Collegian ranked 6th best college newspaper in the country

Samantha Bostick

Previously ranked ninth, The Rocky Mountain Collegian jumped ahead to the sixth best college newspaper nationwide, according to the 2020 edition of The Princeton Review’s 385 Best Colleges book.

“For us, that’s great news,” said Forrest Czarnecki, editor-in-chief of The Collegian. “When I first heard the news, … I thought, ‘Man, this is awesome. How cool is that for us to make that jump.’”

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Rankings were determined based on a survey of 140,000 students from 385 colleges. Students were asked to rate their campus newspaper on a five-point scale.

“It’s exciting,” said Peter Waack, CEO of Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation. “I mean, from nine to six. Plus, look at the list; (look) who’s ahead of us.”

Colorado State University is not only the highest ranking public school on the list, but also one of the largest. The Associated Students of CSU cited enrollment to be about 33,000 students for the 2019-20 school year.

There’s always room for improvement, and that’s kind of the phase we’re in right now.” -Forrest Czarnecki, editor-in-chief of The Collegian

Each student contributes about $20 to RMSMC per year, based on the approximate $687,000 that ASCSU cited going to RMSMC per year.

“I think it’s … importantly an affirmation that this is a good investment, that we are a popular paper in addition to all the students that are getting trained here,” Waack said.

This year, The Collegian is taking initiatives to pursue a more “digital” aspect of news production.

“This is a big transition year for us,” Czarnecki said. “The switch between a print-focused publication … to printing two days a week and continuing our online content every day.”

These changes, according to Czarnecki, will help student journalists prepare for “careers in a field that is digitally-focused and digitally-centered now.”

The Collegian’s digital initiatives also include integrating other aspects of RMSMC, including collaborations with CTV and KCSU.

“There’s always room for improvement, and that’s kind of the phase we’re in right now,” Czarnecki said. “Increasing the collaboration and integration between all the departments of everybody who’s working here.”

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Ultimately, the ideal vision for The Collegian is a mix of conveying traditional values using modern methods.

“We definitely want to balance continuing to produce what you would consider ‘traditional media,'” Waack said. “But in the meantime, we have to develop the newer forms of media, from online reporting … to publishing updated articles to getting information out there quickly when something is hot and breaking and then updating it as a story develops.”

Samantha Bostick can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @samannbostick.