Five great multimedia stories produced by college papers

The state of the news is ever in flux. Professional newspapers are no longer simply focused on producing print content. Online across the country, news organization are  taking advantage of the growing number of digital applications to tell a story. From the New York Times’ interactive statistics blog Upshot to the Boston Globe and USA Today producing videos, newspapers struggling to survive are adapting to all streams of media.

The same goes for college publications. Here is a list of five great non-traditional multimedia stories produced by student newspapers at colleges across the country.


Video: Live coverage of student association debates, The Daily Bruin, UCLA.

Photo slideshow: Celebration of Hindu Holi holiday, The Daily Tar Heel, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill

Video: office concert (shameless plug to an idea we got from the Tiny Desk Concerts at NPR), The Temple News, Temple University

Storify: Coverage of protests against Condoleezza Rice’s speaking at Rutgers commencement, The Daily Targum, Rutgers University

Graphic: Sex or shower? North by Northwestern, Northwestern University

The last one was presented to me at the College Media Association 2014 Conference in New York back in March. It was produced by North by Northwestern, a daily online magazine that serves as an alternative to the student paper The Daily Northwestern. The graphic was produced  as part of a package they produced on an event similar to THON at Penn State. According to the presenter, it was a big hit, for obvious reasons. As far as Northwestern University goes, the seem to have some of the best student journalists in the country.

Arizona reporter hit with bean bag shot at NCAA riot

This one comes from a little ways back, but it was just brought to my attention by a sports editor at The Temple News.

According to The Daily Wildcat, the student newspaper of the University of Arizona, one of their editors was hit a bean bag fired by police officers while covering riots following the Wildcats’ loss to the University of Wisconsin in the Elite Eight round of the NCAA Tournament. Arizona was not the only college campus to experience riots this year, similar clashes between police and students occurred at the University of Connecticut and the University of Kentucky.

Journalists covering natural disasters and foreign wars know and expect that at times they will be put in the middle of a dangerous situation. But for student journalists, the situation rarely, if ever, crosses one’s mind.

The situation is also complicated by how much a student reporter will likely blend in with their peers, further muddling the line for police. In order to get the best angle from which to tell a story, reporters are expected to get as close to action as possible, and hardly anyone in journalism would argue that the same doesn’t go for student journalists

The situation in Arizona proves again that student journalists are producing professional level content, including placing themselves in professional situations that carry a level of danger (certainly the threat posed by a bean bag cannot compare to the threats correspondents face in places like Kabul or Baghdad).

Did the Crimson White drop the ball in sorority racism coverage?

Last September, The Crimson White, the University of Alabama’s student newspaper, published an enterprise story exposing deep-seeded racial segregation among the university’s Panhellenic sororities. The story gained national attention as was one of the best examples of college journalism produced this academic year.

However, since publishing the story, The Crimson White has dropped of the coverage trail, and a recent story appearing in Inside Eau Claire, the journalism website for the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire, returned to the topic, detailing how not much has changed since the Crimson White blew the lid off of the story.

The Crimson White’s story no doubt brought much needed attention to the topic, but what is it worth if they do not follow up? Media on every level has the obligation to hold a continued light to perceived transgressors of the community’s moral code. One story is often not enough to cause significant change in the world, it takes repeated exposing of the problem before it begins to go away.

The Crimson White is an award-winning student newspaper, no doubt one of the best in the country. But there appears to be a serious racial problem within the sorority system at the U of A. If they knew it was a problem last year, they must be aware that it still exists, and in that case they should be reporting it.

Targum keeps pressure, Condi calls quits

Former Bush administration Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declined an invitation to speak at this year’s Rutgers University commencement ceremony, following a drawn-out controversy that was extensively covered by the university’s student newspaper, The Daily Targum.

Similar to The Daily Northwestern’s coverage of athletics unionization that I spoke about before, the Targum’s website has dedicated a whole page to the papers’s coverage of the battle between the university faculty and portion of the student body, who are protesting Rice’s involvement with the Iraq War, including allegations of connections to war crimes.

On Saturday, the paper had breaking news coverage of Rice’s decline of her invitation. That coverage also included  backgorund information for those who had not kept up with the story.

