Episode Information

Campus Journalism
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
Aired:
01/29/2008
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In this episode:

University papers can often make as much news as they cover

 

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51:59 minutes (24.95 MB)
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Frank Harris III, Chairperson of Department of Journalism at SCSU.: Photo by Lori MackFrank Harris III, Chairperson of Department of Journalism at SCSU.: Photo by Lori Mack
Student newspapers are learning grounds for budding journalists - but the work they do competes for space in the wider media world.

This reality of campus journalism sets up some interesting challenges - and contradictions. Should students be free to report the news as they see fit - with their classmates as the main audience? Or should the school exert some control over the editorial process - especially since nearly all news, student or otherwise, is available around the world on the web?

Student newspapers at Connecticut colleges have made headlines in recent years - over controversies about content and free speech. The student paper at Central Connecticut State University was widely criticized for a column, and later a cartoon that many found offensive. At Quinnipiac University - student journalists complained about being muzzled by university officials, their editorial content stifled.

But, as we'll discuss today - the story of campus journalism isn't just about first amendment rights - it's also about the craft of journalism. Here's a story: During a recent, tightly contested congressional race - a WNPR reporter spoke to a classroom of students at a local university. A student reporter, embedded in the class, didn't identify himself...but later wrote a damaging (and factually incorrect) story based on the reporters comments - that was picked up worldwide by internet RSS feeds.

Our guests today are Frank Harris III, Chairperson of Department of Journalism at Southern CT State University and Advisor to Southern News, Rachele Kanigel, assistant professor of journalism at San Fransico State University, Dan Drew, a former editor for UConn's Daily Campus, and now a Grant Writer for Waterbury Hospitaland Mellissa Moller
a junior and journalism major at Quinnipiac University.

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University Administration Censoring of Journalism-
Student newspapers being treated like opposition or protestors, to ensure good publicity for universities, is unacceptable. Quinnipiac's decision to model the censorship found in the film "Good Morning, Vietnam" starring Robin Williams and Forest Whitaker makes me wonder if they think they are in a war. The Bush administration took similar action by moving "protestor sites" at Presidential events blocks away from the media so as not to show the public the dissatisfaction nor any additional negative press.

Your guest, Ed Harris, summed it up towards the end of the show when he said that free speech is taking a backseat to business. Universities are willing to sacrafice a free newspaper in order to ensure less negative publicity. Quinnipiac, in particluar, is a University that has received much negative press of recent. The amount of drunk driving accidents and racist incidents have given QU longlasting black eyes.

Universities are allowing many ideas and ideals to come second to business. This Newspaper censorship, in my opinion, has a similar thread to the student athlete topic earlier this month. Athletes are required to do less and get away with more, but more importantly, the administration has lowered the bar for all students to ensure good publicity. Some of the best publicity for a business comes from word of mouth from it clients or customers. Many students, when given a voice, complain about the workload. I would call some universities today as country clubs than places for higher learning. Professors that I enjoyed while in school expressed that administration has giving a "talking to" to them about lightening workload and requiring less from their students.

A happy student is better PR than a student who earned and worked for a degree. Social Promotion happends at all levels of education and it seems like college is becoming more and more like early levels of education.

I would like to see a program on Universities lowering the bar and becoming more of a country club and less of a place of higher learning. Most of the students approve but it is doing a huge disservice to them and also to the students who didn't and don't approve of the dumbing down of universities.

On a side note to negative publicity of a University-
Racist, Sexist, and other unacceptable behaivor has been happening at Yale of recent. A male football player was pledging a fraternity and part of his hazing/pledging was to stand in front of the Yale Womens Center holding a sign reading "We Love Yale Sluts." Someone took a picture and it has circulated throughout the university, including administration. Other incidents, such as a spray painted wall saying the words "Yale Loves Niggers" have forced Yale administration to publicly adress this situation.
-In response, The Probost sent a university wide email saying that there is no place for this behaivor at Yale.

Thank You-

Shawn Upton