Posts Tagged ‘The University Daily Kansan’

Nerdfighters. Hipsters. Speedy seniors. Dropouts. Superfans. Slackliners. Drunkorexics. Tanorexics. Adderall addicts. Longboarders. Sleep texters. Thrifters. Illegall downloaders. And one very bold halftime streaker.

Over the past 18 months or so, for my Campus Beat column on USA TODAY College, I have written about an array of students involved in a ton of different activities, organizations, scandals and states of mind.

My most popular piece: a glimpse at the rise of college Quidditch teams. The most poignant piece, in my opinion: a Q&A with a student journalist who reported on the surprisingly high number of undergraduates who lose a parent while still in school. The most infuriating piece: a rundown of a university testing center that temporarily banned students who were wearing skinny jeans. And the silliest piece, among the most shared on social media: the student embrace of the “YOLO” craze.


In recognition of my 100th column– posted earlier this semester– here is a quick top 10 list of things I have learned about college life and the world at-large through Campus Beat.

1. College students’ grades are going up— and it may have nothing to do with the quality of their work. As The Student Voice at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls reports, “For the past 30 years, grades and grade point averages in private and public universities have risen significantly. …[S]tudents should be aware that the ‘A’ they are striving for may not be as big a deal as they once thought it was.”


2. The Freshman 15 is actually the Freshman 3. According to a study featured in Social Science Quarterly, first-year students at colleges and universities only gain a bit more than three pounds during their first two semesters in school. As the study’s co-author tells The Daily Texan, “There are a lot of things to worry about when you go to college. However, gaining 15 pounds your freshman year is not one of them.”

3. Nerdfighting, a cult movement, is increasingly gaining traction on campuses nationwide. Nerdfighters are a loose collection of geeky do-gooders who attempt to enact positive change in the real world and online. As a Butler Collegian student staffer at Butler University explains, “[A] nerdfighter just tries to fight against world suck.” Nerdfighters’ favorite acronym– and call-to-arms– is DFTBA, or “Don’t Forget to Be Awesome.”


4. One in 10 individuals deals with the death of mom or dad before turning 25, including during their time in college. As The University Daily Kansan shares, “College students who lose a parent are affected emotionally, psychologically, physically, academically and financially. At the very time they are about to launch independent lives, they lose the people they rely on most for direction.”


5. Sleep texting has become a common activity on college campuses. As The Lantern at Ohio State University reports, “Sleep texting is as simple as it sounds: a person will respond or send out a text message in the middle of their sleep. Most people who do this usually do not remember doing it and it usually doesn’t make much sense.” A University of Georgia student admits once sending a sleep text that led to an accidental pizza delivery.

To read the rest of the post, click here or on the screenshot below.


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Along with a number of stirring images and iconic front pages designed and published today by the professional press, the student press has delivered some memorable, historic page ones as well.

Below is a screenshot sampling college newspaper post-election front pages, including from papers in battleground states and states in which a majority of voters did not support President Obama’s re-election plans.

Please email or tweet me to add your front page to the mix.

The Daily Tar Heel, University of North Carolina

The Daily Princetonian, Princeton University

The State News, Michigan State University

The Michigan Daily, University of Michigan

The Pipe Dream, Binghamton University

The Ball State Daily News, Ball State University

The News Record, University of Cincinnati

The Loyolan, Loyola Marymount University

The Appalachian, Appalachian State University

The Loquitur, Cabrini College

The University Daily Kansan, University of Kansas

The Oklahoma Daily, University of Oklahoma

Indiana Daily Student, Indiana University

The Torch, St. John’s University

The Oracle, University of South Florida

The Daily Illini, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The Daily Reveille, Louisiana State University

The Observer, Notre Dame University

The Cavalier Daily, University of Virginia

The Collegiate Times, Virginia Tech

The Daily Collegian, Penn State University

The Minnesota Daily, University of Minnesota

The Daily Nebraskan, University of Nebraska Lincoln

The Daily Toreador, Texas Tech University

The Columbia Daily Spectator, Columbia University

The Daily Mississippian, University of Mississippi

The Student Printz, University of Southern Mississippi

The Daily Texan, University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Iowan, University of Iowa

The Daily of the University of Washington

The Daily Campus, Southern Methodist University

The Lantern, Ohio State University

The Yale Daily News, Yale University

The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University

The Daily Orange, Syracuse University

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University Daily Kansan sports writer Blake Schuster says athletics officials at the University of Kansas warned him in a private meeting about asking questions at the most recent press conference with head football coach Charlie Weis.  The reason?  Their concerns about “lingering ill-will among members of the football program.”

As I previously posted, Weis ranted on Twitter last Friday about what he felt was unfairly harsh coverage in the Kansan about the football team’s many woes so far this season.  He particularly took issue with preview coverage of the squad’s game this past weekend against in-state rival Kansas State University.  The full-page cover graphic kicking off the coverage displayed a tiny, fearful Jayhawk hugging a goalpost, while a large, muscular KSU Wildcat races fearlessly toward the end zone.  The accompanying story’s headline, “Road Kill Ahead.”

According to the Kansan, KU football communications director Katy Lonergan “warned Schuster about possible negative reactions to . . . [the] cover art and story.  She told him these negative attitudes could be directed toward him. . . . [Schuster] said Lonergan told him it would be in his best interest not to ask questions.”

Lonergan countered, “I just simply advised him that if he did ask questions, he should be prepared for any kind of tone in his answer.”  As the reliably snarky sports blog Deadspin explained, “It wasn’t a threat, see. Just a gentle suggestion.”

On a larger scale, in a piece earlier this week, Kansan student columnist Mike Vernon speaks for many with a terrifically impassioned editorial smackdown of this KU-triggered mess– one that started as an overly sensitive, tone-deaf Twitter temper-tantrum but now hovers precariously close to full-blown censorship.

