The April 17, 2007 front page
of the Collegiate Times reporting the Virginia Tech Massacre
The Collegiate Times is an independent, student-run newspaper serving Virginia Tech since 1903. The Educational Media Company at Virginia Tech (EMCVT), a non-profit student media consortium, owns the publication. Based in Blacksburg, Virginia, the Collegiate Times publishes local news, sports, features and opinions for 14,000 readers every Tuesday through Friday of the academic year and prints weekly summer editions. Photographs in the CT, as it's popularly known, are provided by the Student Publications Photo Staff, also a division of the EMCVT. The Collegiate Times is a division of the Educational Media Company which does not receive university funds but does generate enough advertising revenue to offer paid writing positions to all of its student staff. The Collegiate Times operates from 365 Squires Student Center and also leases space for its business office on Main Street.
In 1903, the Athletic Association at Virginia Agricultural and Mechanical College created The Virginia Tech, a university-sponsored publication under the presidency of John McLaren McBryde that eventually became the Collegiate Times. By the 1960s, when the university's board of visitors accepted "Virginia Tech" as an official and popular usage of the school name, the editorial board at The Virginia Tech opted to change the paper's name to the Collegiate Times, to avoid any confusion between the student publication and the university proper.
In 1979, the Collegiate Times stopped receiving funding from the University and became completely self supported.
In December 2005, management at the Collegiate Times decided to split the news section into two divisions: the campus section, which continued to cover higher education at Virginia Tech, and the city section, which focused on the Montgomery County and the town of Blacksburg. Each section had its own editor to coincide with a newly created day editor, who covered the police beat and deals with administrative responsibilities in the news section. In May 2005, the Collegiate Times decided to continue this news management style and add a managing editor, making it one of the first college newspapers in Virginia with an ombudsman on staff.
The Virginia Press Association awarded the Collegiate Times 20 journalism honors for its reporting, production and photography in 2008.
The Collegiate Times was awarded the 2007 National Pacemaker and a 2008 Online Pacemaker by the Associated Collegiate Press based on the student paper's dedication to "coverage and content, quality of writing and reporting, leadership on the opinion page, evidence of in-depth reporting, design, photography, art and graphics."
Collegiate Times staff member Caleb Fleming was awarded first place for the 2009 National College Reporter of the Year award, presented by the Associated Collegiate Press
Virginia Tech massacre coverage
The newspaper was the first media outlet to break news on the Virginia Tech massacre, starting online coverage at 9:47 a.m. the day of the shootings (April 16, 2007). The publication received international attention from media outlets around the world, which included the New York Times home page linking to the student paper's list of confirmed deceased.
The April 17 edition of the Collegiate Times provided a detailed, illustrated timeline of the massacre. In the days following, the newspaper provided extensive coverage of events from the student community's perspective, along with disseminating information about the various on-campus memorials and support resources intended to assist the students in their recovery.
The Collegiate Times was once the defendant in an $850,000 libel lawsuit when it was revealed that the October 7, 1995 print edition of the newspaper incorrectly listed the Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs's title as "Director of Butt Licking". Katy Sinclair, the editor responsible, insisted that this was a mistake due to using "dummy copy" and not editing before going to press. Sharon Yeagle, the plaintiff, held that this was a form of libel, as butt licking is considered "moral turpitude" and is illegal under Virginia law. In 1997, the case was eventually dismissed after a judge ruled that "butt licking" was not meant to be taken literally.
In the past several years, many students have been unhappy with the editing work, writing quality, and fact-checking performed by the Collegiate Times. Typos are extremely common at the time of publication, and it is not uncommon to even see typos and misspellings in headlines. Additionally, many students feel that the Collegiate Times offers little quality control on their opinions and editorials sections, often publishing opinion pieces not based on facts, not significantly researched, or lacking controversy.
- Collegiate Times -- official site
- Educational Media Company at Virginia Tech, Inc. (EMCVT)
- Virginia Tech
- archive of Collegiate Times coverage of 2007 massacre
- Steele, Amie (2007-08-22). "Letter From the Editor". Collegiate Times. http://www.collegiatetimes.com/stories/2007/08/22/Letter-from-the-Editor. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
- "VT Shooting on the Web".
- "'Collegiate Times' Earns Attention, and Plaudits, From Other Journalists".
- "Richmond Paper Prints Extra -- Campus Paper Gets Scoop on List Of Dead".