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Weekly College News Roundup: Student Reaction to the Trayvon Martin Verdict

George Zimmerman declared “not guilty” in court


After Saturday’s late-night ruling that released George Zimmerman from a year-long legal battle that started after he shot and killed Trayvon Martin, a 17 year old African American boy walking in Zimmerman’s neighborhood. Zimmerman’s attorneys claimed that the fatal shots were fired in self-defense and the jury agreed, but many college students believe they were wrong:

“This is a time of national mourning – specifically for black people in this country. I do not wish to expend energy trying to explain why this is to anyone.” – Kristian Davis Bailey, Stanford University

51e4d08078803.imageProtests were planned after the verdict at a number of schools, including UT Arlington:

“We feel that this peaceful protest will let our voices be heard regarding whether racial profiling or injustice was involved…” – Micah Okoro, University of Texas at Arlington

While the isolated case of Trayvon Martin’s death will be debated long into the future, many have taken it to represent a broader issue of racial inequality in the justice system and throughout America:

“[The ruling] reinforces the idea that African-Americans will always be one of the most feared and misunderstood races in our Divided States of America.” – Junius Randolph, Northwestern University

Despite the outcry against the jury’s verdict, the overall feeling was hopeful:

“One of the takeaways from the Trayvon Martin case…is to take up the challenges of ensuring peace by fighting unequivocally for social justice in all of its forms. This goes beyond symbolic acts of protest and gestures. What we must embrace is real community engagement. We must work to undermine those forces that continue to divide us, to understand and promote human solidarity.” – Dr. Yohuru Williams, Fairfield University

“We’re the ones living in an unjust world, and if we don’t stand up to it, nothing’s going to happen.” – Jesse Smith, University of Florida

Zimmerman’s acquital may not be the end of this issue though. It’s possible that the Martin family could bring a civil suit against Zimmerman, and the Department of Justice is now investigating the killing as a possible hate crime.

U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Appointed Head of California College System


homelandsecurity -TBWhile the news was largely dominated by the Zimmerman verdict, there was also big news for University of California students. Former US Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano was selected as the university system’s new president. President Obama wished her luck as she left the White House:

“Since day one, Janet has led my administration’s effort to secure our borders, deploying a historic number of resources, while also taking steps to make our immigration system fairer and more consistent with our values… And as she begins a new chapter in a remarkable career of public service, I wish her the best of luck.” – Barack Obama

UC’s Student Regent also liked the selection:

“I think the University is developing a much more concrete understanding of its potential influence in the state legislature … and building of relationships with the capitol. So in that sense, I think (Napolitano) is going to be very effective.” – Cinthia Flores

But student groups weren’t quite as satisfied with Napolitano. Students say that her record on immigration does not reflect the values that students in the UC system share:

“This is our school’s leadership and they’re not even considering the experiences of undocumented students…Just consider if there’s an undocumented student in the UC whose family member has been deported because of Napolitano’s policy.” – Seth Ronquillo, UCLA

A petition has been started by students to remove the new president, but with so much political weight behind her, an upheaval seems unlikely.

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The Top 20 Most Popular College Blogs of 2013

Keeping up with the latest trends on college campuses can be tough for public relations professionals. Even more challenging is navigating the hundreds of different college news sources and blogs out there. Fortunately, we make it our business to know the most popular and trafficked college blogs on the web. As of June 2013, here are the most popular college blogs in 2013:

bro-bible-logo1. Bro Bible

Part blog and part news magazine, Bro Bible is definitely geared towards male humor. They feature news, funny videos, and racey photos of good looking women. It isn’t all that professional, but they do a good job mixing aggregated and unique content.

2. Huffington Post College

The college arm of one of the web’s most popular sites, HuffPo College does a great job bringing together news, opinion, and expert advice from sources around the web. Much like most popular sites on this list, their focus is as much on aggregation as it is on original content creation.

3. Elite Daily

Claiming to be “the voice of Generation-Y” may be a bold statement, but as the internet’s third most popular college blog, it might not be far off. Elite Daily balances humor, inspiration, and current events on their site, and also aggregates snippets of articles from other sources from time to time.

4. The Gloss

A part of Alloy Digital’s network of blogs, The Gloss focuses on fashion and beauty tips as well as celebrity news and gossip. As they say on their site, “Our readers are motivated, informed 20-somethings who hop from the gym to the office to happy hour without batting an eye,” making The Gloss the most popular college blog geared towards women.

busted-coverage5. Busted Coverage

With the best sports news and photos of sexy women, it’s no surprise that Busted Coverage performs well within the college male demographic. Their content is also a blend of aggregation and unique stories.

6. College Humor

7. HerCampus

8. Uloop


10. Camelback Music

11. The Choice by New York Times

12. Betches Love This

13. College Fashion

14. College Cures

15. College Fashionista

16. New York Times College

17. College Candy

18. Living the College Life

19. The College Crush

20. Cheap Scholar

Do you have other college blogs that readers should keep an eye on? Let us hear your thoughts in the comments below.

Popularity data provided by MyUdaily.

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Writing a College Press Release Title That Grabs Their Attention

college-press-release-titleEven experienced public relations professionals may struggle when trying to connect with younger readers. College students are a special case; they’re smart, social, and very savvy to “trickery,” which makes it even tougher to connect with them through a press release. That said, they are curious and often willing to try new products or services if the value proposition makes sense. Here are four tips for writing college press release titles:

1. Put Yourself in College Students’ Shoes

First of all, think about the things that a college student needs:

  1. Food
  2. Money
  3. Grades
  4. Friends

If your product or service relates to improving any of the above areas of the student’s life, you’ve got a potential winner. The challenge now is to offer it clearly and succinctly.

2. Get to the Point

Students are busy. Between classes, seeing friends, keeping up with their favorite TV shows, working, and trying to stay in shape, they are constantly browsing the internet for interesting tidbits of information. The problem is that they don’t spend much time with any one source, so you’ve got to hit them quickly and often if you want to get noticed. The title of your release should be short (one sentence or less), and it should tell the reader what you’re offering and why it appeals to one of the above “college student needs.”

3. Don’t Demean or Deceive

A title is like a promise, so it’s really only half the battle when writing your press release. Even if you have a very appealing title for your college press release, it won’t mean a thing if the content in your release doesn’t measure up. College students are constantly bombarded with ads and the increasing number of deceptive marketers out there tends to make them wary. It helps if you include some social proof in either your release title or content.

4. Think about Share-ability

Social media is the channel of this generation. Newspapers, blogs, and even search engines are continually being set aside as students spend more time sharing and consuming media on social networks. For press releases, this means that your title has to be “click-worthy,” and “share-worthy.” Here are some great things to consider (via Moz.com):

“Assuming all other factors neutral for the moment, let’s look at what I think are 7 most important ingredients of your titles;

  1. Curiosity
  2. Benefit
  3. Emotion
  4. Tangible
  5. Appearance
  6. Sound
  7. Expectation”

Do you have your own tips for writing college press release titles? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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