Archive for October, 2011

A student journalist at the Rochester Institute of Technology was arrested Friday evening while covering the Occupy Rochester protest in New York.

Jonathan Foster, a staff photographer for RIT’s weekly student magazine Reporter, was returning to the protest park after grabbing a pen from his car when police grabbed him.  His detainment was part of a larger park eviction effort that resulted in 32 total arrests.

At the time, as the above photo shows, he was wearing a shirt with the word REPORTER emblazoned across the front.  As Foster told The Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, “I’d like to plead not guilty under the First Amendment’s protections for freedom of the press.”

RIT journalism student Chris Zubak-Skees put together an excellent Storify summary of the arrest.  Among the info it reveals: Police took Foster into custody, but not the broadcast journalists also in the area.  Yet, they were nice enough to pass his camera along to an RIT professor.

Read Full Post »

Along with the sessions, Universal CityWalk excursions, publication critiques, and hotel craziness during the last few days in Orlando, the online conversation among students and advisers attending the ACP/CMA National College Media Convention has been robust.

Twitter has been the epicenter of that conversation, hashtag #ncmc11.  Hundreds (thousands?) of tweets offered quotes and lessons from the sessions, related praise and criticism for the presenters, informal late-night drinking invitations, complaints about the host hotel’s Internet, and observations about people peeing, puking, passing gas, and partying (including on the Renaissance SeaWorld rooftop).

Among the funnier, more insightful, and, ahem, colorful tweets:

Read Full Post »

Editors at The Wesleyan Argus recently retracted a controversial opinion piece about “the horrors of single-sex education.”  They are now running a pair of apologies to readers in its place.

The article was written by a Wesleyan University junior who transferred to the Connecticut coed school from Bryn Mawr College.  She described the write-up as a “showcase . . . of the stereotypes I encountered as a student during my first two years at Bryn Mawr and to explain why a women’s college was not right for me.”

As the article notes at one point, “Socially, going to a women’s college means almost literally screaming ‘Death to the Patriarchy!’ all day, every day. It means bloody tampons strewn all over the bathroom floor. It means glaring at the coed schools’ sports teams who come to your campus to eat your chicken wings. It means taking a bus to other schools on the weekends to do unmentionable things with aforementioned sports teams. It really isn’t normal.”

Soon after its publication, online commenters– many of them “alumni and students of women’s colleges who adamantly assert that no such incidents occur at their institutions”– unleashed a torrent of criticism.  They called the write-up a stereotype-affirming hit piece based solely on anecdotes, “ludicrous cliches,” and one student’s limited experiences.

They also attacked the headline.  While the article focuses solely on the student’s time at Bryn Mawr, the header references Wellesley College, another reputable women’s-only school.  Specifically, it reads, “Wesleyan v. Wellesley: “Rather Dead than Coed?”  As the writer later explained, rather inexplicably, “Wellesley is mentioned in the title of the article because the two schools [Wesleyan and Wellesley] are often confused with each other due to their similarity in nomenclature.”

In response to critics’ attacks, the Argus made the rare decision to remove the article entirely from its website, instead posting separate apologies from the editors and the writer.  As the editors’ statement notes, “We failed to uphold our duty to ensure that articles, op-eds or otherwise, do not unfairly target individuals or groups.  Many of the author’s assertions in this piece were unfounded, and we apologize to those who were hurt or offended by them.”

In a Chronicle of Higher Education post, Wesleyan professor Claire Potter agrees the paper’s top eds. erred enough to warrant a public mea culpa.  As she asks on her blog Tenured Radical, “[W]hy did the editors . . . publish it in the first place?  Editors, even student editors, are supposed to edit, which means telling writers when they are about to do something stupid, ill-informed and/or wrong.”

Read Full Post »

Harvard University junior Hemi Gandhi calls it the Facebook Index.  The phrase describes what he has found to be a “widely-accepted phenomenon” at Harvard: students obsessively checking Facebook, news sites, and their email during class.

“The degree of Internet browsing . . . varies widely from class to class, and from student to student,” Gandhi writes in a new piece for The Harvard Crimson.  “However, by and large, Facebook during class has become so ubiquitous that no one even questions it.  Students and professors seem to accept this as a routine part of Harvard life.”

What are the root causes of this routine, one that certainly stretches to college classes far beyond Harvard’s ivy-covered campus?  In his Crimson article, Gandhi most prominently links students’ in-class Facebooking to the quality of the classes themselves and students’ desire to make the most of their time.

In an informal sampling, his Harvard peers told him they are most likely to check Facebook during a class session when “[a] professor starts regurgitating exactly what they’ve read in the textbook; paying attention won’t clarify confusion; a professor starts on a random tangent that is neither interesting nor relevant; students need a break to re-focus; students feel pressed for time and decide to multitask.”

In Gandhi’s words, “Harvard students are generally pragmatic and hyper-concerned about maximizing their Return On Time Investment.  During class, students will give their attention to whatever they think will give them the most utility in each moment. Past generations of students must also have wanted to maximize their ROTI during class. But technological innovation has provided today’s students with more options to do so in real time, via their smartphones and laptops.”

Read Full Post »

Later this week, I will be in Orlando with the rest of the college media masses for the ACP/CMA national convention.  Now in its 90th year, the event is billed as “the largest gathering of collegiate student journalists and advisers in the world.”

I’ll be presenting at four sessions, touching on a mix of high-minded and R-rated topics.  The session names and related info are below.  If you are among the convention attendees, please stop by at least one to say hi!

100+ Story Ideas

It all starts with the story. From behind the scenes to under the covers, two veteran journalists and advisers will whip through ideas for more than 100 stories that will surprise, entice or charm your readers. Even better, they’ll teach you how you and your staffs can generate your own.

