Do you need help with a problem your student media organization is facing or want to know more about an industry trend you’ve noticed? If so, CMA Confabs is for you.

This series of online talks will connect our members with experienced advisers and professionals who will lead discussions across a range of topics over the next few months.

From how to prepare students for the realities of this new era, how to motivate students during a crisis, to the ends and outs of equipment management during a pandemic, we’ll cover it all. There’ll be something for everyone.

Have an idea for a future Confab topic? Reach out to Hillary Warren, CMA VP of Member Support, at

Upcoming Confabs:

CMA Confab: The Poynter Institute

The Poynter Institute has resources — many of them free and available online — that media advisers can use to provide basic training, refreshers or to teach a specific skill. Join us to talk with Barbara Allen, director of college programming at Poynter, about which resources could fit your program. CMA members who have used Poynter’s NewsU are also welcome to share their advice in this open discussion. The date is May 10 at 3 pm Eastern.

It should be a great conversation.


Past Confabs:

CMA Confab: Fundraising for Student Media

Cuts in advertising and institutional budgets mean that many of us need to look for new, sustainable, funding sources.
Please join us (via Zoom) Wednesday, January 19 from 5-6 p.m. Eastern to talk about fundraising for student media.
Whether you want to create an endowment or you are looking for ways to pay for student travel, we will share ideas about what works (and what doesn’t).
Moderated by Matthew Bird-Meyer, professor and adviser, Agora (Monroe County Community College)
Speaker/participants include:
  • Chrissy Beck, general manager, The Duke Chronicle (Duke University)
  • Dr. Tamara Zellars Buck, professor and adviser, Arrow and SEMO-Association of Black Journalists (Southeast Missouri State University)
  • Erica Perel, director, Center for Innovation and Sustainability in Local Media (UNC Chapel Hill)
  • Chuck Clark, director, Student Publications (Western Kentucky University)

CMA Confab: Dropping print. (Or not.) Making money. (Or not.) — Addressing post-pandemic struggles in our newsrooms.

Monday, June 21, 7:00 pm ET/6:00 pm CT

As so many of us find ourselves contemplating changes in the post-pandemic student newsroom, questions abound. Should we reduce print frequency? Drop print entirely? Rely more on newsletters? No matter what we do, how the #$@!% could we make money in the process?
This CMA confab will feature an all-star lineup of advisers in the midst of making substantial changes as well as those who’ve made them already. You’ll hear new ideas and even success stories about coming out on the other side better—and more profitable—than ever.
Speakers kicking off the discussion will be:
  • Chuck Clark, at Western Kentucky University, who will discuss recent and upcoming changes, including having the print edition transform into a monthly newsmagazine, rebuilding the online platform and continuing recent success with a daily email newsletter.
  • Jessica Clary, who shepherded through similar changes more than a decade ago at SCAD, where students suddenly found themselves with the opportunity to feature portfolio pieces in print and online, giving them easy expansion into multimedia, with advertising advantages and ready-made audiences built into the process.
  • Laurie Fox, at the University of Texas at Arlington, where the students actually made money during the pandemic and where they’ve expanded beyond a campus newsletter into producing specialty newsletters for the city of Arlington and the local arts scene. They’ve even (almost) figured out a way to monetize Instagram stories.
  • Diego Aparicio, at Texas A&M San Antonio, who has been gathering information about where student newsrooms are headed and discovered how much print has continued to play a central role even as email newsletters and podcasting grow in importance. His work provides a window into our programs that he hopes can help us make decisions about where to go next.
So come hear what’s happening in college newsrooms across the country. Bring your stories and your questions.
It should be a great conversation.

CMA Confab: Fun updates for the CMA Bylaws Committee 

TIME CHANGE: Thursday, February 25, 6:30-7:30 ET/5:30-6:30 CT

In the last year, the CMA bylaws committee has been working on updates to the current bylaws, and this somehow turned into the committee creating a brand new code of ethics! Since these proposed documents are meant to serve and represent us all (and because you get to vote on them), we are holding a discussion on what we are proposing and why. This will be followed by an open comment period before we submit the documents to the board of directors.

Moderated by Kelley Lash, CMA Bylaws Committee chair, featuring the bylaws committee and the code of ethics working group

Please note: the original confab was scheduled for February 18.

CMA Confab: Have Product, Need Audience: Coach, Create or Fold? 

Thursday, November 19, 6:30-7:30 ET/5:30-6:30 CT

The staff is in place and the budget isn't an issue, but it appears your publication has a product without a demand. What should advisers do when their publication lacks meaningful curricular collaboration or support, creating engaging content doesn't seem to be a staff concern, and students struggle with the issue of promoting their work? Is there a way forward, or should the adviser allow the organization to fold in the face of declining enrollment, waning interest and looming budget cuts? Moderated by CMA member Elizabeth Smith.

CMA Confab: Budget, What Budget? Small Schools & Their Unique Challenges  

Thursday, October 8, 6:30-7:30 ET/5:30-6:30 CT

Small colleges and universities face their own unique challenges. Whether you define “small” as being small in enrollment, small in student staff size, or budget, you may have encountered your own issues such as limited budgets (or no budget at all), small voluntary staffs or lack of interest in participating, etc. This panel will share information about free tools, making the most of what you have, and small steps to take to become more “digital first.”

CMA Confabs: Opening the Door to Data in the Pandemic

Thursday, September 10, 6:30-7:30 ET/5:30-6:30 CT

Some Universities are reporting how many Covid tests they've administered and how many come back positive, but aren't breaking it out by student, faculty and staff. Others aren't telling if positives are tested on campus, in the community, or elsewhere. What data can we legally access, and how often can we expect to update the data?

CMA Confabs: Coloring the Conversation — Identifying and reducing implicit bias in ourselves 

Thursday, August 13, 6:30-7:30 p.m. ET/5:30-6:30 p.m. CT

We live in a pivotal time where the ever increasing gaze is upon the media in regards to coverage of race, politics, and pop culture. It’s important that we consider our role in the conversation, examine the implicit bias we often inject into into our content, and help our students change the narrative. 

CMA Confabs: Chronicling History from a Distance

Thursday, July 16, 6:30-7:30 p.m. ET/5:30-6:30 p.m. CT

College yearbooks offer a snapshot of the student experience from a student perspective, and are valuable parts of a university’s history. During these unprecedented times, yearbook staffs and advisers face multiple challenges from what to cover to and how to include as many students as possible to  how to recruit new staffers and build community. This panel will help you brainstorm coverage and distribution ideas, safety strategies and revenue generating plans. 

CMA Confabs: The Art of Protest Coverage

Thursday, July 2, 6:30-7:30 p.m. ET

College journalists and professionals have been side by side on the frontlines of recent protest coverage. They've struggled to figure out just how to approach the news of protest. They've also experienced physical encounters with police and ethical questions regarding whether to photograph protesters. Our discussants will share their experiences and answer your questions during our first CMA Confabs: The Art of Protest Coverage.