We ranked the best college newspapers in 2022 by traffic and engagement

Contents

    From holding power to account to sharing uplifting stories, journalists play a vital role in informing and educating the public on events locally, nationally, and internationally.

    On college campuses, this work is carried out by student journalists, who investigate, report, and publish stories, often in their own time and in addition to academic commitments.

    As Alex Yahanda writes in the Johns Hopkins University student newspaper, News-Letter, “A newspaper that diligently and accurately covers school happenings is able to distill down its university’s culture into useful articles and exposés…and, importantly, these are forums where civility, truth and evidence-backed debate are still respected.”

    To highlight fantastic college journalism, we’ve analyzed internet search traffic, social shares, and engagement data from every student newspaper in the country. Here are the best college newspapers in 2022 by organic traffic and engagement.

    “A newspaper that diligently and accurately covers school happenings is able to distill down its university’s culture into useful articles and exposés…and, importantly, these are forums where civility, truth and evidence-backed debate are still respected.”

    Alex Yahanda Writer for Johns Hopkins University’s student newspaper

    Most organic traffic

    On the basis of monthly organic search traffic data from Semrush, The Harvard Crimson leads in organic traffic, with an impressive 303,797 website visits during the 2021-2022 academic year.

    most organic traffic newspaper
    Publication Name Organic Traffic (visits)
    The Harvard Crimson 303,797
    The Daily Reveille 160,733
    The Daily Iowan 152,492
    TCU 360 112,769
    Michigan Daily 112,106
    The Post 89,626
    The Daily Tar Heel 87,332
    The Duke Chronicle 87,097
    The Purdue Exponent 86,465
    The Daily Californian 78,484

    Most social engagement

    According to social shares and online engagement throughout the 2021-2022 academic year, Penn State’s Onward State, with 810,843 total social engagements, is the clear-cut winner.

    most engagement newspaper awards
    Publication Name State Total Engagement (shares)
    Onward State PA 810,843
    Independent Florida Alligator FL 470,683
    The Lantern OH 395,020
    The Purdue Exponent IN 377,220
    The Oklahoma Daily OK 284,236
    The Harvard Crimson MA 250,581
    The Duke Chronicle NC 236,090
    The Red and Black GA 211,696
    The Auburn Plainsman AL 205,232
    Yale Daily News CT 187,863

    Most consistent engagement per article – Individual

    Drilling down to the authors with the greatest number of social engagements per article, student journalist Victoria Yin of Brown University’s Brown Daily Herald leads in the most consistent engagement per article category, with an average of 1,792 shares per article published.

    most engaged author - victoria yin
    Journalist Average Engagement Per Article State Publication
    Victoria Yin 1,792 RI The Brown Daily Herald
    Michael Hull 1,477 FL Independent Florida Alligator
    Ladimir Garcia 1,195 WV The Daily Athenaeum
    James Richardson 1,093 CT Yale Daily News
    Rebecca Johnson 913 PA The Pitt News
    Trevor Lwere 910 IN The Observer
    Steven Randall 806 IN The Purdue Exponent
    Chaya Tong 769 GA The Emory Wheel
    Maddie Johnston 563 IA The Daily Iowan
    Danika Young 533 TX Baylor Lariat

    Most consistent engagement per article – Publication

    Analyzing social shares and engagements per article, University of Florida’s Independent Florida Alligator takes the lead, with an average of 295 shares per article published.

    Publication Name State Average Engagement Per Article
    Independent Florida Alligator FL 295
    Onward State PA 269
    The Lantern OH 225
    The Purdue Exponent IN 204
    The Auburn Plainsman AL 171
    Knight News FL 145
    The Daily Athenaeum WV 137
    The Oklahoma Daily OK 119
    The Battalion TX 116
    The Harvard Crimson MA 114

    Student journalist with the most individual article shares

    Tyrik Hutchinson-Junior of Ohio State’s The Lantern is the student journalist with the most shares for a single article, with an astonishing 170,000+ social shares on his story about 2 childhood friends opening Columbus’ first sober bar.

    most shared author - newspaper awards
    Publication State Most Shared Article Author(s) Share Count
    The Lantern OH Childhood friends set to open Columbus’ first sober bar Tyrik Hutchinson-Junior 170,900
    The Red and Black GA UGA professor resigns mid-class after student refuses to wear mask Dania Kalaji 62,100
    Yale Daily News CT Yale researchers develop mRNA-based lyme disease vaccine Selin Nalbantoglu 30,300
    The Daily Athenaeum WV West Virginia says ‘I love you’ more than any other state Ladimir Garcia 17,300
    Independent Florida Alligator FL Gr-8 Gators: No. 20 Florida sweeps South Carolina to secure eighth consecutive win Kaitlyn Wadulack 17,100
    The Cavalier Daily VA Four Virginia swimmers claim medals for the United States at the Olympic Games Akhil Rekulapelli 12,800
    The Hornet Newspaper DE Delaware State Women’s Lacrosse Team Felt Racially Profiled by Police in Georgia Sydney Anderson 10,800
    The Harvard Crimson MA Harvard Will Move to Divest its Endowment from Fossil Fuels Jasper G. Goodman & Kelsey J. Griffin 9,800
    The Battalion TX President Banks demands The Battalion stop printing Staff Article  9,700
    The Purdue Exponent IN Letter to the editor: Why our English department deserves more respect Avi Kak 9,100

    Most articles written by a student journalist

    Tessa Hughes is the most prolific student journalist in the country, having penned a staggering 770 articles over the past 12 months for California Polytechnic State University’s Mustang News.