For the visually minded, the paper also put together a Storify feed for the day’s news.

In addition to continuing and breaking news coverage, the Targum has been covering this story extensively in its opinion pages, publishing letters to the editor, editorials and columns on the matter over thew months. After student protesters stormed the president’s office several days before Rice’s announcement, the Targum issued this editorial calling on administrators to give attention to the growing dissent.

The Targum’s fair, accurate and continued coverage of this story, and its ability to hold administrators under the spotlight, is a great example of the effect college media can have.

How college media covered the Boston bombing anniversary

Last week, as the nation mourns the first anniversary of the tragic Boston Marathon Bombing that claimed the lives of three, all eyes in the media are pointed at the city, with stories being written about the victims, their families and, inevitably, the terrorists who are accused of perpetrating the heinous acts. College newspapers are no exception, and while many student publications across the country will be posting stories off the AP wire, it is important to look at how the schools closest to the tragedy tell the story of its effect on their campuses. I’ve complied a list of stories written by student newspapers in the Boston area.

1) “As Boston Looks Back, Harvard Pauses for Day of Remembrance” Harvard Crimson, Harvard University.

2) “Fueled by Cheers, Emerson Students Compete Boston Marathon” The Berkley Beacon, Emerson University.

3) “UMass Boston Holds Boston Marathon Remembrance Ceremony” The Mass Media, UMass Boston.

4) “Prof. Unveils Design for New Tribute to Officer Sean Collier” The Tech, MIT.

5) “Column: One Year Removed” The Huntington News, Northeastern

6) “Runners From BC reflect on Boston Marathon Experience” The Heights, Boston College

7) An entire section dedicated to coverage, The Daily Free Press, Boston University

Northwestern’s coverage of athletics unionization

Northwestern University is best known in the journalism community as the home of the Medill School of Journalism, one of the premier journalism programs in the country. The Chicago-area university is also home to The Daily Northwestern, one of the premier student newspapers in the country.

This January, several varsity football players for the Northwestern Wildcats announced that they would seek unionization for the work they said they had done for the university, in return for compensation in the form of tuition scholarships. Their movement has been a huge topic in the college sports world, and has been extensively covered by industry giants such as ESPN and Sports Illustrated.

As I have said before, student newspapers have often competed and performed well against the best of the professional news organizations, and The Daily Northwestern is no exception. The paper has dedicated a whole section of its website to their ongoing coverage of the unionization efforts, including daily updates from National Labor Relations Board hearings, letters to the editor, interviews and an in-depth enterprise.

Video: College Editor says funding cuts due to criticism of university

Chelsea Boozer, the editor-in-chief of the University of Memphis’s independent student newspaper The Daily Helmsman, told the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education that Memphis’ administration cut $25,000 from the newspaper budget due to harsh criticism of the administration and student government.

Here is a link to The Daily Helmsman’s website However, a quick search on the papers’s opinion pages didn’t reveal the stories Boozer discusses in the video.

Most student newspapers are at least partially, if not full subsidized by their universities. Is the link between a student paper’s funding and the university administration it is expected to hold a light to an intrinsic issue with college media?

Five college papers that do the best local reporting

Earlier this week, The New York Times ran the article “Local News, Off College Presses” which detailed how the editors and reporters at The Michigan Daily, the University of Michigan’s independent student newspaper, scooped the local newspaper, The Ann Arbor News, in reporting on a football player accused of sexual assault.
The Times noted how the trend of diminishing funds has forced professional papers to trim newsroom operations, which in college towns, leaves the market open for student journalists to increase their status as legitimate providers of news.
Taking a quick glance at some of the paper’s listed in The Princeton Review’s list of best college newspapers, and looking at the hometown newspapers they compete with, I compiled my own list of student publications that do the best reporting beyond campus.

