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The Rival: A new vision for student media

student startup




The Rival: A new vision for student media


When The Rival, LLC was started by my friends Josh and Myles in the spring of 2014, it’s safe to say the world was a very different place. Nobody had heard of a “Finsta,” “fake news” was just the latest scanning update from IDGod, and we could all be 100 percent sure that there wasn’t such a thing as a presidential pee tape.

But here were are - it’s 2017, and we’re living through all the fake Instagram-filled, media-hating, political nightmare glory.

There’s no shortage of pieces claiming that this is some sort of golden age of journalism, and one look at any news outlet (well, most news outlets) proves it’s true.

Investigatory pieces, groundbreaking internet publications, the huge impact of social media, and a whole new world of multimedia production have opened creative floodgates for journalism. This is happening even as a small, but boisterous chunk of the country decries the media as the enemy of the American people.

There’s just one problem - student media hasn’t kept up.

At many schools, student media has been tied down by outdated media practices, legacy institutional biases, or just a lack of vision for what can be accomplished by the ingenuity of student creatives.

The beauty of The Rival is that it’s broken out of the dichotomy of institutional student papers versus low-quality high-quantity online publications that publish listicles nationwide.

The Rival has become as diverse and revolutionary as our generation itself. What started three years ago as a humor and opinion blog is something far more creative, collaborative, and, frankly, inspiring than could have ever been predicted.

I’ve been floored by seeing professional-quality investigative journalism, breaking news, and hilarious satire written by students. The multimedia satirical productions, web skits, interviews, events, podcasts, and much more that come out of our network are an even bigger surprise, and each semester brings even more creativity and energy to this publication.

It’s clear that college students are hungry to make content that’s just as modern, innovative, thoughtful, and funny as what’s coming out of the likes of BuzzFeed or VICE or Vox. The blank slate The Rival provides is just the answer, and our 17 schools (and counting) are building a collegiate audience with our high-quality and local ethos front and center.

Our talented writers, strategists, and multimedia producers are free to take their ideas and run with them within the framework of our opinion, commentary, news, humor, and satire identity. The results have been nothing short of amazing. I’m proud to see Rival alumni going on to work at major news outlets like ABC and CNN, founding production companies, starting exciting social media management jobs, and pursuing so many other creative and high-tech careers.

As The Rival expands to more schools I’m certain these successes will only continue. I can’t wait to see where the official student voice takes us next. Rival with us.