3 SCANDALOUS Examples of Student Journalism That Broke Big Stories

3 years ago



Student journalism is not to be disregarded or neglected. There is a bunch of precedents when student papers broke really BIG stories. Who knows, maybe one day an editor of a student newspaper at your college becomes the ultimate newsmaker followed by millions? Want to learn about the most shocking and scandalous examples of student journalism?


The Typical Student team put together a list of hard-hitting stories that have caused quite a stir in the education community. Go ahead and take a look!


#1 Critic Te Arohi, the ‘period issue’ (New Zealand)


This story broke on May 22, 2018, after Otago University seized 500+ copies of Critic Te Arohi student magazine, because of its "objectionable” content. The magazine dedicated to menstruation had a cover featuring "a cartoon of a supine figure with legs spread, bleeding from the genitals." The magazine’s editor, Joel McManus, later discovered that magazine copies had been dumped in a bin by Campus Watch, a team maintaining "a safe and secure Campus environment." The situation stirred the Twitterverse, with students tweeting: "Menstruation is not shameful. Suppression of student voices is."


According to MacManus, the special issue of Critic had been created at the request of the Otago Womens+ Club. MacManus believes the magazine "touched on a number of very important issues about period poverty and trans issues, as well as breaking taboos about a bodily function that half the population experience". Later on, the editorial board of Critic Te Arohi received an apology from the Otago administration saying "actions that were taken here are regrettable", and that removing the issue was a "mistake".

otago-university-new-zealand-menstruation-issue-apology#2 The Booster Redux, revealing the new principal’s real background (USA)

On March 6, 2017, the new principal Amy Robertson was hired at Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Kansas. One of the school juniors, Maddie Badden, and co-editor of the school's newspaper, volunteered to write a profile on her. The students decided to investigate the new principal's credentials.

booster-redux-kansas-student-newspaperThe Booster Redux editorial board

It turned out that the information provided by Ms. Robertson in her interview didn’t check out. The Corllins University, she claimed to have earned her master’s and doctorate degrees from, was an online university that doesn’t offer proper accreditation to students. The story later appeared in the student newspaper The Booster Redux, titled "District Hires New Principal: Background called into question after discrepancies arise." And later - in the New York Times! Eventually, Ms. Robertson had to resign "in light of the issues that arose."  


#3 The GW Hatchet, on misrepresenting admissions policy at George Washington University (USA)


In 2013, student paper The GW Hatchet revealed that George Washington University’s admission policy had been dishonest. The administration switch-up at the admissions and financial aid offices had catalyzed a student investigation. The school’s newly appointed associate provost for enrollment management was asked by the paper’s editor how GWU followed a need-blind acceptance policy given its small endowment.



The provost’s answer conflicted with the statements previously made by her predecessors, so students decided to look deeper into the whole thing. After the scandal broke, the GWU provost  would respond by making a statement that the administration would "increase the transparency" based on students’ financial need in the future.


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