Posts tagged ‘The Daily Collegian’

The Collegian, Onward State, and the State of the Media

PaperChaseOpenerOne of the adjustments I’ve had to make as I moved from daily newspaper journalism to every-other-month magazine journalism is how much time we at The Penn Stater devote to story selection. We don’t just come up with an idea, assign it, edit it, publish it. We can spend months and months figuring out the best writer for a story, the best angle to take on a story, and the best way for it to fit in our magazine, which averages only three full-length features an issue. We like to think of that space as prime real estate, and we want to use it to its best advantage.

One of the stories in our current issue, “Paper Chase,” has been in the works even longer. When I returned to campus in 2009, I noticed right away the changes in The Daily Collegian—where I had spent the vast majority of my time as an undergrad—and began paying careful attention to a new information source founded by students, the website Onward State. It turns out that my colleague Ryan Jones ’95, who had already been here for a couple of years and who had also worked at the Collegian, was doing the same thing. We needed a story, we said, about the state of student media. Was it mirroring, we wondered, the evolution of media everywhere?

I’m not kidding when I say we kicked that idea around, on and off, for nearly four years. (Yes, perhaps we could stand to streamline our story pitching process.) But news got in the way, and more timely stories popped up. But we kept kicking it around. We watched how the students covered the Sandusky scandal. We got to know many of the students who work at the Collegian and at Onward State. Some are my students. Some, Ryan and I mentor. Some, we know basically as fellow media members, sitting side-by-side in the Beaver Stadium press box or at the Board of Trustees media table.

Last spring, we finally settled on the perfect writer: another Collegian alum, Brian Raftery ’99, who is plugged in to the new media side of things as an intelligent and involved journalist and a contributing editor at Wired. He delved into the reporting and found a fabulous tale to tell. It’s in the issue that should be arriving in Alumni Association members’ mailboxes any day  now (if it hasn’t already), but because we suspect this will have wider interest beyond our usual readers, we’re making an exception and posting it online. Click here to download a PDF.

We also want to note one clarification: Onward State managing editor Kevin Horne says that based on updated statistics from September 2013 to March 2014,  their website averages about 50,000 page views a day, and has upward of 100,000 on a good day.

We hope you’ll enjoy the story. Let us know what you think.

Lori Shontz, senior editor


May 1, 2014 at 2:09 pm 2 comments

The Penn Stater Daily — Nov. 15, 2013

Let’s just call this the way-to-go student media edition. I’ve had a lot to read this morning, thanks to some talented writers at the Collegian and Onward State:

Counseling conundrum: That’s the headline on a chart that appears with a Collegian story about CAPS, the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services, which was nicely reported by Mindy Szkaradnik. The conundrum: CAPS helps a lot of students, but by the middle of the semester, so many students are asking for help that the center has to refer as many as a third of the students elsewhere. This is the kind of reporting I love to see from a student publication—it’s a serious issue that affects students directly. Important work by the Collegian.

52857b21be95f.imageMiraculous recovery: The cover story of the Collegian‘s pregame magazine for Saturday’s game against Purdue tells the incredible tale of defensive lineman Kyle Baublitz, who suffered a stroke when he was 14. John Stuetz digs into the details of what happened and uncovers this this unbelievable fact: The doctors don’t know why he recovered. They did find a hole in his heart, and Baublitz had surgery in 2006 to correct it. “God gave me the gift to go on and play for Penn State,” Baublitz said. “And that’s amazing.” Sure is.

Broken iPhone? No problem: Mara Kern continues in the Onward State tradition of finding fascinating people on campus with a piece on Mac Frederick, who is the go-to guy for fixing dropped iPhones. Frederick is a senior majoring in advertising, business, and—no surprise—entrepreneurship. This guy meets students at their convenience and promises the phone will be fixed in 30 minutes. Geez, lots of times I can’t even get a pizza delivered that fast.

Penn State Love Stories: As someone who met my spouse at Penn State—although well after we both graduated—I’ve been enjoying the stories that Onward State’s Julia Kern has collected about other couples with a Penn State love connection. Here’s the seventh in her series, which appears every Friday. They’re still taking submissions, too, so tell your own story.

Busy weekend: Yeah, there’s a football game against Purdue at noon Saturday. But that’s just for starters. The annual Bandorama, where you can hear the Blue Band and Symphonic Band play, starts at 7 tonight in Eisenhower Auditorium. The women’s soccer team, a four seed, opens NCAA tournament play at 7:30 tonight against Monmouth at Jeffrey Field. Saturday afternoon, the field hockey team takes on defending national champ Princeton in the NCAA first round. The women’s basketball team  takes on perennial power Connecticut at noon Sunday in the Jordan Center. As senior guard Maggie Lucas says, “When you think of women’s basketball, you think UConn.” And if you’re getting your weekend off to an early start, you can check out the men’s soccer team in the Big Ten semifinals vs. Indiana, live on the Big Ten network at noon.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

November 15, 2013 at 12:30 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Sept. 17, 2013

From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.

