The pandemic may be ‘killing’ the print version but Kentucky’s student publications are evolving

The following article from Nieman Lab earlier this week caught my attention. The headline was straightforward:

The pandemic is killing print products at student news organizations

With the Kentucky Intercollegiate Press Association student publications a strong part of KPA membership, I didn’t want to mentally process this story. I thought back to then-KPA President Peter Baniak naming all Kentucky student publications as Most Valuable Members of KPA for 2018.

Here’s what Peter had to say as he announced at the 2019 KPA Winter Convention the recipients of his MVM awards:

“Kentucky college and university student journalists have had a remarkable run in recent years.

“On multiple campuses, student journalists, with some financial support from KPA, are taking their administrations to court over failure to release open records on important issues like sexual harassment.

“They are producing solid journalism that has won them Hearst Awards and Pacemakers and even an Associated Collegiate Press national reporter of the year.

“Kentucky’s student journalists have pressed for and won open meetings and open records decisions against their administrations.

“And they’ve fought back loudly as schools tried to cut or take their funding.

“In other words, Kentucky’s student journalists are raising hell!

“I love it, and it gives me great hope for the future of journalism.

“So this year, it is my honor to name Kentucky’s student journalists as KPA’s Most Valuable Members. Please join me in recognizing all of the student journalists here with us tonight.”


Remembering that night and the excitement of some 100 student journalists on-hand for the presentation, I know student publications around the state are resilient. I didn’t want to use that story as much as I wanted to hear from the advisers of the student publications. So I reached out to the advisers for their reactions and more specifically for their plans as the new semester begins.

So far, I’ve heard from the College Heights Herald, Kentucky Kernel, Eastern Progress, The Northerner and Campus Times. In the following items, I share their comments and their plans for these vital publications that are not just a learning classroom for journalism students but so important to the community they serve.

I hope to hear from the remainder of the student publications and will share those comments and how they are evolving.

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