Coral Ballroom B, Lobby Level, Friday, 12:30-1:20 p.m.

Sex, Sex, Sex: Covering Campus Love, Lust, and Every Kink in Between

It’s more popular in college than ever — in column form. College newspaper sex columns have helped revolutionize student journalism and defined a new sexual generation.  This session — led by the author of Sex and the University, a book on the student sex column movement — will briefly share the story of these columns and offer advice to students and advisers considering launching a sex or dating feature of their own. Tips will include an outline of hurdles to avoid, topics to tackle, and formats to take. Carrie Bradshaw will make an appearance (via PowerPoint).

Oceans Ballroom 11, Lobby Level, Friday, 1:30-2:20 p.m.

College Media Research Paper Presentations

The Professional Development and Research committee proudly presents the top three papers from the annual Ken Nordin award competition. See the research conducted by your colleagues and help us acknowledge the winner of this year’s Nordin Award. The First Place for the Ken Nordin Award goes to Cliff Brockman, Bob Bergland and Dave Hon for their article on the Pacemakers Winners Circle. The Second Place goes to Daniel Reimold for his article titled: “A Voice of Independence: The Founding of Iraq’s Free Student Press.”  The Third Place was awarded to Carol Terracina-Hartman and Robert Nulph for their article: “Credentialling of Campus Media Advisers”

Atlantis B, Lobby Level, Friday, 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.

Planning and Publishing a Successful Magazine Edition

Once or twice a semester or academic year, a well-timed special magazine edition can add a glossy spark to the ink-stained grind of regular newspaper work. This session — led by the adviser and principal editors in charge of an award-winning student news magazine — will offer tips to students and advisers considering launching a magazine edition of their own. Tips will cover every production stage — from initial conception and early planning to design, printing costs, reporting challenges, and online options.

Grouper, 2nd Floor, Saturday, 12:30 – 1:20 p.m.

Read Full Post »

A short write-up in a student newspaper at a New York college about a sorority’s suspension has led to threats, thefts, trashing, and a level of attention and vitriol editors confirm is unprecedented.

The Concordiensis recently published a roughly 100-word article confirming that Union College administrators were temporarily banning campus sorority Delta Delta Delta from doing, well, anything, including “new member/pledge activities, meetings, social events, philanthropy events, and educational programming.”  The suspension stems from an incident earlier this month that resulted in four students being hospitalized for alcohol-related ailments.

The outside press picked up on the Concordy‘s initial report and, by all accounts, it reads as reputable journalism.  Yet, a spate of Union students have strongly objected to its publication.  They have demeaned it as a hit piece on what should be a privately-handled matter and claim it lacks context and well-rounded sourcing.

Concordy editors confirm the article generated roughly eight times the paper’s normal online traffic.  It also led to a rash of vile-filled comments.  The first one following the piece matches the tone of many: “This is disgusting . . . that this went to print.  Firstly, it is poorly written, secondly who cares, thirdly the facts are all wrong.  Concordy, disappointed.  Sad excuse of a paper.”

In a follow-up editorial, the paper’s editors-in-chief defend the story as an example of the Concordy‘s role “as a conduit of campus information and discussion.”  The facts back up their assertion: the information the paper reported upon was verified; it has newsworthy value (drinking and hospitalization and a Greek org suspension, oh my!); and it has been fleshed out in follow-up reports.  That’s decent journalism, folks.

And this is censorship.  As an editorial confirms, in the wake of the piece’s publication, there have been “[n]ewspapers trashed. Secret notes slipped into editor’s bags. An anonymous phone call threatening a member of our staff. It has been an interesting week here at the Concordiensis.  On Thursday, about 900 copies of our newspaper were stolen from distribution boxes around campus and trashed in nearby recycling bins.  No students were apprehended.”

In a separate commentary, as Delta Delta Delta-gate continues, Concordy staffer Erin Delman praises the paper for stirring “passionate debate.”  As she writes in the piece, headlined, “On the Role of Student Newspapers,” “The Delta Delta Delta article aroused an intense emotional response across campus. While some criticize the article for being the catalyst for this reaction, I see it as a positive testament to the validity of the Concordiensis.  It must continue to serve as the uncensored venue through which students can learn about the news at Union.”

Read Full Post »

This semester, university students, professors and staff are riding bicycles in record numbers.  As campuses expand, gas prices surge, and parking spaces dwindle, more bikes are being put to use to travel to and from classes, office hours, club meetings, sporting events, and social hangouts.

“The bicycle is an incredible invention, providing fast, inexpensive transportation while enhancing fitness,” a University of Pennsylvania administrator who bikes to work said in a recent Daily Pennsylvanian report about the rise in faculty and staff ridership.  “I can’t imagine sitting in a car back and forth to work, and then having to drive to a gym to get exercise.  I’d never do that.”

One effort being put into place or expanded at an increasing number of schools to meet spoke-and-wheel demand: Bicycle-sharing programs.

For example, at Michigan’s Oakland University, a single bike with bad brakes has grown over the past two years into a campus-wide initiative featuring a fleet of more than 250 pink women’s bicycles available for student use free of charge.  As The Oakland Post reports, “They may be pink, but these trusty transporters demand some respect.”

A similar sharing program exists at New York University.  It offers free bikes and training for those looking to tackle the campus and city on two wheels.  “The growth of the Bike Share program is important because not only is it a clean, healthy way to travel, but it also encourages community,” the program’s co-founder told Washington Square News staff writer Gentry Brown.  “I’ve seen students come to trainings with friends, check out bikes together, and use the bike share to go out on picnics and explore the city.”

To read more, click here or on the image below.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: