Best College Newspapers to Write For
College is filled with opportunities for you to discover what you want to do when you graduate, and it’s important to try different things during your time there in order to discover what you love. Only 38% of incoming college freshman graduate with the same major they enrolled with, which means that, at the outset, very few people have found their passion. If you have ever had an interest in writing or journalism, working for your college newspaper is a great way to get a feel for what it’s like to work in the newspaper industry.
We’ve culled together a list of the best college newspapers in the country, and given each an opportunity to say what sets their paper apart from the others. Every one of these college newspapers has notable alumni, an amazing staff, and a large circulation. If you’re interested in journalism, consider applying to any of these universities to make the most out of your college experience.
Take a look at our list below, and check back next week as we post features on each school with full interviews with their editors and writers.
THE DAILY GAMECOCK
School: University of South Carolina
The Daily Gamecock, out of the University of South Carolina, has a daily circulation of over 10,000 copies, and claims a readership of more than 30,000 people a day. Recognized as a top ten college newspaper by the Princeton review, The Daily Gamecock has collected dozens of regional awards for outstanding journalism.
Thad Moore, Editor-in-chief, said of the paper, “The Daily Gamecock has changed a lot over the last few years: We’ve created (and reinvented) a training program for new staff, and we’ve overhauled our website. This year, for the first time, we had two managing editors — one for print and one for Web — as we work toward building a dedicated Web staff. And because The Daily Gamecock is part of the office of Student Media at the University of South Carolina, we work closely with our sister organizations, including a TV station and a radio station, to produce a daily radio segment and multimedia content.”
THE DAILY TROJAN
School: University of Southern California
With a circulation of over 10,000 on the campus of the University of Southern California, The Daily Trojan was founded in 1912, and is notable for its famous alumni in and out of journalism. Satirist Art Buchwald, columnist Rob Asghar, Freaks and Geeks creator and Bridesmaids director Paul Feig, and Kate Mather, reporter for the Los Angeles Times, all began their careers at The Daily Trojan.
When asked what The Daily Trojan does to set themselves apart, editor-in-cheif Enuo Lee said, “I can’t really speak for other college newspapers since I haven’t been in their newsrooms, but I think what we have at the Daily Trojan that is probably hard to find anywhere else, is an incredibly loyal readership and, consequently, a consistently high circulation.
The Trojan family isn’t just a glitzy sounding colloquialism around here– it’s very real, and it’s reflected in our numbers. Our alumni, administrators and students remain uniquely committed to keeping us accountable, reading our paper and sending us letters and feedback about our stories. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity to serve this specifically educated readership. Also, we are located at the heart of the entertainment industry and boast perhaps the finest film school in the nation, as well as consistently strong athletic programs. USC has a reputation of not just being in one of the largest media markets in the world, but it’s a university where everything always seems to be “happening.” To be the ones charged with covering all the news fit to print in a place like USC is an opportunity and responsibility of tremendous value to myself and my staff.”
THE INDEPENDENT FLORIDA ALLIGATOR
School: University of Florida
Printing every weekday through the spring and fall semesters, The Independent Florida Alligator has a circulation of over 35,000 and a continued readership topping 52,000, making it one of the most widely-read college newspapers on our list. Founded in 1906, notable alumni have moved on to work at The Miami Herald, The Los Angeles Times, The Associated Press, and The New York Times, among others.
Alex Harris, editor-in-chief of The Independent Florida Alligator said, “The Alligator is the largest student-run newspaper in the nation. We’re also independent, which means that while we enjoy having an entire college full of talented journalism professors at our disposal, at the end of the day we’re in charge. We aren’t afraid to take on intimidating stories or to challenge the administration. You’ll also never hear “That’s not my job,” in our newsroom. All of us work together to produce the best paper we can five days a week, and we’re damn proud of it.”
THE DAILY COLLEGIAN
School: Penn State University
Distributed for free at the University Park campus, The Daily Collegian has a circulation of around 7,000 a day. This college newspaper frequently wins awards, including the 2010 Best Newspaper Silver Crown Award from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association’s Crown/Circle Awards. In 2012, The Princeton Review named The Daily Collegian the #1 college newspaper in the United States, and Collegian alumni have gone on to work at The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Esquire, CNN and NPR.
Sam Janesch, when asked what sets The Daily Collegian apart, said, “I believe the Collegian has stood out for a variety of reasons in the past few years. With the break of the Jerry Sandusky sex abuse case and the constant ongoing aftereffects, the Collegian was forced to handle the situation with poise and professionalism. With incredibly talented writers, editors, photographers and designers, we have excelled in reporting on crises and breaking news.
We’ve adapted and learned how to report on crimes and courts, competing against other professional journalists in the local area, the state and the country. Part of this success definitely comes from our training process where new members will go through a semester of “candidacy” as they get introduced to the organization, journalism in general and a start at what they’ll be doing. We also have excelled on social media and garnered one of the largest, if not the largest Twitter following for a student newspaper in the country.”
YALE DAILY NEWS
School: Yale University
While this college paper carries Yale’s name, it has been financially and editorially independent of Yale University since its founding in 1878. It holds the frequently-contested title of “Oldest College Daily,” and its redesigned look has been featured in the Poytner Institute book: President Obama Election 2008: Collection of Newspaper Front Pages by the Poytner Institute. In 2009, the Yale Daily News won the prestigious Associated Collegiate Press Newspaper Pacemaker Award.
Reporter and columnist Scott Stern said of what inspired him, “I’m usually inspired by one of two things: 1) Learning something that I don’t think is widely known, or 2) Realizing that I see something that is widely known in a way that is different from the way most people see it. An example of the first is when I learned that very few of the Yale professors who won an award for best teaching were awarded tenure (possibly because they were perceived to be focusing too little on their research); an example of second is how I came to believe that many students at Yale use the vocabulary of social darwinism without realizing it.”
THE CORNELL DAILY SUN
School: Cornell University
The Cornell Daily Sun has held the distinguished title of best college newspaper in the country, according to The Princeton Review, and boasts at least nine Pulitzer Prize winners in their alumni, including names like Ed Zuckerman, Emmy Award-winning producer and writer for Law & Order, Kurt Vonnegut, famed novelist, and even Svante Myrick, mayor of Ithaca, New York.
Haley Velasco, editor-in-chief, said of what separates The Cornell Daily Sun from other college newspapers, “I think that the Cornell Daily Sun is a lot like other college newspapers. However, I think that the news surrounding Cornell and those that populate our campus and the surrounding Ithaca community make what The Sun reports different from other colleges.”