Food for thought: A writer from Forbes magazine uses the research of Evan Pugh professor Donald Hambrick, who’s also the Smeal chaired professor of management, to rank the 25 most narcissistic CEOs. (Spoiler alert: the No. 1 ranking, by a lot, goes to Google’s Larry Page.) There’s an interesting discussion of Hambrick’s research, which delves into how a CEO’s background affects the way she or he runs a company, and this piece also explores the idea that narcissism isn’t necessarily a bad thing (see: Steve Jobs). This will make you think.

Reading list: Kesley Tamborrino of the Collegian tells the tale of Michelle Kemper Brownlow ’92, who drew upon her Penn State experiences her first novel, In Too Deep. The novel traces an emotionally abusive relationship which is exacerbated when the boyfriend pledges a fraternity—something that happened to Brownlow—but also includes happier allusions to The Phyrst (called Mitchell’s) and West Halls, among others.

Must-see TV: If you’re a hockey fan, you’re in luck. (more…)

September 17, 2013 at 10:03 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Sept. 16, 2013


From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.

Shrine dedication: The Nittany Lion Shrine opened a few weeks ago after a summer of renovations—mostly to its “habitat,” if you will—but it was officially dedicated Friday. The stonemason said his goal was to create a “stoney, mountain-y environment.” The Daily Collegian has the coverage here.

A romantic at heart: Turns out that the Blue Band’s feature twirler, Matt Freeman, is as smooth off the field as he is on it. (more…)

September 16, 2013 at 10:05 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Sept. 13, 2013

Impressive company: For a special October issue, Bloomberg Magazine chose the 50 most influential people in global finance, which includes the usual suspects like New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. It also includes Penn State professor Michael Mann, famous for the hockey stick graph and his passionate stand against climate-change deniers, as one of the top global thinkers.


Just hanging out: Our friends in the Penn State Turfgrass program posted the above photo of two legends Thursday afternoon. (more…)

September 13, 2013 at 8:54 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Sept. 12, 2013

From news to features, your daily dose of everything Penn State.

Big Maple: Redshirt freshman tailback Akeel “Big Maple” Lynch has the best nickname on the football team, as far as I’m concerned (Bill O’Brien bestowed it, a nod to Lynch’s Canadian citizenship), and so far he’s been a go-to performer in the media room after games, smiley and chatty. But he’s not had an easy road to Penn State, a tale told nicely by John Stuetz of The Daily Collegian.

For The Kids: Are you ready for THON? Sure, it’s five months away, but after watching this five-minute promotional video posted Wednesday night, it’ll seem a lot closer. The interview with a THON child and her mom, sitting together, is particularly moving.

Harry, Hufflepuffs, and the Honey Badger: (more…)

September 12, 2013 at 9:14 am Leave a comment

Another THON, Another Record

Kelly Tunney of The Daily Collegian took the student newspaper's cover photo.

Kelly Tunney of The Daily Collegian took the student newspaper’s cover photo.

I can’t imagine that by Monday evening, there’s not a Penn Stater on the planet who doesn’t know the news: THON set another fundraising record: $12.3 million dollars.

That’s more than $2 million more than last year’s amount, which shattered the previous record. This year’s total ($12,374,034.46, to be precise) raised the total amount that THON has raised for the Four Diamonds Fund to more than $100 million since 1973. No wonder Penn Staters, who have been saddened by so much of what’s happened over the past 14 months, were jubilant when the total was announced.

But we figured that you might not yet have caught up on the terrific THON coverage, starting with the cover of The Daily Collegian, which you can see here. If you want to get a feel for what it was like to be there, through words and pictures, you’re going to want to check out the following:

Click here to read the main story in the Collegian and for a chart with THON milestones over the years, and go to the Collegian’s home page for links to more stories and more photos. If you want a PDF of the paper, you can click here.

If you want to relive THON as it happened, click here for Onward State’s live blog. (Of course, you’ll have to scroll to the bottom and scroll up should you want to go through the whole 46 hours in chronological order.) There are links to videos, photos, and blog posts here, as well.

The College of Communications goes all-out on THON, too. (Someday I’m going to count the number of student journalists covering THON. But I digress.) You can click here to see how 15 student photojournalists, working in shifts, covered the whole 46 hours, and you’ll also find links to daily coverage, too.