The University Daily Kansan (University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kan.)
Competitor: The Lawrence Journal-World

The Daily Mississippian (Ole Miss, Oxford, Miss.)
Competitor: The Oxford Eagle

The Breeze (James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Va.)
Competitor: Daily News-Record

The Exponent (Purdue University, West Lafayette, Ind.)
Competitor: The Journal and Courier

The Daily Collegian (Penn State, State College, Pa.)
Competitor: Centre Daily Times

Duke pornstar: Huff Post vs. college paper

Judging by the Twitter feed dedicated to online blogger-powerhouse Huffington Post’s college department, it would be relatively easy to surmise that the most relevant story affecting campuses across America this month is the outing and rise to stardom of a freshman at Duke University who shoots porn during her college breaks.
However, taking a look at the website of Duke’s student newspaper, The Chronicle, it seems that is not even the most important story happening on Duke’s campus.
Hidden in a slider near the bottom of The Chronicle’s homepage, “Portrait of a Pornstar,” is the only story the paper has published to date on the woman. Unlike other news sites (here’s looking at you HuffPost) The Chronicle chose not to disclose the woman’s real or stage name to protect her identity, even though it had already been widely leaked.
Also, unlike other college bloggers, the paper’s enterprise story on the woman was actually more about the allure of porn in the face of rising costs of college tuition (before even speaking with the woman, the writer notes that the annual cost of a Duke education hovers around $60,000).
The question is then, if the reporters at the Chronicle (who are not even journalism majors, as Duke has no such program) can find timely and important stories to write about, can the editors at Huffington Post College find a better use for their producer Rick Camilleri than interviewing the internet’s newest pornstar?
I guess the rest of their staff was busy covering crowd-surfing college presidents.

Sandy spares campus, pounds shoreline

By John Moritz and Ali Watkins

November 1, 2012

Temple was largely unscathed after taking on Hurricane Sandy in the late evening hours of Monday, Oct. 29. The system, which many news outlets have dubbed a “superstorm,” decimated areas in New Jersey, Delaware, and New York City, but left Philadelphia on its feet.

While Sandy left minor marks on campus, no major damages or incidents were reported. Downed tree limbs and minor water leaks were reported, but despite Philadelphia’s Frankenstorm frenzy, Sandy passed campus by without any major hazards.

Deputy Director of Campus Safety Services Charlie Leone credited the university’s quick recovery to the extensive preparations and foresight practiced by the university community.

“The students remained inside being very patient and cooperative…Temple’s executive leadership remained here throughout the storm,” Leone said. “The Temple police, Facilities Management, Computer Services, Dining Services, and Student Affairs were all working together supporting our university throughout this emergency.”

Facilities personnel began the clean-up process early this morning, said Mark Gottlieb, superintendent of Service Operations. The university experienced continuing power outages at Ambler and Fort Washington campuses, but had restored power to Ambler by Tuesday night. However, Fort Washington remained without power Wednesday; professors from the campus were offered the option of holding classes at Ambler, said Ray Betzner, vice president of university communications.

No power outages were reported on Main Campus, Leone said.

Several damages on Main Campus included twisted, torn and missing Temple “T” flags that hang from lamp posts throughout campus. Leaves and tree limbs were scattered on Polett Walk and many other campus streets. On the corner of 12th Street and Cecil B. More Avenue, stops lights continued to flash green, yellow and red simultaneously to the confusion of drivers brave enough to test the storm. Another light, at the corner of 11th and Diamond streets was turned around by the wind. Leone said the Philadelphia Streets Department had been notified.

SEPTA reopened several transportation routes, including the Broad Street and Market-Frankord lines, 80 percent of bus routes in the city and several trolley lines, beginning at noon Tuesday. By Wednesday, the transportation authority had restored its Regional Rail line.

Throughout the region, high winds and storm surges decimated low lying coastal areas, and left millions on the East Coast without power. In New Jersey and Long Island, wind gusts peaked at 90 mph, according the National Weather Service. In New Jersey, the storm surge left many coastal towns such as Seaside Heights and Atlantic City under water. In New York City, subways and road tunnels were flooded with water hours after they were forced to shut down by Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The storm knocked out power for 436,000 PECO costumers in the Philadelphia area, including 32,000 in the city, according to a company press release.

At least 50 people were killed as a result of the hurricane and subsequent storm in the United States.

Total losses from the storm could cost the U.S. up to $30 million, according to Eqecat, a risk consulting firm that specializes in catastrophes.