Journalists who leave the newsroom for the classroom sometimes discover it’s not their own college classroom — or even their mother’s. “In my day …” and “When I was your age …” don’t cut it with today’s millennial generation. Getting plugged in to today’s students means, literally, plugging in — to Facebook, Twitter and texts.
A reporter should take three things to every story: a pen, a notebook and a heart. It’s impossible to tell the story of humanity without the heart tool. When a father drove 100 miles to Shepherd University and shot to death his two sons in their dormitory parking lot before turning the gun on himself, I had two questions for the editor of the campus newspaper: Do you know about this, and how are you doing?
The sudden appearance of Virginia Tech shooter Seung-Hui Cho’s mental health records in July, more than two years after the massacre, brings renewed interest in how the mental health of college students is monitored. Suicide is a very present and real threat on America’s college campuses.
The 2008 presidential campaign began in late 2006. Someone joked the other day that candidates will soon declare for the 2012 campaign. An early and protracted campaign season can contribute to voter fatigue. Yet, such a long process can vet candidates more fully before the general election.
It was supposed to be an easy, end-of-semester story. My colleague in the news reporting class proposed a list of stories students could do during the last couple of weeks of the semester. One was to find out what was on students’ minds.
News councils are one avenue to improve news media accountability. To do so, they must earn the trust of news media and the public. And there’s the challenge. Panelists in the Project Watchdog town meeting at SPJ’s National Convention agreed on the virtues of news councils but said they may not do enough to cultivate credibility, especially if journalists don’t take them seriously.