How online college newspapers are using multimedia and social networking

The Daily Collegian’s police/fire map

The Daily Collegian (Penn State) has mashed up the local police blotter with a Google map to great effect. The map is an interactive look at crime in the area, something that most online papers, both on the university and mainstream level, have yet to create.

The Daily Kansan’s “Free For All”

Major news outlets take notice: The Daily Kansan is letting users say whatever they want, without filter. Its “Free For All” feature is an extension of its Facebook application and the result is like a public Twitter feed full of rants, ravings and random hookups. The best comments are taken from the site and printed in the paper.

The Arbiter’s video channel

The Boise State University Arbiter’s video page beats other video channels — even those that exclusively produce original content — because it is well-organized and fits right in with the rest of the site. The site supplements its original video coverage and interviews with Reuters’ videos and the two blend seamlessly.

The Stanford Daily’s mobile site

Pretty much every college student has a cell phone and The Stanford Daily has taken notice. The student paper makes its content available to those who would rather pick up a phone than a newspaper. The Daily makes use of the mobile service Mozeo which allows the paper send mobile updates to its subscribers.

The State Hornet’s YouTube channel

The State Hornet at California State University, Sacramento has a lot of great content, but one of its standout features is its YouTube channel which has almost 50 videos and thousands of views. The content of the videos varies widely from interviews to performances to news footage. Another great feature from the Hornet is “Eat Me or Not” where Sac State students give their take on the best and worst restaurants the area has to offer. Other college media publications offer dining guides on their respective sites, but The State Hornet best incorporates its readers into the reviews.

The State News’ interactive features

Very few college newspapers are creating interactive features and even fewer do them as well as The State News at Michigan State University. “Thrift Store Fashion,” an investigative piece that gave five students $20 to pick out a cool outfit, is not only well reported but well edited and designed. Equally impressive is “Get Ready to Tailgate,” an audio exploration of some of MSU’s biggest fans.

The Independent Florida Alligator’s Twitter feed

It seems everyone is Twittering these days, but The Alligator at the University of Florida is one of very few student newspapers doing so. The site uses twitterfeed to broadcast news stories and links, almost 2,500 of which have been sent since The Alligator began using the service.

The GW Hatchet’s newspaper location map

Sometimes it takes a little bit of effort and searching to find a student newspaper on campus. The Hatchet makes it easier with an online Google Map of locations where the print edition can be found near George Washington University. Color-coded markers signify locations where papers are delivered by hand, by the paper’s printing company or are available on news boxes.’s cross-publication multimedia has so many videos, audio slideshows and photos available that it can be daunting — so much so that, because everything is on one page, the site is liable to crash your browser. Nevertheless, the site’s many multimedia offerings, along with the coverage by on-campus media outlets TV2 News and Black Squirrel Radio, proves there really is no excuse not to know whats happening on the Kent State campus.

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