As Vernon writes, “The path that Kansas Athletics has taken to handle this situation is not right.  Kansas is a public university, and it has a damn good journalism school that is here teaching its students to be objective members of the Fourth Estate of the United States of America, to hold its leaders accountable, and to be a free and independent press. It’s a democracy thing, and it’s too bad a public American university would try to persuade student reporters into compromising those values.”

Bottom line, writes Vernon, “[T]he Kansan isn’t here to rally up student support for the football team. . . . Students at this university deserve better than a pom-pom squad of a newspaper.  They deserve to get the truth.”

Weis, by the way, has not tweeted since Roadkill-gate began.


Kansas Football Coach Tweets Angrily About Daily Kansan Coverage of Team

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Update: Kansan Football Reporter Warned About Asking Questions at Press Conference with Head Coach

Charlie Weis was wicked mad late last week.  The head coach of the University of Kansas football team lashed out at The University Daily Kansan in a 140-character burst of righteous anger.  The tweet spurred national attention and a public scolding from some members of the press.

Since the start of the season, the Kansan, KU’s student newspaper, has aggressively– and accurately– covered the many woes of the one-win Jayhawks football squad.  In an issue published Friday, editors provided preview coverage of a conference road game between KU and its in-state rival, the Kansas State University Wildcats.

The full-page cover graphic accompanying the main story in the issue displays a tiny, fearful Jayhawk hugging a goalpost, while a large, muscular Wildcat races fearlessly toward the end zone.  The story’s headline, “Road Kill Ahead.”

Weis apparently did not care for the graphic, headline or related coverage.  In a tweet posted early Friday morning to his personal Twitter account @CoachWeisKansas, he shared, “Team slammed by our own school newspaper.  Amazing!  No problem with opponents paper or local media.  You deserve what you get!  But, not home!”

The micro-response earned hundreds of retweets.  It also revealed how little Weis knows about student journalism.

Oh, Charlie.  What you must understand: Student newspapers are not campus cheerleaders.  They are, at heart, objective observers.  By that standard, Weis and the football team have deserved all the editorial shellacking they have received.

The team is having a terrible season.  The Kansan has been correct in its coverage of that relative terribleness.  Staffers were also correct in their prediction of a tough outing against the Wildcats.  On Saturday, KSU defeated KU 56-16.

As CBS Sports blogger Jerry Hinnen explains, “[I]t’s not the Kansan‘s role to be kind– it’s to put out the most accurate, highest-quality paper it can, and there’s no denying that picture is an entirely accurate summation of the two programs’ current standing. . . . If Weis really wants better treatment from the student newspaper, we have a simple suggestion: Don’t lose to Rice and Northern Illinois.”

USA TODAY sports writer Paul Myerberg agrees, noting, “The University Daily Kansan has won two consecutive College Newspaper of the Year awards (circulation over 30,000 division) from the College Newspaper Business & Advertising Managers.  Keep up the good work– the newspaper, that is.  Weis needs to win more games.”

For his part, Weis quickly posted a less simmering– but still self-righteous– follow-up tweet.  It offers a partial explanation for his anger.  As he wrote, “I personally could care less.  You are what [you] are.  On the other hand, if I don’t support the players good or bad, who will??”


Stony Brook Student Magazine’s Funny Football Tweets Lead to Censorship Threat

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The latest rankings report listing the country’s “Best College Newspapers has been released by Princeton Review.  The papers are listed below, in order of their selection.

Penn State’s Daily Collegian vaulted to the top, following in the footsteps of its CMM “College Newspaper of the Year” honors earlier this summer.

The Daily Kansan moved up dramatically as well.  The Red & Black, The Michigan Daily, The Daily Nexus at UC Santa Barbara, The Rocky Mountain Collegian at Colorado State University, and The Technician at North Carolina State University all jumped onto the list after not appearing on the 2011 version.  Meanwhile, The Daily Northwestern and The Daily Texan suffered big drops.  The Battalion at Texas A&M had the biggest spiral– dropping from the list after appearing at #5 last year.  The Minnesota Daily, The Daily Mississippian, The Daily Campus at UCONN, and The Hilltop at Howard University also disappeared from the current version.


The Princeton Review rankings are not without controversy.  As Bryan Murley from the Center for Innovation in College Media confirmed two summers ago, the process by which these papers achieve the “Best” distinction is, well, fairly ridiculous.

Yet, the rankings receive more attention from the public and mainstream media than every other student journalism contest and competition, including the Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker awards (the closest the student press has to the Pulitzer Prizes).  Why?  My guess, without sarcasm or cynicism: It’s an offshoot of the attention given to the sexier rankings such as “Best Party Schools.”

1. The Daily Collegian, Penn State University

2. The Daily Tar Heel, University of North Carolina

3. Yale Daily News, Yale University

4. The Brown Daily Herald, Brown University

(Tie) 5. The Badger Herald, University of Wisconsin-Madison

(Tie) 5. The Daily Cardinal, University of Wisconsin-Madison

6. The University Daily Kansan, Kansas University

7. The Diamondback, University of Maryland

8. The Independent Florida Alligator, University of Florida

9. The Daily Nexus, UC Santa Barbara

10. The Red & Black, University of Georgia

11. The Cornell Daily Sun, Cornell University

12. The Rocky Mountain Collegian, Colorado State University

13. The Daily Orange, Syracuse University

14. The Daily Gamecock, University of South Carolina

15. The Tufts Daily, Tufts University

16. The Michigan Daily, University of Michigan

17. The Post, Ohio University

18. Technician, North Carolina State University

19. The Daily Texan, University of Texas at Austin

20. The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern University


College Newspaper of the Year, 2011-2012: The Daily Collegian, Penn State University

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