Blogs and websites every college journalist should follow. Part I of a continuing series

I know those headlines sound pretentious, but I have spent years scouring the Internet so you don’t have to.

And I will tell you what I have found and ask you to weigh in on what you have found. Let’s get together to put together an ultimate blogroll/bookmark list.

The Student Press Law Center

You never need it until you need it. And then, boy, do you appreciate it.

O.K., I know you appreciate the SPLC. I have seen what you give when the hat is passed at conventions. But these guys do more than answer questions. When the shit hits the fan, they put legal boots on the ground to help you do your job. And protect our Constitutional rights. Because those really are the same thing.

Blog:

http://www.splc.org/wordpress/

Guidestar

Do you like investigative reporting?

So do I. Here is quick way to kick start your efforts. This website provides financial statements for non-profit organizations including some schools and most institution’s foundations and alumni associations.

What is your school’s endowment? How does it compare to others? What do your development officers earn each year?

The basic service is free and is all most college journalists will need. But if you want to go frontal assault, the IRS form 990s are public record. You can just go in and ask for them. You are entitled to them.

Chronicle of Higher Education blogs

If you don’t already follow the website and the print product, you are woefully behind, Grasshopper. (Ask a faculty member for that reference)

If you don’t follow the blogs, you are missing story idea gold. And a lot of it isn’t that administration/faculty only claptrap you accuse advisers and instructors of feeding you. Most of it is good think pieces or analysis you can do in-depth by localizing.

For instance, my favorite Chronicle read is The Ticker. I got an RSS newsfeed about salaries of university directors of athletics. An NCAA Division II school I was familiar with had JUST hired a new AD. I suggested to those editors a sidebar on the new hire’s contract and doing a comparison with conference schools. It would add depth and perspective to the story of the newly hired AD.

Newswordy

From the About section of this great blog about our use of language:

Buzzwords are frequently used in news media. These are words that do not typically occur in everyday speech, but are common among newscasters, talking heads, and pundits on cable news.

These ‘news words’ are accepted by audiences for their implied meaning. But often loaded words are misused or used out of context. The actual definitions can be different than what is implied.

Newswordy is a growing collection of these words, updated every weekday. Along with each word is a definition, a quote with its use (or misuse) in the media, and a news and Twitter feed on the subject.

Andydickinson.net

I found Andy a while back. He is an online journalism guy and he has some good points. He sometimes takes a break between posts (like me), his last was Sept. 30. But he asks good questions and includes his students’ input.

Andy, who teaches Digital and Online Journalism at the Department of Journalism at the University of Central Lancashire in the UK, really gets my interest with his topics. For instance, is RSS like Twitter?

Reflections of a Newsosaur

This blog is subtitled:

Musings (and occasional urgent warnings) of a veteran media executive, who fears our news-gathering companies are stumbling to extinction.

I don’t always like what Alan D. Mutter has to say, but it is always relevant to the discussion.  His Sept. 28 post leads with this:

“A new study shows the dramatic degree to which consumers under the age of 40 have repudiated newspapers.”

If I were a college journalist, I would read that.

More of these to come.

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