Archive for January, 2012

By Katelyn Sweigart

Caught in the Web is a CMM feature created and maintained by Katelyn Sweigart, web editor of The Mustang Daily and a senior journalism student at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  It lays out a range of web tools and platforms aimed at helping student journalists up their writing, reporting, and multimedia awesomeness.


Hands down one of the best ways to create a multimedia piece that includes a lot of social media.  Start with a headline and description.  You can then embed Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Flickr, Instagram, Google searches, and any old embed code– the kicker being that it’s all from the site’s dashboard so you don’t have to open new windows or do a lot of copying and pasting.  Just click and drag the “elements” you want into the provided document and publish.  It is also a plugin for WordPress.


This is a much more innovative and dynamic slideshow than Microsoft’s PowerPoint or Apple’s Keynote.  You can, however, import the slides from PowerPoint or Keynote.  It’s hosted online, but you can download the “Prezi” to play offline on a PC or Mac.  You can also embed it.  You are given a huge blank workspace where you can zoom in and out and create an animation that does this for you.  You can also embed YouTube videos and images.

Here is an example of one I created for a feature article in the Mustang Daily.


This site creates a collage that scrolls horizontally.  Add images, videos, audio bytes, music, hyperlinks, and text.  You can create image cutouts, “hotspots” that pop up different media, and transitions.  Grab images from your computer, Flickr, Picasa, or SmugMug.  It’s perfect for a timeline.  I must caution that the few times I’ve used it it’s had some trouble with certain audio files and it has had a tendency to go down.

Caught in the Web graphic by Steven Simily

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According to recent reports, fewer students are packing into Cameron Indoor Stadium to watch Coach K and Duke University basketball.  My guess: They are home scrolling through The Chronicle.  The student newspaper at Duke University has further upped its digital awesomeness, rolling out a new web platform is boldly dubbing “Chron 2.0.

The video below lays out the basics of the site, which “emphasizes visuals and incorporates more interactive features, such as integration with Facebook and Twitter.”

In a related Chronicle story, the paper’s online operations managing director Dean Chen tells Maggie Spini, “What we’re releasing is what . . . the industry generally calls the minimum viable product.  What most products do nowadays, is release the bare minimum to the market, instead of trying to predict what viewers want.”

My Take: Over the past year, the Duke daily has become one of my favorite student press outlets.  The current staff has upped the paper’s editorial A-game to its highest levels yet.  Now, it has a fantastic site to go with it.

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A column by a Dartmouth University student outlining the many degrading acts he endured while pledging a fraternity in 2010 has earned national attention for its extremely candid glimpse at hazing.

As senior Andrew Lohse wrote at one point in the piece, headlined “Telling the Truth”: “I was a member of a fraternity that asked pledges, in order to become a brother, to: swim in a kiddie pool full of vomit, urine, fecal matter, semen and rotten food products; eat omelets made of vomit; chug cups of vinegar, which in one case caused a pledge to vomit blood; drink beers poured down fellow pledges’ ass cracks; and vomit on other pledges, among other abuses. Certainly, pledges could have refused these orders. However, under extreme peer pressure and the desire to ‘be a brother,’ most acquiesced.”

He also makes a rather startling claim— one backed up the university– that his complaint to the university at the time failed to trigger much action because he wanted to remain anonymous.  My first reaction: Of course he wanted to maintain anonymity!  Why should that negate a proper investigation?  He has now lent his name to a piece offering a staggering array of charges against the school and the frat.

Bottom line: The column should absolutely serve as a trigger for a renewed look at hazing practices and reporting procedures.

Questions for a Related Report

Is hazing happening in any form among student groups on your campus, including within Greek orgs or athletic teams?  Depending, what exactly is going on?  How much of it is public?  How much of it is considered off-limits by the school or by law?  Who is being affected?  Any new trends or, nowadays, digital elements?  What are the reactions of those who have been through it, including alumni?  What is your school’s official policy and who is the point-person on handling complaints and investigations?  What are the related investigation procedures?  How are the parent organizations/national chapters involved?  How does oversight and enforcement work with groups operating from off-campus housing or ‘underground’?

