Alternate SMU publications provide news online

SMU Fountain.jpg
The front page of The Fountain features many satirical news articles on SMU related topics. Photo credit: Ellen Smith

Seniors on campus may remember a time when multiple news sources flourished at SMU. The Daily Mustang, a multi-platform news site produced by SMU journalism students, covered news, sports and arts on the Hilltop for over four years.

A merger between The Daily Campus and The Daily Mustang in August 2011 ended the era of healthy competition between the two and created a singular go-to source for on-campus news.

“After years of operating as separate entities, to just kind of combine all of SMU Student Media under the same umbrella and become a lean, mean, multi-platform news machine,” said SMU Student Media Faculty Advisor Jake Batsell in 2011.

Years later, two new student-news organizations are gaining popularity on campus. The Fountain and Human Writes cover news related to campus life and international affairs. Both publications are available online for readers to easily share content and join conversations surrounding the news.

“Everyone on staff provides creative and logistical ideas to improve Human Writes,” Editor-in-Chief Paige Bluejacket said. “Our [content] is non-traditional and involves everyone’s vision.”

Human Writes
is the official publication of the Embrey Human Rights Program. SMU alumna Shirin Tavakoli created the publication a few years ago to share local news features, blogs, op-eds, artwork, and interviews surrounding human rights.

Human Writes‘ most recent post “Burned Into Memory and Soul Forever” links to a slideshow of photos taken by Margaret Armour. Armour was one of 18 SMU community members who traveled to Poland to study the Holocaust last December.

Art has the incredible power to change people’s lives when words alone fall short,” Armour says in the post. “It did feel wrong at times to take certain photographs… but I also felt that with that photograph I captured the story and could tell their story over and over again.”

With multiple news positions available, including news editor and copy editor, Bluejacket hopes more students will get involved with the growing publication.

“Our goal to eventually provide issues of Human Writes in print,” she said. “But we are still in the early stages of development… This is an opportunity to work within a new publication from the ground up.”

The Fountain, a satirical news source, started from the ground up in December. Inspired by posts on BuzzFeed, The Onion, and Elite Daily, The Fountain editor-in-chief launched the site to bring humor to every day events on campus.

To keep writers safe from ridicule from readers unaware of the site’s satirical nature, all Fountain articles are published anonymously.

“A lot of students have said they’ve been waiting for something like The Fountain to pop up. Several people have sent in article submissions for us to post,” The Fountain editor-in-chief said. “The people who read our stuff like it and want to see more humorous, relevant stuff that they can directly relate to.”

Already, the site has more than 500 likes on Facebook and between 900 and 2,000 page views a day. The most recent post, “5 Ideas for Your Most Hilarious April Fool’s Day Yet” encourages readers to handcuff themselves to professors’ offices and wet themselves in class.

Though joking in nature, the site aims to provide another perspective to campus life.

The administration wants me to censor my content to adhere to their standards and support the image theywant to project to the world,” The Fountain editor-in-chief posted in an April Fool’s joke online. “I choose to keep my integrity, and the integrity of my staff.”

As blogs and online publications become more popular, many students will find their voices and stories told online, rather than print.

For more information on The Fountain, e-mail smufountain@gmail.com. For more information on Human Writes, e-mail pbluejacket@smu.edu.

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