in Social Media

The Ghost of student media future

Student Life (newspaper)
Image via Wikipedia

College newspapers are boring.

There, I said it.

In an era where professional journalism is going belly up, their subsidized college counterparts are plodding along on a course that lacks any sort of innovation, willingness to experiment or ability to leverage the tools of the social web to reinvent the way we present and report the news.


  • Is it just a lack of resources?
  • Internal expertise?
  • A desire to maintain the status quo?
  • All of the above?
  • Ernie Smith is a genius, but why didn’t a college student come up with the idea to create ShortFormBlog?

    I could speculate all day on this. The reporting in student publications is as it was. Some fantastic, the rest is what it is. But I’m really talking about the delivery of student news content. In a world where it’s cheaper than it ever was to publish on the web and easier than ever, what’s the excuse for doing the same old things we’ve always done? College Publisher might have been a great idea back in 2001, but is ceding control of your entire design a really good idea in an age where better options abound?

    This is a personal issue for me, naturally. I spent a few years in student media during my college days, owned an independent internet radio station after college (that was staffed entirely by students) and spent a summer at a major newspaper watching first-hand how “big media” works. I’ve always been convinced there were really daring things we could, especially using the web and even on the backend to lower the barriers to entry for small publications looking to deliver content via the web.

    I’m convinced that some institution out there is on the cusp of pushing the envelope, that some innovative group sees the opportunity to start a bushfire that spreads across the entire field, by simply deciding to do something completely outside of the box. There’s no one-sized fits all answer for this, either. But someone will have to step out first, before others will join the Joneses in the pool.

    Who will it be?

    1. Yeah…I think some online papers are subsidized using student fees. I think there are just other issues with leadership in some institutions. But I know there are visionary places out there looking to grow and do’s just going to be a matter of time before the dominoes start to fall.

    2. Maybe one of the reasons college student newspapers are so boring is because high school student newspapers are equally boring.

      Wouldn’t it be great if student fees that subsidize these newspapers could be used for an online version?

      BTW, thanks for the link to ShortFormBlog. I hadn’t seen that before. Cool stuff.

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