2012 Student Guide | A genuine student news alternative to Brand X

Online student media outlet thrives at CU


If you grow tired of reading the same few articles written by the same few reporters in the Colorado Daily and its corporate sister papers the Daily Camera, Denver Post and Longmont Times-Call — and you have become weary of the drivel in Rooster — there is an alternative.


Yes, believe it or not, there is something other than the Boulder Weekly, and it’s a student-run media organization.

It’s called the CU Independent (CUI), and it’s an online news source operated out of CU’s Journalism and Mass Communication program.

It used to be known as the Campus Press several years back, when it was actually printed on paper, and then it became one of the first college newspapers to go online-only. Now it has grown into a full-on multimedia powerhouse that of late has offered comprehensive coverage of major breaking news events like the annual 4/20 smokeout and President Barack Obama’s campus visit.

You might also recall the photo of Boulder’s falling bear that went viral last spring. Yes, that was courtesy of the CUI.

And you can get involved even if you are not a journalism major. There are somewhere between 40 and 50 regular contributors who are volunteer writers and photographers.

“It’s really open, and we’re always looking for new people,” CUI Editor- In-Chief Amanda Moutinho says, adding that even those who have no experience are encouraged to get involved. “There’s a lot of support for teaching you how to write.”

As for the top of the food chain, Moutinho says there are about 16 editors — not including sales, marketing, social media and multimedia personnel — and they make a mere pittance. Those who work at the CUI are driven more by the desire to gain real-world journalism experience by producing news for the CU community than by the meager paycheck. There are two managing editors, three news editors, two sports editors, two entertainment editors, an opinion editor and a photo editor.

The operation is funded through alumni donations and online ad revenue, which has grown over the past year, according to Moutinho.

In the absence of a real stipend, the return for CUI staffers comes in the form of experience — and ammo for the portfolio of published work that one can use to gain career-setting internships and high-profile first jobs. In addition, having access to the environment of a dedicated newsroom in the Armory Building and an advisor like seasoned journalist Gil Asakawa, whose specialty is new media, is invaluable.

“One of the great things about the CUI is it’s really hands-on,” Moutinho says. “And it looks good on a resume for any profession.”

For instance, she explains, non-journalism majors can get experience in areas like multimedia, photography, information technology, computer science, social media, ad sales and marketing.

“You can tailor the CUI to any of your interests,” Moutinho says.

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