Monday, March 09, 2009

Radford University makes the Times, the Post & more

The folks in the RU public relations office have two reasons to celebrate -- not only did the school's basketball team score its way into the NCAA tournament, the university's RU Facts Web page scored a link at Well, a sports blog, at least:

Little Ol’ Radford’s Big Man - The Quad Blog -
"Radford students skipped spring break to hang around campus for the weekend. With good reason. The Highlanders clinched an N.C.A.A. tournament bid on Saturday by wiping out a 13-0 deficit and coming back to defeat Virginia Military Institute, 108-94, for the Big South Conference title."
RU's President Penelope Kyle didn't make the New York Times, but she was the lead of Aaron McFarling's story in the Roanoke Times: What a reward for those who stuck around. Let's Dance!
RADFORD--The university president held out her right arm and swept her hand across the front of her body -- past the student revelers on the court, past the team in its championship T-shirts and hats, past the second-year coach engulfed by well-wishers, past the fans still in the stands applauding and reluctant to go.
"Look at those students," Radford University President Penelope Kyle said. "They did not go on spring break. Some of these students have been out of class since Thursday. We asked them to stay and support the team.
"And look at them. They did."
Senior guard Kenny Thomas won the most-quotable lottery, though, with everyone using his line, "Finally, Radford isn't little ol' Radford for once."

There's nothing like March Madness to shine a spotlight on a college. USA Today used the AP wire right after the game, but came back on March 12 with a comprehensive story of its own, headlined Season of wonder at Radford, along with two good photos and an info box about the school. ("Radford is the first men's or women's team in Big South history to improve from seventh place one year to regular-season champ the next.")

In case any of my news writing students missed the stories (Hah!), I'll save them a few links here. Among other things, they'll see how the AP story was used:
Coincidentally, the game wasn't the only thing that put Radford in the Washington Post over the weekend. Sunday's paper carried a column headed "Second Class Citizens in Virginia," which had nothing to do with the game -- it was a wrapup on the legislature's decision not to solve the confusion over student voting rights, with Radford as a key example.

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