Archive for February, 2012

In the midst of academia’s continued overwhelming meme madness, I have been putting together a growing list of memes focused specifically on collegemediatopia– its student staffers, faculty advisers, digital tools (and distractions), and style rules.  Below is a glimpse at what will hopefully soon be a gargantuan list featured on College Media Memes.

To check them out in real time– and get all other CMM posts in your Facebook stream– click here and press Like.

 

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Beginning Thursday, the epicenter of the college media universe is Seattle, site of the 28th annual ACP National College Journalism Convention.  I’ll be there along with a bevy of other j-profs, advisers, professionals, and j-students extraordinaire.

If you’re an attendee, please stop by most or all of my sessions, including back-to-back Friday afternoon chats on story ideas and ‘sexy journalism’ in the Renaissance Seattle Courtyard Ballroom.  Also, in all seriousness, bring a jacket and umbrella. :)

Friday

Also featuring Gabrielle Saulsbery, a student sex writer at Pace University

Saturday

Also featuring Mustang Daily editors Katelyn Sweigart & JJ Jenkins at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo


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Roughly a week after accidentally printing a racist slang for individuals of Asian descent, The Iowa State Daily is apologizing and dropping the regular print feature in which it was included.

On the “games page” of each ISD issue, staff regularly run “Just Sayin,'” comprised of “reader submitted quotes, quips and anything that may have been overheard on or off campus.”  Last Tuesday, the paper printed nine reader submissions, including two that made reference to “squinteys.”  The first: “Just had a staring contest with a squintey.  They are fearless.”  The second:”I just saw a squintey inside the building. . . . They have started the invasion.”

A screenshot of the Just Sayin' feature including the racist slang.

In a column of apology by ISD editor-in-chief Jake Lovett, he wrote that editors first thought the term was a description for local squirrels.  In his words, “The individual who selected those for publication mistook the word for a central-Iowa colloquialism for ground squirrels– more popularly referred to as ‘squinny.’ . . . Since that day, we’ve heard from countless students, faculty and staff that we so obviously offended with the word that can be read as a racial slur.”

As one letter to the editor, sent by “a collection of 53 students, faculty and staff” stated, “As members of the ISU community, it is hard for us to accept the racial slurs that were published in the Daily. Asians and Asian Americans are more than stereotypes. You may think this issue is not a big deal, but to the person who wrote the comments, to the editors who let this appear in the Daily, to you and me, our ignorance shows how little respect we have for each other. . . . In a world where there is a supposed to be emphasis on diversity, this is proof racism is alive and thriving. Sadly, this has been ‘our adventure at Iowa State University.'”

The paper’s staff has since met with administrators and aggrieved students and discontinued the “Just Sayin'” feature.  As Lovett noted, “There will be good to come of this.  Because of this error in judgment, an otherwise-ignored but very important issue– racism and discrimination– has come to the forefront of the conversation on campus.  We hope change comes because of it.”

A screenshot of the "games page" on which "Just Sayin'" was regularly published.

Update: A separate ISD piece confirms the paper’s advertising department oversaw the “Just Sayin'” feature, not the editorial staff.

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A Princeton University senior’s column in yesterday’s Daily Princetonian calling “the whole premise of annual giving . . . problematic” has spurred a wowzer of a debate in the online comments section.

A majority of the commenters, proclaiming themselves Princeton students and alums, are nastily ripping into the student columnist as ungrateful for the education and Ivy League experiences she has received.  At least one commenter has even brought her family into the mix, prompting the student’s mother to comment back (hat tip IvyGate).

In the column, Princetonian guest contributor Emily Rutherford’s main point is that simply passing along some money to one’s university is a narrow way of conceptualizing ‘giving back’.  As she writes, “We’re Princeton students. We can be a little more ambitious, dream a little bigger and morally challenge ourselves a bit more intensively.”

She also takes issue with the idea that she is forever bonded to the university financially because it offered her enrollment and financial aid.  In her words, “I’d like to think I’ve shown my gratitude for my scholarship throughout the past four years: trying my hardest at my schoolwork, remaining very involved in institutional committee work and other kinds of campus activism and serving as a mentor to younger students. . . . And now my commitment is done. I didn’t sell Princeton my soul for a financial aid grant; I don’t owe the university for the rest of my life.”

Many commenters disagree with her sentiments, calling them shameful, frustrating, selfish, and naive.  Her name has even been twisted from Emily Rutherford to Eminently Righteousford by some.  A sample comment: “I would’ve had more respect for this column if it was just a blown up picture of the [middle] finger.”

A second: “This is a piece of sh*t. Donating isn’t about doing something ‘morally good,’ it’s about helping a university that has given you so much, and will not be able to do so for future generations if students stop giving. It is unlikely that at another university you would have been able to study abroad at Oxford, been openly and safely gay, or won a Marshall.”

The oddest, and frankly most out-of-bounds, comment drags Rutherford’s mother into the fight: “Emily is a legacy, and her mom shares Emily’s disdain of Princeton (or perhaps, it was her mother who inculcated said disdain).”

A portion of her mother’s reasoned response: “If I actually ‘disdained’ the university, I would not have encouraged my daughter to attend it, nor would I have supported her in all she’s done to try to make it an even better place.  (And her efforts, whether you value them or not, indicate that Emily herself does not “disdain” Princeton; a personal decision regarding Annual Giving is hardly the only– or best– measure of an individual’s commitment to a community.)”

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As I posted previously, The College Heights Herald, Western Kentucky University’s student newspaper, has alleged in recent coverage that WKU administrators have been aggressively monitoring and disciplining students for social media messages “deemed inappropriate.”

According to the Herald, WKU has specifically been tracking some student tweets, even attempting to “shut down several Twitter parody accounts and is sending students to Judicial Affairs for tweets they consider negative against WKU.”  The story, which the Herald broke, has now gone national, popping up in a new Associated Press report.

In the podcast chat below, College Heights Herald editor-in-chief Cole Claybourn discusses the paper’s coverage of the controversy and the issues some students and legal experts have with the school’s social media policy and routines.

Interview: Cole Claybourn, Editor-in-Chief, The College Heights Herald

Cole Claybourn, the editor-in-chief of The College Heights Herald at WKU, previously served as the paper's sports editor.

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As I’ve posted previously, the story of the month: college memes.  Campus-specific memes have been suddenly invading the Facebook streams of students at schools throughout the U.S., Canada, and parts of Europe.

A rash of student media reports and social media chatter confirm that undergraduates’ online experiences are now hovering between “meme madness” and full-blown“meme mania.”  I recently shared a sampling of memes posted on college meme Facebook pages.  Building on that post’s popularity, I wanted to offer another glimpse at college memes being produced by students at schools nationwide.

To see more, check out my post offering a growing list of all college and university Facebook meme pages.

Related

College and University Meme Pages: A Starter Guide

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