There are hundreds of student newspapers in America. Last year, I was the editor of one of them -- the Daily Texan at the University of Texas-Austin, where I worked for three years. Some called the work nearly 200 of us did in our dingy basement newsroom "sandbox journalism": journalism on training wheels, its hand being held as each story was published. It's a fair enough assessment, I suppose, until you consider that my colleagues and I were in charge of a multi-million dollar paper, working late into the night covering a campus racked with issues and struggling to maintain the integrity of our product while the looming specter of industry downturn threatened our solvency and well-being.
Journalism in the sandbox tended to be quite real.
My time at the Texan was a superlative education in journalism. Nothing could have prepared me for a career in the industry better than sloughing off my biology homework to deal with slick, gun-toting politicians and stubborn Texas power players. And all the while I was working with a massively excited, ambitious and talented staff and protecting them from the occasional death threat leveled at us because of what we published.
I see this same kind of verve in the 62 papers that have initially joined with HuffPost to produce HuffPost College. There's hard-line reporting out of the Nevada Sagebrush, the paper of the University of Nevada-Reno, covering possible college closures in the state because of a staggering budget shortfall. There's the Daily Collegian, at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, which just published a report by a student who was able to buy a gun without an I.D. The Daily Californian at the University of California-Berkeley has not only covered the state's budget crisis in full, but offers articles on such things as the college's Quidditch league. And there's the tiny Mac Weekly, at Macalester College, churning out intelligent copy on everything from human rights to dorm rules.
Suffice it to say that college newsrooms are special places. Reading our partners' papers, I'm not worried about the future of journalism. Rest assured it exists, en masse, typing away on college campuses around the country. And it's here at HuffPost College that you'll get to see a lot more of it.