Multimedia Options

1) A photo slideshow or video report following a single fraternity or sorority pledge class as they endure the process of becoming a full-blown brother or sister.  2) A photo rundown of the funnier, more public, and more lighthearted hazing stunts, such as the odd clothes, props or facial hairs some pledges and new student-athletes must wear, carry with them or grow.  3) A narrative slideshow displaying undercover video of hazing incidents or simply photos of Greek houses or other relevant B-roll while an anonymous student voice brings us behind the scenes of this behavior.

Offbeat Option

A first-person report in which an intrepid staffer goes through the more public or offbeat hazing rituals laid out each year by campus clubs or teams.

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2012 is only a month old and it is already a mortal lock: Journalism’s word of the year is entrepreneurial.  It is being bandied about by j-profs and programs everywhere, finagling its way into existing course syllabi, new courses, full degrees, books, and workshops.


Among its most prominent early sightings:

1) The School of Communications at American University is launching a “10-course, 20-month master’s [program] in media entrepreneurship” that should earn formal approval soon and kick off in the fall.

2) At the start of the year, Arizona State University’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication staged its first Journalism Entrepreneurship Institute for a select crew of j-profs.

3) Last October, Entrepreneurial Journalism, the latest book from news media guru Mark Briggs, was unveiled.  Buzz has been growing steadily and the book is undoubtedly in place on many class syllabi.

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East Carolina University has hired an interim adviser to guide The East Carolinian in the wake of former student media director Paul Isom’s controversial ouster.   As one local news report confirmed, “Frank Barrows, former managing editor for the Charlotte Observer, will . . . serve in a consultant advisory role that oversees the day-to-day publication and online needs of students. Barrows begins work on February 6th.”

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It is a tweet staffers no doubt wish they could take back: “i think i might be gay??” The odd questioning message popped up yesterday on the twitter feed of The Technician, the student newspaper at North Carolina State University.  It was quickly deleted, but not before at least one reader spotted and retweeted it.  The paper soon after apologized.

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50 Best Journalism Schools and Programs at U.S. Colleges and Universities [Updated for 2013]

A faculty colleague in another field recently asked me what journalism schools I would most recommend for her college-bound son, who is apparently an aspiring newshound.  Below is a listing of the ones I offered her in response AKA what I consider to be the best college and university journalism schools nationwide AKA places I would strongly consider enrolling if I woke up tomorrow back in high school.

The list is NOT meant to be all-inclusive or objective.  It is based on nothing more than my personal knowledge of various schools’ and colleges’ reputations, faculty, affiliated student media, classes, and feedback I’ve received in spurts from students and (mostly younger) alums.

It is strongly biased in favor of schools that are exciting me in the digital journalism realm and that are in some way aligned with quality campus media or professional publishing opportunities.  It is biased against journalism programs and departments (only schools included here) and certain schools I simply do not know enough about (although in some respects the fact that they have not crossed my daily college media blogging radar is a sign).

In alphabetical order, here are what I consider to be the best j-schools in the country:

Arizona State University

Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communication

Indiana University

School of Journalism

Iowa State University

Greenlee School of Journalism and Communication

Michigan State University

School of Journalism

New York University

Arthur L. Carter Journalism Institute

Northwestern University

Medill School of Journalism

Ohio University

E.W. Scripps School of Journalism

Syracuse University

S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications

University of Florida

College of Journalism & Communications

University of Georgia

Grady College of Journalism & Mass Communication

Kansas University

William Allen White School of Journalism & Mass Communications

University of Iowa

School of Journalism & Mass Communication

University of Maryland

Philip Merrill College of Journalism

University of Minnesota

School of Journalism & Mass Communication

University of Missouri

School of Journalism

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

School of Journalism & Mass Communication

University of Oklahoma

Gaylord College of Journalism & Mass Communication

University of Oregon

School of Journalism & Communication

University of Southern California

Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism

University of Texas at Austin

School of Journalism

Please let me know, politely: What other schools should be on the list???  Depending on their merits, I will add them immediately.  (To be clear again upfront, I did not include journalism programs, departments or graduate schools.)

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