in the current/final issue of the Pirates’ Log, headlined “We Thought We Were of Importance,” shared, “During President Loewenstein’s first semester in office at Modesto Junior College, he stopped by the Pirates’ Log newsroom and . . . emphasized the importance of student journalism for campus and academic life. Every college has to have a school paper, the staff heard him say. . . . So why did he change his mind? Did his views change so drastically in only one semester? Or was his statement to us a smokescreen? What will happen when there is no student voice left– a dictatorship?”

An MJC mass comm. faculty member facing a layoff in the wake of the cuts: “It’s silencing the voice of the students.  Students don’t have a newspaper; students don’t have the radio station.  They don’t have the television or even student films to tell their stories. . . . I think students are resilient.  I think students will come up with clubs.  I think now with the Internet they’ll have their own radio. . . . I think that’s what the college hopes.  That they’ll find a way without the expense of these programs. But these programs are not that expensive; they’re self-sustaining.”

On the top left corner of the Pirates’ Log homepage, the text of an inspirational poem of sorts has been placed atop the image of a headstone.  Its main message: Somehow, the newspaper will one day publish again.  Its title: “Never Surrender.”

A portion of the message appearing on the Pirates’ Log homepage headstone:

In print, in pen, in loud and fiery words. 

Our voice will never quiet, our voice will be heard.

On seas of ink and storms above us, the shore far out of sight.

The adventure may be ending, but we will never halt the fight. . . .

Whipped with censors, our backs bleeding, but our will still intact.

We entered here on a dream and left with a pact.

To never surrender, to drown with this ship. . . .

To never stop writing, we are this generation’s ears, and eyes

And an ever-growing voice.

We cannot be demolished, when to thrive is our choice.

In print, in pen, in heart.

You can tell us this is the end, but we will only see it as the start.

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“Being the editor has always been a bitch– a full-time job for part-time pay, the staff challenging your authority at every turn, and readers blaming you for any mistake they find in the paper. And you still have to go to class.”

In a new post, the self-proclaimed Journoterrorist does not mince words about a college newspaper editorship’s difficulties– at one point it’s compared only slightly tongue-in-cheek to surviving cancer.  But JT also lays out a half dozen perks, personal ones, away from the general idealistic benefits of informing others and spreading truth.

For the complete post, click here.  Among the highlights:

1. It’s one hell of a resume line.

“[I]t’s a title that instantly separates you from the thousands of other j-school grads who flood the job market every December and June….”

2. You win even if you suck.

“Unless you burned the newsroom to the ground or got yourself sued in a high-profile libel case, only the hiring editors at the media outlet within spitting distance of your campus will be even vaguely aware of the actual job you did.  And even then, they won’t give a crap….”

3. You’ll ace every job interview for the rest of your life.

4. You’ll embrace the dark side.

“Most hiring editors I know– and I was one myself– feel a little more comfortable around a young journalist who’s sat in the big chair. We figure you’ve confronted, at least for a semester, some of the same problems and crappy attitudes we do every day….”

5. You’ll learn some serious sh*t no professor can teach you.

“Being editor of your student newspaper is the first time you’ll ever be in charge of something substantial without an adult wielding veto power. . . . [Y]ou oversee a . . . budget. You hire the staff. And if any adults try to f*ck with your freedom of the press, you call other adults who defend you.”

6. If it doesn’t kill you, it makes you…

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In the latest issue of College Media Review, Sex and the University is praised as a book that employs “old-fashioned reporting as well as scholarly research to shed light on [the] decades-old trend” of sex in student journalism.  It is described as a text relevant to journalism, public health, sociology, and women’s studies.

As Pat Winters Lauro, a Kean University j-prof and former New York Daily News staffer, writes at the close of her critique: “Sex and the University is an important tome because it documents a phenomenon that has not been given much serious attention other than what the author cites as the sometimes voyeuristic media coverage by the commercial press.  Certainly, it’s not your typical academic tome.  It is original, provocative and controversial.  In fact, like the sex columns themselves, Sex and the University is the kind of book you will find yourself either loving or hating.  One thing is certain, though, you will not put it down.”  (Full review pages 20-21)

Sex and the University: Celebrity, Controversy, and a Student Journalism Revolution

Student Newspapers Appearing in the Book:

The Acorn (Drew University)

The Argosy (Mount Allison University)

The Badger Herald (University of Wisconsin-Madison)

The Bottom Line (Frostburg State University)

The California Aggie (University of California, Davis)

The Carolinian (University of North Carolina at Greensboro)

The Cavalier Daily (University of Virginia)

The Collegian (South Dakota State University)

The Columbia Spectator (Columbia University)

The Cornell Daily Sun (Cornell University)

The Crestiad (Cedar Crest College)

The Crimson White (University of Alabama)

The CU Independent (University of Colorado-Boulder, previously Campus Press)

The Daily Barometer (Oregon State University)

The Daily Bruin (University of California, Los Angeles)

The Daily Californian (University of California, Berkeley)

The Daily Campus (University of Connecticut)

The Daily Cardinal (University of Louisville)

The Daily Evergreen (Washington State University)

The Daily Kansan (Kansas University)

The Daily Mississippian (University of Mississippi)

The Daily Nebraskan (University of Nebraska-Lincoln)

The Daily Nexus (University of California, Santa Barbara)

The Daily Northwestern (Northwestern University)

The Daily of the University of Washington

The Daily Reveille (Louisiana State University)

The Daily Trojan (University of Southern California)

The Daily Wildcat (University of Arizona)

The Dartmouth (Dartmouth College)

The Dartmouth Free Press (Dartmouth College)

The Diamondback (University of Maryland)

The Driftwood (University of New Orleans)

The Emory Wheel (Emory University)

The Flat Hat (The College of William & Mary)

The GW Hatchet (George Washington University)

The Harvard Crimson (Harvard University)

The Harvard Independent (Harvard University)

The Heights (Boston College)

The Hoya (Georgetown University)

The Independent Florida Alligator (University of Florida)

The Johns Hopkins News-Letter (Johns Hopkins University)

The Lumberjack (Northern Arizona University)

The McGill Daily (McGill University)

The Montana Kaimin (University of Montana)

The Michigan Daily (University of Michigan)

The Muhlenberg Weekly (Muhlenberg College)

The Muse (Memorial University of Newfoundland)

The Nevada Sagebrush (University of Nevada Reno)

The New Paltz Oracle (State University of New York at New Paltz)

The News Record (University of Cincinnati)

The Old Gold & Black (Wake Forest University)

The Oracle (University of South Florida)

The Phoenix (Swarthmore College)

The Pitt News (University of Pittsburgh)

The Post (Ohio University)

The Rebel Yell (University of Nevada Las Vegas)

The Red and Black (University of Georgia)

The Reporter (Stetson University)

The Review (University of Delaware)

The Sidelines (Middle Tennessee State University)

The Sophian (Smith College)

The Stanford Daily (Stanford University)

The Student Printz (University of Southern Mississippi)

The Tartan (Carnegie Mellon University)

The Temple News (Temple University)

The Towerlight (Towson University)

The Tufts Daily (Tufts University)

The University News (University of Missouri-Kansas City)

The University Star (Texas State University)

The Voyager (University of West Florida)

The Washington Square News (New York University)

The Yale Daily News (Yale University)

College Sex Magazines Appearing in the Book:

H Bomb (Harvard University)

Open (Rice University)

Quake (University of Pennsylvania)

Redlight (McGill University)

Sex Week at Yale: The Magazine (Yale University)

Squirm (Vassar College)

Unlocked (Wesleyan)

Virgin Mawtyr (Bryn Mawr)

Vita Excolatur (University of Chicago)

X-Magazine (Washington University in St. Louis)

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There is a typo battle brewing in Alabama between student newspapers at the state’s two most prominent schools.  In a post last week, I featured a rare front page typo in The Crimson White, the top-notch student newspaper at the University of Alabama.

It prompted a response from Mark Mayfield, the editorial adviser to student publications at the school.  His message included a photo of a fairly cringe-tastic typo in a late March issue of The Auburn Plainsman, the award-winning campus newspaper at Auburn University.

Below is the Plainsman slip.  Beneath that is the Crimson White ‘Tuscaloosa’ gaffe.  In your opinion, which is worse?

A portion of Mayfield’s email:

I see you published an Auburn University professor’s photo of that ‘Tuscaloosa’ typo in The Crimson White. Ed Williams, the [Auburn University] professor, is on my Facebook friends list. That’s the same photo he took, and posted on Facebook, when he was here to accept a UA award.

Since Ed was so kind as to start this skirmish between Alabama and Auburn newspapers, perhaps you’ll be interested in the attached photo . . . of the cover of a March 31 special section in The Auburn Plainsman. Seems they invented a new season.

The Crimson White, by the way, just won SPJ’s Mark of Excellence Award as the best college daily in the region. Unlike The Auburn Plainsman, which is a weekly, the CW publishes four times a week.  In other words, Auburn has a lot more time on their hands to check for typos.  But obviously a week isn’t quite enough.

Cheers,

Mark Mayfield

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