Anyone interested in the challenges facing college media, especially independent college media, should check out a series that ran this week in The Daily Bruin, UCLA’s independent student newspaper. There are three stories posted so far, including one that features The Chronicle Duke University, and its editor David Graham:

“We were seeing all of the dire predictions about the future: We have to go online, do multimedia, blog, do video,” said The Chronicle’s Editor-in-Chief David Graham. “Those who are interested in journalism as a career realized we had to be pragmatic and be aware of this.”

But:

But until the newsprint vanishes completely, Graham questions multimedia’s utility to the average student reader.

“I question the benefit to our core audience of undergraduate students on campus,” he said. “Most students live on campus, and most pick up a print edition.”

A few other tidbits of note:

Jason Brummond, the editor-in-chief of the Daily Iowan the University of Iowa, said his paper is working on a project to buy several handheld video cameras and train all of their reporters to use them in the field.

“We’re going to have the whole newsroom – 60 to 80 people – trained with small handheld cameras,” he said. “Our staff members are going to have those skills.”

The story goes on to detail the sucesses and stumbles experienced by papers like the Daily Iowan and the Daily Bruin as they’ve integrated their operations with the campus television stations.

So where do these students see their future? Here’s Chelsea Accursi, online editor of The Orion, the student paper at Chico State in California:

Accursi said she believes the future of college newspapers – and likely professional ones as well – is user involvement, interactivity and multimedia.

“It will be more interactive, people will post their own videos, there will be forums. … That’s where newspapers will have to go,” Accursi said.

“Eventually I would like to think that Chico students will have The Orion as their home page … and it would be one big student community.”

To me, the future of newsrooms, especially college newsrooms, isn’t necessarily about any one specific technology. It’s about experimenting with different ones to figure out what works for your specific community. It’s about trying to new approaches to newsgathering and storytelling. That means trying things like this experiment by Jessica Oxley, editor of The Ball State Daily News used Twitter provide updates on a local trial inside the courtroom.