    most articles written - tessa hughes
    Most prolific author Articles Written Publication State
    Tessa Hughes 770 Mustang News CA
    Matt Disanto 372 Onward State PA
    Colton Sulley 228 The Oklahoma Daily OK
    Jack Emerson 220 The Lantern OH
    Robert Read 216 The Daily Iowan IA
    Ira Wilder 195 The Daily Tar Heel NC
    Daniel Allen 187 Daily O’Collegian OK
    Elizabeth Urban 187 The Vidette IL
    Josh Lane 178 Daily Beacon TN

    Most articles produced by a publication

    Examining the total number of articles each student newspaper published in the 2021/2022 academic year, Syracuse University’s Daily Orange takes the cake, with 4,969 articles published.

    most articles written publication - the daily orange
    Publication Name State Articles Written
    The Daily Orange NY 4,969
    The Daily Iowan IA 3,334
    The Daily Californian CA 3,267
    Onward State PA 3,015
    Michigan Daily MI 2,868
    The Post OH 2,698
    Indiana Daily Student IN 2,579
    Iowa State Daily IA 2,460
    The Red and Black GA 2,446
    Daily Bruin CA 2,419

    State-level analysis

    Diving deeper, below we showcase top student journalists at state level for each of the aforementioned categories.

    State Top Student Journalist for Social Shares Top Student Journalist for Articles Written Top Student Journalist for Article Engagement
    Alaska Matthew Schmitz Jake Dye David Harding
    Alabama Callie Stanford Henry Zimmer Callie Stanford
    Arkansas Erica Wilson Evan Morris Mary Lou Hill
    Arizona Piper Hansen Brenden Martin Jasmine Kabiri
    California Anushka Chakrabart Tessa Hughes Phoebe Chen
    Colorado Brendan McCarthy Brett Polley Julia Mertes
    Connecticut Selin Nalbantoglu Lucy Hodgman James Richardson
    District of Columbia Isha Trivedi & Zach Blackburn Isha Trivedi Karina Ochoa Berkley
    Delaware Sydney Anderson Sabree Primus Sydney Anderson
    Florida Kaitlyn Wadulack Andrew Carson Michael Hull
    Georgia Dania Kalaji Stuart Steele Chaya Tong
    Hawaii Reece Nagaoka Reece Nagaoka Tanner Haworth
    Iowa Molly Blanco Robert Read Maddie Johnston
    Idaho Mark Warren Haadiya Tariq Mark Warren
    Illinois Isabel Podolsky Elizabeth Urban Natalie Hoge
    Indiana Avi Kak Aidan Thomas Trevor Lwere
    Kansas Landon Reinhardt Landon Reinhardt Cooper Deters
    Kentucky Michael Dylan Payne Wyatt Sparkman Michael Dylan Payne
    Louisiana Aidan Primeaux Peter Rauterkus Aidan Primeaux
    Massachusetts Jasper G. Goodman & Kelsey J. Griffin Sophie Weller Marta Hill
    Maryland Winter Hawk Ross O’keefe Winter Hawk
    Maine Reuben Schafir Ayub Tahlil Reuben Schafir
    Michigan Madeleine Virginia Gannon Christian Booher Ashna Mehra
    Minnesota Macy Harder Michael Lyne Caleb Hensin
    Missouri Orli Sheffey Stephen Terrill Orli Sheffey
    Mississippi Heather Harrison Violet Jira Heather Harrison
    North Carolina Andy Tallman Haley Yarborough Andy Tallman
    North Dakota Claire Weltz Kelsie Hildebrand Claire Weltz
    Nebraska Alyssa Johnson Landon Wirt Becca Hummel
    New Hampshire Taylor Haber Cameron Beall Taylor Haber
    New Jersey Paige Cromley Sarah Siock Adrianna Jaccoma
    New Mexico Matthew Salcido Madeline Pukite Matthew Salcido
    Nevada Kayla Faasse Emerson Drewes Kayla Faasse
    New York Madeline Rosenberg and Anil Oza Erica Miller Meher Bhatia
    Ohio Tyrik Hutchinson-Junior Jack Emerson Kyle Bucklew
    Oklahoma Nathan Aker Colton Sulley Trey Young
    Oregon Emma J Nelson Mojo Hill Emma J Nelson
    Pennsylvania Rebecca Johnson, Martha Layne, Jon Moss, and Alexandra Ross Matt Disanto Rebecca Johnson
    Rhode Island Kaitlyn Torres Victoria Yin
    South Carolina Kailey Cota  Justin Robertson Kailey Cota
    South Dakota Autumn Grussing Skyler Jackson Adrienne Lipinski
    Tennessee Riley Thomas Josh Lane Jaime Perez
    Texas Ishka Samant Aubrey Vogel Danika Young
    Utah Sarah Buening Mark Greenwood Sarah Buening
    Virginia Akhil Rekulapelli Madison Hricik Maria Copeland
    Vermont Riley Board Sabrina Templeton Emmanuel Tamrat
    Washington Victoria Giomi Anthony Edwards Joshua Solorzano
    Wisconsin Jackson Walker Katie Pulvermacher Jackson Walker
    West Virginia Ladimir Garcia Charles Montgomery Ladimir Garcia
    Wyoming Erin Ramsey Emma Jones Erin Ramsey

    Methodology

    Data for number of articles written and engagement was collected via BuzzSumo in July 2022 and analyzed throughout August 2022. Organic traffic data was taken from Semrush and focused on the 2021-2022 academic year (U.S. only).

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