Collegiate Network

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The Collegiate Network - "the home of conservative college journalism" - a part of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, provides assistance including funding and ideological direction to more than 70 conservative student newspapers in the United States.

History

According to its website, the Collegiate Network (CN) has its origins in a decision by the Institute for Educational Affairs (IEA) to approve a grant to a conservative newspaper at the University of Chicago, Counterpoint, in 1979. Subsequently the IEA formally established the CN network and expanded the funding program to include internships and operating grants to conservative student newspapers.

By the time the Madison Center for Educational Affairs merged with the IEA in 1990 the number of newspaper supported had grown to 57. In 1995 Intercollegiate Studies Institute took over CN and moved it from Washington D.C. to Delaware. CN now boasts that it supports 80 publications.[1]

CN boasts that "free from reliance on student government approval and unconstrained by faculty 'oversight boards', they (CN supported publications) are often the only truly independent student voices on campus".

"When alternative publications do receive student fees, they are typically awarded with suffocating restrictions disabling publications from serious investigative work or voicing unpopular opinions. Grants are intended to subsidize free speech on campus by way of promising and enduring publications at our nation's finest institutions," CN claims.

However, funding from CN doesn't give the publications independence from what CN decides is appropriate content and standards. "Though the CN does not exercise editorial control over its member papers, it will expel a member publication should it threaten the credibility of the organization or other member papers," the website cautions. [2]

CN critic, Jeff Barea, founder of rival Association of Conservative Student Newspapers [3] describes the grant program as "conservative welfare" and "their key to trying to run the papers without any formal legal ties."

Indeed, CN recipients acknowledge that without its financial drip feed the papers would collapse. "The financial backing of CN operating grants is what keeps the papers operating. Without them, the conservative voice would be largely lost on college campuses," the Michigan Review from the University of Michigan is quoted stating on the CN website.

Many of its alumni have gone on to prominence in the major media and in politics, including National Review editor Rich Lowry, author Dinesh D'Souza, CNN correspondent Jonathan Karl and conservative pundit Ann Coulter. Collegiate Network alumni have gone on to work for both right-wing and mainstream media, including CNN, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, Fox News, National Review, the Weekly Standard, Detroit News, New York Post, Commentary, the Charlotte Observer, and the Atlantic Monthly.

Aside from CN's financial support for conservative student newspapers it also provide other support services including:

  • an annual training conference for student newspaper editors concentrating on practical skills;
  • sponsoring nine paid internships "at national publications in New York City and Washington, D.C. available to editors and reporters of CN member papers";
  • establishing a "Geostrategic Correspondent Course" in June 2001 to cater for international reporting. The course has been developed in close collaboration with Heritage Foundation with one part of its program undertaken at the Prague Security Studies Institute in the Czech Republic;
  • visits by CN staff to participating publications, including 'troubleshooting' support if necessary.

In June 1998, the conservative Media Research Center - headed by L. Brent Bozell III - established the web-based conservative wire service CNSNews.com. [4]. Subsequently MRC has developed a partnership with Intercollegiate Studies Institute and the Collegiate Network to provide the wire service free to CN member newspapers. [5]

Presenters to the annual conference have included

Executive Director of the Collegiate Network, Bryan Auchterlonie, told a journalist that he also provides advice to campus conservatives on selling their message: "Then there's the sort of ad hoc, off-the-radar-screen type of stuff … It's basically general P.R. advice on how to spin their messages on campus."

"What conservatives really need help on is how to be cool on campus … 'We're easily pigeonholed as loafer-wearing jerks," he said. Auchterlonie suggests conservative student activists need to break with the stereotypical image of a conservative student: "You don't have to adopt, hook, line and sinker, the conservative outfits, conservative haircut, conservative philosophy, conservative everything," he counsels. [6]

Personnel (Past and Present)

  • Bryan J. Auchterlonie (Executive Director). According to a biographical note on CN's website, he "also serves on the Advisory Council of the Young Britons Foundation, a London-based educational and training organization. Bryan graduated in 2001 from Kenyon College with a degree in political science. At Kenyon, he served as editor of the Kenyon Observer, a monthly opinion magazine, and was co-president of the College Republicans'.
  • Sarah Longwell (Senior Program Officer). According to her biographical note, "is responsible for managing the campus mentoring program ... A staff writer for the Kenyon Observer, Sarah majored in political science with concentrated study in the declining standards and politicization of college curricula".
  • J. Justin Wilson (Program Officer) According to his biographical note he is "a 2003 graduate of the University of Michigan where he edited the Michigan Review, which, in 2002, celebrated its 20th anniversary. Justin is responsible for campus mentoring visits, technical instruction for publications, grant administration, and website administration". He has been published in conservative publications including National Review and TechCentralstation.com.
  • Stephen M. Klugewicz (Executive Director). According to his biographical note he "served as Director of Education Programs for the Bill Of Rights Institute in Arlington, Virginia. In 2002, Steve received his Ph.D. in American history from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, studying there under the eminent historian of the Founding era, Forrest McDonald. Steve is a member of the Philadelphia Society and the recipient of several awards and honors, including two Earhart Foundation fellowships. His writing has been published in several prominent academic journals. Steve was also a classroom teacher for seven years at prestigious private schools in Alabama, Washington, D.C., and Maryland. As an undergraduate at the College of William and Mary, Steve co-founded the William and Mary Observer, a conservative student newspaper, and was active in the campus chapters of the College Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom."

Funding

Media Transparency lists CN - in addition to the grants received by ISI - as having received $3.9 million since 1955 with the dominant recent funders being the

PR Advisers

In 2008 CN used the PR firm, Shirley & Banister Public Affairs, to distribute a media release for its annual "Campus outrage Award".[1]

Contact information

3901 Centerville Road
P.O. Box 4431
Wilmington, DE 19807
Phone: 302-652-4600 and 800-225-2862
Fax: 302-652-1760
Email:cn@isi.org
Web:http://www.collegiatenetwork.org

External links