America’s top community college newspapers

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John Tyczkowski
Campus News

Student journalism usually calls to mind print and online dailies at major public universities, with dozens of reporters, photographers and editors running every which way and working around the clock in a never-ending news cycle.

Community college papers usually never come to mind, and if they do, the image is more of a 4-page high school paper printed on regular paper, laid out with Microsoft Publisher and published approximately “when the staff has enough time.”

The truth is, though, there are lots of community college newspapers that have won several awards in journalistic excellence and are just as notable, if not more so, as their four-year institution counterparts.

The following 10 newspapers come from community colleges all around the country, and consist of weeklies, biweeklies, monthlies and bimonthlies. But one thing they have in common is that all are flourishing and thriving avoice-newspapert a time when many community colleges have been forced to cut back their own student newspapers.

Weeklies
The Voice: Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, OH
The CCC Voice is a triple threat of versatility. It has print issues that cover the college’s four campuses and the Cleveland area, it produces a quality online product and posts breaking news updates online as they occur.

Most recently, the paper won five Excellence in Journalism awards from the Press Club of Cleveland, compared to the three it won last year.

The content itself hits the necessary journalistic standards and contains quotes, multiple viewpoints and good sourcing. It also follows AP Style well. The paper has sections for campus and metro news, entertainment, sports and opinion.

The Voice’s total print circulation is 2,500, according to its online advertising rates card. Visit them: cccvoice.com.

The Lookout: Lansing Community College, Lansing, MI
The LCC Lookout features a web site to go along with the print product, and has won several state and national awards, according to its web site.

The paper’s web site is slick and laid out well, with a good balance of written and photo content, as well as readily accessible social media links for Facebook and Twitter.

The stories themselves feature a good balance of viewpoints, feature quotes and demonstrate a good understanding of AP Style. The paper includes news, arts & entertainment, features, opinion and sports sections.

The Lookout has a circulation of 1,700, according to its web site.

Visit them: web.lcc.edu/lookout.

Biweeklies
The Sun: Southwestern College, Chula Vista, CA
It looks like the Sun never sets on Southwestern College, as this paper has won over two dozen awards in various areas from organizations such as the Society of Professional Journalists, the Associated Collegiate Press, the Student Press Law Center and the National Newspaper Association, to name a few.

In addition to its normal print product, the Sun also publishes a news magazine each summer, El Sol, and it also maintains a robust website, which includes PDFs of the Sun and El Sol, as well as a strong social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

All facets of the Sun, as well as El Sol, are extremely visual, with a strong design focus, and the paper follows strict AP Style. It also tackles a wide range of topics from local and state politics to campus news to entertainment and sports and has an opinion section.

The Sun’s online advertising rates card lists its print circulation as 5,000. Visit them: theswcsun.com.

The Glacier: Moraine Valley Community College, Palo Hills, IL
The community college paper of a small Midwestern community hasn’t stopped the Glacier from picking up state and mvcc-glaciernational awards like they were till carried by their namesake.

In 2006, the paper won second place in the Collegiate Press’s Newspaper of the Year two-year category, and picked up a second place award in excellence from the Illinois Community College Journalism Association.

The paper is written in a slightly more informal style than standard news inverted pyramid and AP Style, but that doesn’t detract from the quality of reporting. Both the paper and web site, which includes PDFs of the print paper, are also very visually oriented, with lots of photos everywhere, and the paper is also on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

The Glacier’s circulation is unlisted, but MVCC’s student enrollment is 36,000.

Visit them: mvccglacier.com.

Monthlies
The Voice: Mercer County Community College, West Windsor, NJ
The MCCC Voice has secured itself a large amount of awards for not only its reporting, but also its photography. Many of these awards come from the Society of Professional Journalists and the New Jersey Collegiate Press.

As would be suggested by the awards, the newspaper has a very visual component to it, with photography figuring prominently on many pages. The web site does not appear to be updated too regularly, but a full PDF archive of back issues stretching back over six years is available.

2,300 copies of MCCC Voice make it around campus each month, but figures from a survey listed on the Voice’s web site suggest that 76 percent of the college’s 10,000 students read the paper each month, in print or online.

Visit them: mcccvoice.org.

The Collegiate: Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids, MI
The GRCC Collegiate is another prominent contender in that while it prints monthly, staff continually post updated articles on the website every few days. Consequently, the paper also has a burgeoning social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

This paper also has received a slew of awards from organizations such as the Associated Collegiate Press, the Michigan Press Association and College Media Advisers. Some of these awards have to deal with the website’s multimedia nature, with some video reports as well as written articles.

Circulation figures for the Collegiate are unavailable, but GRCC has a student population of approximately 18,000.

Visit them: thecollegiatelive.com.

Bimonthlies
The Observer: Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill, MA
The lone New England paper on this list has won several of the highest awards in student journalism, including Gold Awards from the Columbia Scholastic Press Association and has won awards from the New England Press Association as well.

The Observer’s web site, just launched at the beginning of September, is not as visually oriented as others on this list, but it still features quality reporting and writing in sync with AP Style, with frequent updates every few days. The paper has news, opinion, arts, features, sports and entertainment sections.

Online the Observer lists its circulation as 5,000 print copies. Visit them: observer.necc.mass.edu.

The Montage: St. Louis Community College at Meramec, St. Louis, MO
The Montage’s claim to awards fame is a Pacemaker award from the Associated Collegiate Press, though according to its website, it’s won several other national and state awards as well.

The newspaper’s web site contains archives going back five years of stories, grouped by issue, and has an archive of PDFs of print issues going back until January 2014. It has articles written in the standard straight-forward news style, and contains a number of video reports, linked to the web site from the newspaper’s YouTube account.

3,000 print copies of the Montage are delivered around campus twice a month, according to the newspaper’s advertising rates card online.

Visit them: meramecmontage.com.

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