The Message

Well-Suited

For her trouble, Fromm won a major award from the Society of Professional Journalists that'll look mighty fine on her resumé, and she earned an internship with the Student Press Law Center, a non-profit organization in Arlington, Virginia, that provided her with valuable assistance when she was considering whether to sue the college. "When I first started this process, I called the Center, and the executive director, Mark Goodman, gave me the basics, and helped me get an attorney," Fromm says. "Hopefully, I can repay a little of what they did for me and maybe help people the way they helped me."

Decision-makers at the Denver Post have already come to the aid of Heath Urie, editor of the Mirror, a student-run newspaper at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. Less than two weeks after an August 31 Post article about his scrap with university types, Urie's byline was on the Denver broadsheet's front page.

Earlier this year, Urie and two other Mirror staffers sued UNC's Student Representative Council for allegedly violating the state's open-meetings law on three occasions. Afterward, the SRC recommended significant cuts in the Mirror's operating budget, and when the institution's board of trustees concurred, Urie and company sued the board as well. A district-court judge responded in July by granting a temporary injunction against the funding cuts. Because the ruling clearly indicated that things weren't likely to go its way, the board soon began negotiating with Urie's legal team to resolve matters outside of court. Considering that the SRC got clear of the first suit by agreeing in a settlement to obey the laws they were accused of breaking, the trustees will probably capitulate before long.

This likely triumph isn't the only reason Urie's future looks so bright. After interviewing him for the August 31 update, Post reporter Monte Whaley told Urie about internships that were open at the paper, and promised to put in a good word for him. "I called down that same afternoon and said I was interested," Urie recalls. "Three hours later, I had an internship."

Urie's schedule is unbelievably taxing. He spends Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Greeley, editing the Mirror, and Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays as, essentially, a fulltime Post reporter. He's been placed on several high-profile stories for the Post, with more undoubtedly on the way.

"Things have worked out well," Urie concedes. He advises any other budding muckrakers "to challenge authority when it needs to be challenged, because the power of the press isn't a myth. It really does exist."

Thanks, Kobe: KOA's Alex Stone, who's 24, is another young journalist moving on to greater things. He's going national, as a Los Angeles-based correspondent for ABC Radio News. He takes over from another KOA alum, Stefan Tubbs, who's accepted a TV job in New York City.

Like Tubbs, Carol McKinley, now of Fox News, jumped from KOA to the bigtime, and Stone has a theory why all three of them came to the attention of network honchos. McKinley got coast-to-coast exposure by reporting on the JonBenét Ramsey murder; Tubbs earned airtime courtesy of the Oklahoma City bombing trial; and Stone was a go-to guy when it came to basketballer Kobe Bryant's legal mess. "One of my bosses at ABC was talking about how he's amazed how much news comes out of Colorado, like Kobe and the scandals at CU and the Air Force Academy," Stone says. "I don't know why that is -- and I don't know why so much of it has to do with sex. It's a strange phenomenon."

It's also excellent news for KOA reporters, who now have a simple recipe for success. Step one: Get hired. Step two: Wait for something perverse and disturbing to happen. And they probably won't have to wait for long.

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