“The Paper” by Aaron Matthews

Last time I was at Penn State, I spoke with some of the staff at The Collegian. Aaron Matthews was making a documentary about the work of the student journalists. Today, at 2:30, Aaron has invited me to see "The Paper," playing at the National Constitution Center as part of the Philadelphia Film Festival. The promo for the film says, in part: "One person particularly challenged by university bureaucracy is the Collegian‘s female sports editor, who is forced to think outside the box in order to gain access to the school’s star football players, who are constantly surrounded by wranglers. Other stories involve racial relations, GLBT rights and issues of interest to neighboring Pennsylvania residents. Over the span of the film, emotions run high, but to most of the staff the rewards are worth it." The question I had at The Collegian, which puzzles me as I visit many other college papers (left rail at OnCampus): why are student journalists doing less online work than many professional newsrooms? Maybe the film will shine a light on some answers. I know from my own experience in Chicago that students work very hard juggling journalism, classes and the rest of life. Are there college papers working to blaze a trail, not just to emulate the pros? Of course, exceptions abound. The Daily Pennsylvanian, for instance, makes it easy to upload a listing, plus it runs "most viewed" story lists (left rail) and promotes four blogs.

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