And if all of this makes you want to relieve the highlights from 40 years of THON, check out this history piece, which appeared in the February issue of AlumnInsider, a monthly publication of the Alumni Association.

Let us know about your favorite THON coverage in the comments.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

February 18, 2013 at 6:35 pm 1 comment

Happy 125th Anniversary, Daily Collegian

Generations of Collegian editors-in-chief, posing for posterity at the 125th anniversary dinner.

Leave it to NPR business and financial reporter Jim Zarroli to sum up why so many alumni of The Daily Collegian got together last weekend to celebrate the 125th anniversary of Penn State’s independent student newspaper.

Zarroli ’79, the keynote speaker at Saturday night’s banquet, told the story of his years at Penn State, when he arrived as an uncertain freshman who wasn’t sure where he belonged … until he found himself on the Collegian staff. There, he began growing into the professional he is today because, he explained, “We weren’t just learning journalism. We were doing it.”

But he got something else from the hours and hours he spent reporting and writing and just hanging out in the Collegian office. Said Zarroli, “It really became my home.”

I knew the feeling—both of them, really. (I appeared in a house ad for the Collegian in the mid-1990s, and the copy read something like, “Everything I needed to know about journalism, I learned at The Daily Collegian.” Still true.) And I know each of the other nearly 200 alums who were listening to Zarroli could identify, too.

There’s an immediate kinship among various generations of staffers. It doesn’t matter whether you laid out the paper with the latest version of Quark or wielded a photo wheel and an Exacto knife. Or whether your first assignment was to ask people sitting on The Wall along College Avenue where they bought their pot (true story, related Friday night by a 1970s alum) or, as was true for some students last year, you jumped right into covering the biggest news story in Penn State’s history.

I’m sure there’s a similar feeling among students and alums devoted to other activities. (One of my best friends, Laura Eckert Thompson ’92, made that point in this column geared toward incoming freshmen in a 1991 Collegian magazine.) But one of the things I loved about the Collegian is that although our group was tightly connected, we were never insular. We had to know and understand the other student groups, the other students’ concerns. We felt a true responsibility to the rest of the student body—we were their newspaper.

Which is part of what got last year’s staff through the late nights and long days covering the Sandusky scandal and Joe Paterno’s death.

At a panel Saturday morning featuring 2011-2012 staffers, Anna Orso, now managing editor, then the cops reporter (and a student in my news writing class), explained that the staff believed their role was “to tell the narrative of the student body.” Current editor/last year’s managing editor Casey McDermott told of how they explained the legal terms in the first print paper, realizing that most students wouldn’t know them. (At the time, I commented on what a great idea that was.) Last year’s editor, Lexi Belculfine ’12, said the opinion page was a place “to urge our peers to think critically.”

Here’s the commemorative T-shirt: every masthead in the newspaper’s history. My era: fifth from the top.

The news staff showed their story budgets and other planning documents (click here if you’re a news nerd and want a look), told how the opinion editor, Jordan Cole ’12, became a de-facto psychologist for the upset alumni and students who wrote or even called, just wanting to talk to someone, and related how they blew off the national editors who called wanting story tips and tried to sweeten the deal by saying they’d be sure to remember the Collegian kids the next time they had a job opening.

Of course the students would have none of that. No Collegianaire, from any era, would have. What an insult. I’m insulted again, just writing that.

Staffers from the business side spoke, too, explaining how they kept advertising as constant as possible during the scandal and sold thousands of commemorative newspapers. (As Amy Zurzola Quinn ’94 tweeted, “If these students could keep biz afloat, keep advertisers during scandal, just THINK what they’ll do when you hire them.”)

Last weekend reminded me what a great tradition I’m part of. The entire staff of the 2011-12 staff was inducted into the Collegian Hall of Fame. They were joined by Larry Foster ’48, a former managing editor; Jane Murphy Schultz ’43, the first female editor-in-chief, who died in 2010; and the wife-and-husband team of Roberta Hutchinson ’48 and Allan Ostar ’48, who were the other stars of the weekend.

The Ostars donated the first scholarship earmarked solely for Collegian staffers, and it’s easy to see why they feel so connected. They met there. When they stood to be recognized, Allan said, “They say some marriages are made in heaven. This marriage was made at The Daily Collegian.”

Wild cheers and applause, of course. Possibly a few tears, as well.

