The Gutsiest Campus Newspapers of 2011

Dan Honda/ZUMA

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Whether they were covering the Alabama tornadoes in depth, pissing off James Franco, or exposing undercover drug busts, these campus newspapers boldly broke the news.

Watch This Space: In April, La Salle University in Philadelphia demanded that an embarrassing story about a business prof who’d hired exotic dancers for a class not run above the fold in the Collegian. The paper’s solution? It left the top of its front page blank and ran the story below the fold, gaining national attention. Well played, friends, well played.

Eye on the Storm: The University of Alabama’s Crimson White provided real-time coverage of last spring’s tornadoes, offering eyewitness accounts and a photo slideshow to highlight the destruction.

First Responder: After Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and 18 others were shot in January, the University of Arizona’s Daily Wildcat snagged one of the earliest interviews with UA student Daniel Hernandez Jr., the first person on the scene to aid the wounded congresswoman.

Higher Ed: After a TV news outlet exposed an undercover drug bust that snagged frat brothers for dealing on Columbia University’s campus last December, the Blue and White got the full story behind “Operation Ivy League.”

Tweets and Geeks: Actor/writer James Franco usually keeps his cool, but the Yale Daily News succeeded in riling him up. After a columnist mocked his Twitter feed, Franco tweeted a photo of his face covered in red scrawl reading: “Fuck the Yale Daily News.”

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Thank you!

We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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