In search of inspiring models for college news sites
Update (Nov. 18, 2009 at 2 p.m.): I’ve added Connect2Mason, another site we’ve previously covered, to the list of examples and included a link to a podcast with their founder.
From linking out and social media to video and liveblogging, student journalists often hear advice about steps their individual news organizations should take to succeed today. But we often neglect to take a step back and consider different models from which college media can draw inspiration.
So, we’d like to examine those with some depth in a new series, offering a different twist on the usual coverage. Specifically, focusing on news sites that began online. There’s a ton of great work being done online by print publications across the country, which we often cover, and this series is intended to help everyone.
Why this approach? Because good things can come when your news organization thinks like a startup. Also, these sites are unencumbered by legacy costs or structures related to a long-standing print publication.
We already know of a few good examples within college media:
- NYU Local — an independent site at New York University
- Amherst Wire — a magazine-style site at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst
- Connect2Mason — a convergence site that partners with existing college media on campus
- The Bwog — a blog run by the undergraduate magazine staff at Columbia University
- Onward State — a blog covering the Penn State community
- Daily Colonial — online daily news site for George Washington University and the surrounding areas
And even some outliers like The Daily Gazette, a daily news site at Swarthmore College that started as online-only and then added a print edition.
The most well-known of these sites is probably NYU Local, which has been covered by MediaShift and College Media Matters, the latter of which profiled founder Cody Brown. It’s even been linked to by The New York Times. Previously, CoPress spoke with Cody and Miles Skorpen, a CoPress team member then of The Daily Gazette, about online-only student news organizations last year.
We’ve also spoken with Jackie Hai and Richard Caesar of the Amherst Wire for a podcast (Jackie wrote a post about their economic stimulus coverage) and Whitney Rhodes, founding director of Connect2Mason, on a different podcast.
If you know of other good examples, drop us a link in the comments and let us know why they’re interesting — we’d probably like to talk with them. We’re particularly interested in student-created, student-run college news sites (i.e. not ones under the university or j-school).
Basically, we’re looking to write in more depth about startup, blog-style and other models of interest to college media — both at the college and professional levels. Also, we’d be open to submissions for posts, as always.
With these posts, we hope to offer lessons and advice that all college news organizations find useful and, perhaps, provide ideas to inspire others to start similar sites.
I’ve already started drafting a post about the Texas Tribune‘s model; until then, check out this interview with one of their developers. I also have ideas swirling in my head after attending the New Media Women Entrepreneurs Summit last Monday. Stay tuned!