By: Charles Bowen

Giving It That Ol’ College Try

To use Alumnipride, visit the site at

College is sometimes the stepchild of education reporters. Reared in
covering kindergarten through high school, our education writers and
editors often are simply more comfortable in the world of local school
board politics, new curricula, the distribution of public education
dollars, the dynamics of parents and teachers, and the fads and
fashions of daily student life.

Why is it we feel that once we’ve published the obligatory college
preparation package and gotten the seniors through the SAT tests that
we then can push out of the nest another graduating class and turn our
journalistic attentions elsewhere? Logistics, mainly. Most colleges are
outside our circulation areas, so we’re not in the pipeline for their
press releases, and, frankly, we’re already way too busy covering
what’s happening in town to go looking for news elsewhere.

But there are times when being able to make fast connections with
distant universities surely would make newsroom life easier. Suppose
you’re on deadline – aren’t you always- and you’ve:

? Just learned the name of the leading candidate for the local
university presidency. He is the darkest of dark horses. It would be so
helpful if you could see the stories from the most recent issues of
that school’s student newspaper.

? Started editing a story by your greenest reporter. His copy, filled
as usual with typos, provides a very strange spelling for a little-

known university represented by a visiting lecturer. No time to kick
the story back to the tenderfoot as an object lesson; you just need the
correct spelling right now to make your page deadline.

? Found a story on the wire that reports the names of several college
students hurt in a car accident, including one whose name sounds as if
she might be the child of a prominent local family. As you ask the
police reporter to get on it, you realize he could use help with
contact names and numbers for the university. But where to turn for
fast facts such as this when you’re not dealing with a local
university?, a site that exists primarily to enable recent college
grads to stay in touch with one another, also proves to be a valuable
reference tool for such specific applications. It not only offers daily
college news and sports from around the country, but its ‘College
Links’ section is ideal for quickly finding electronic extensions of
universities everywhere.

To use it, visit the site at, where the
introductory page lists hyperlinked headlines for top college news,
such as ‘U. Pittsburgh economics prof predicts a slumping economy for
2000,’ ‘U. Oklahoma Muslims come together to celebrate holiday,’ and
‘Stanford Med School’s top position to split.’ At the bottom of the
main screen are a section of ‘College Links,’ connecting to college
homepages, college alumni homepages, college newspapers, and so on.
Click any of these links and you’ll be prompted to specify a state for
searching. The next screen then displays a hyperlinked list of colleges
and universities in that state. Click the one you’re researching to be
transported to the requested online site.

Other considerations for using in your writing and

1. Alert your lifestyles staff to this site. It provides a fairly
active section on music, giving an interesting insight into what is hot
and what is not on college campuses and among recent graduates. The
site’s music page provides linked headlines to recent music news, as
well as reviews, concert announcements, and music-oriented Web sites.

2. itself might also be worth a feature for your local
readership, since its primary function is to put college graduates in
touch with each other. The site offers a chatroom and message board,
electronic shopping for college merchandise, and data on alumni clubs
around the country as well as an interesting ‘Find-a-Friend’ search

3. Recently, the site launched a sections of ‘reviews’ of colleges and
universities, written by students and former students. At this writing,
the database is small – fewer than two dozens reviews online – but it
might be a space to watch in the future. To check the current crop,
click the ‘Reviews’ button on the site’s introductory screen, then
select a school from the resulting drop-down list. Reviews cover topics
ranging from living conditions, academics, sports, food, recreation. It
also provides vital statistics on student enrollment and contact


Bowen writes columns, articles and books from West
Virginia, and is host of the daily Internet News syndicated
radio show (

(c) Copyright 2000, Editor & Publisher

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