I’m going to give the last word to Lou Bell ’29, a former Collegian editor who wrote an amazing final column, what the students now would call a “senior send-off.” General manager Patti Hartranft quotes it a lot, and no wonder:

Whether it be by the decree of Fate or Circumstance or Death, there must come an end to every joy. There must come a time when the standard-bearer must release his fingers from the banner that he had so ardently striven to hold aloft, when he must pass the banner to other hands, reluctant to give it up but confident that strong and willing hands will keep it afloat and speed it forward until still other hands clutch it. That runs the eternal cycle.

We are proud that the banner still floats, that it goes ever forward. Plainly speaking, we are confident that the new editorial and business staffs of the Penn State Collegian are competent and willing enough to carry on—and on—and on. To our successors, congratulations, good fortune, good heart.

And, above all—good heart.

That, as far as I’m concerned, says everything.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

October 26, 2012 at 4:17 pm 4 comments

Introducing Our New Intern

Our intern for this fall semester is senior Erika Spicer. We asked her to introduce herself, and here’s what she wrote:

I remember my parents waking me up at 7 a.m. on fall Saturday mornings. Though groggy and squinty-eyed, I would meticulously pick out my blue and white outfit for the day, stick a few paw print stickers on my cheeks, and secure ribbons in my hair. It would be another football Saturday in Beaver Stadium.

Since before I could remember, my family has spent several weekends each year loading up the car with what seemed like 70 bags of chips, wings, a mini grill, drinks, and Penn State-themed plasticware in preparation for daylong football celebrations. When I wasn’t attending dance lessons or marching on our Bubbler football field –– the fact that my high school mascot is a bubble is another story for another time ­­–– my parents, both spirited Penn State alumni, made sure I was tailgating and rah-rah-ing at Penn State football games. (Humiliating photos of 3-year-old me wearing a Penn State cheerleader uniform are still lurking around the house.)

I loved how grown-ups acted like kids and the half-mile radius of the football stadium was a blanket of blue and white. And when we took a break from tailgating and cheering for the Nittany Lions, we were exploring what I thought was the big city of State College, with convoluted, confusing streets and magical toy stores.

It’s hard to comprehend how much my perception of this place has changed.

I grew up in tiny Carlisle, Pa., where car shows are the annual attraction and the local Walmart is considered a hot spot. Graduating with about 150 classmates, I had friendships that are still not rivaled as I enter my final year at Penn State.

But once I started my freshman year here, the “big city” of State College morphed into a small town, and it felt even more like a second home. The transition was so smooth, and I really understood why my parents always called this place Happy Valley. But nothing is perfect –– so I discovered last November during my junior year.

I was serving as an editor at The Daily Collegian when the Sandusky case broke. Even when I didn’t want to, I had to know every sickening detail of the case that was released and, when necessary in my role as an editor, be critical of my second home. I don’t know how long I’ve known the name Joe Paterno, mostly because I don’t know if I ever didn’t know it. Like many other alumni and students, I felt as if my community had shattered.

I’ve had only a handful of classes so far this semester, but three of my professors have already given the “good decision-making” lecture; partying and drinking just isn’t worth it, they say, because our university’s reputation is at stake. To work at The Penn Stater, I had to fill out an agreement form stating whether I knew anything about suspected abuse on campus. As we were warned, things are changing.

These are reminders of what has happened in the past year. But I still can’t shake the feeling I had as my parents drove me down Atherton Street for my last college move-in day. I felt giddy, finally being reunited with the infectious energy of this place. As a journalist, I’m always looking for all sides of the story. I know some bad things have happened here. If needed, I’ll cover them. But I’ll also make sure that alumni will stay updated on the lively campus activities and classes. There’s a lot to be proud of, and I’ll be sure to bring that, too, to the forefront this fall.

Erika Spicer, intern

August 29, 2012 at 4:28 pm 3 comments

Kudos to the Collegian

Penn State student journalists have had quite a year, learning on the fly as they’ve covered an ongoing scandal that has emerged as one of the biggest stories in the country—and maybe the biggest story ever in higher education. Their work hasn’t gone unnoticed.

On Thursday, college journalism scholar Dan Reimold, author of the College Media Matters blog, named The Daily Collegian its College Newspaper of the Year. Reimold praises the paper’s staff for “producing quality work and simply surviving a story that prior to fall semester’s start no one but Pennsylvania’s state attorney general could have imagined unfolding.” As a Collegian alum, I’ve closely followed the paper’s coverage (as well as that of Onward State, and of a number of students who freelanced for big-time papers during the scandal) over the past eight months. None of it has been perfect, but then neither has much of the work of the established pros who’ve dropped in to cover this story. Stumbles aside, the vast majority of Penn State student journalists have done impressive work throughout. It’s good to see others have noticed.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

July 6, 2012 at 11:51 am Leave a comment

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