Session Idea: Supporting Student New Media Publications

One of my summer projects was to survey over 150 student media outlets (newspapers, journals, magazines, radio and television stations) in order to draft a series of “Best Practices” recommendations. In my research I was struck by the relative scarcity of student designed and operated “new media” outlets. The vast majority of college media outlets either feature bare-bones web presences, or contract with pricey external firms like College Media Network or Radiolicious.

Ryan Sholin has insisted that in a post-print and post-network television age, “Reporters need to do more than write. The new world calls for a new skillset.”¹  This new skillset must include new media and transmedia literacy (meaning not only reading, but also writing/designing/coding).

At the same time, one of the very greatest virtues of student media is its autonomy, its separation from classrooms and departments. Student media’s autonomy is what allows it, at its best, to be a laboratory for media innovation.

The question I’m interested in pursuing, I suppose, is how institutions (be they universties or otherwise) can support and facilitate new media innovation without owning it within a classroom space.

¹ Ryan Sholin, “10 obvious things about the future of newspapers you need to get through your head.” Invisible Inkling. June 2007.