Campus publications need more innovation
USC is bursting with the creative, the witty and the prolific â but you would never know that from our student publications.
For a top university as populous and diverse as USC, we have a shocking lack of student publications, particularly those that appeal to the tastes of students. Our two major journalistic outlets, the Daily Trojan and Neon Tommy,Â have each had enormous success in their own ways but ultimately are variations on the same theme.
That theme is news, entertainment, opinion and sports diluted into 500-800 word pieces and delivered in typical, PG journalistic style.
The Daily Trojan, in particular, prides itself on adhering to the same traditions it started with when the first edition was published in 1912, observing strict rules about formatting and article length and adhering to the âjournalistâs bible,â the Associated Press Stylebook.
These characteristics are not necessarily flaws. However, as these publications continue to go without healthy counterparts, they threaten to become cumbersome.
We are college students of the Internet generation. The webâs influence on virtually every aspect of our lives includes how we consume media.
With young people leading the charge, more and more Americans now turn to the Internet as their primary news source.
Recent surveys conducted by the Pew Research Centerâs Project for Excellence in Journalism found that 54 percent of Americans get their news through a laptop or desktop computer. Nearly a quarter of American adults also now regularly get their news from at least two digital devices, such as a laptop and a smart phone.
And the more weâre online, the more we become accustomed to a vast array of journalistic forms and styles.
We donât just like the Internet â we like short and spicy tweets, links to YouTube videos and sarcastic blog posts with lots of pictures. We love all kinds of traditional journalism fouls: colloquial language, hyperbole and rapid changes of subject.
Publications that bear this in mind do crop up from time to time at USC, but they are rarely student publications in the true sense of the word.
Student groups put together newsletters, but they are inconsistently published and only really distributed within those groups. The Master of Professional Writing Program publishes the Southern California Review, an acclaimed literary magazine, but its submissions and readership come mostly from outside the university.
What we need is a publication that appeals to unique, contemporary tastes but that remains consistent, reliable and available to the entire USC student body.
That isnât to say we donât want our traditional publications. Thereâs a whole lot of junk getting published today and a clean, clear, professional news article can be refreshing as well as extremely informative.
But if these kinds of sources continue to be our only option, the student body is bound to get antsy.
The student body would benefit from other publications â from university-oriented literary journals to satire magazines to more blogs like âOverheard at USC,â which documents the hilarity of what students say when they think no one is listening.
Give us a place to publish student art, microwavable recipes and harangues with lots of swearing. Thatâs the healthy balance USC campus publications need.
Francesca Bessey is a sophomore majoring in narrative studies and international relations.