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Join Onward State: Spring 2021 Application

Do you love to write? Do you adore Penn State? Want your words read and pictures seen by hundreds of thousands of like-minded people? Ever wanted to join the world’s premier student-run media outlet? More importantly, do ya like having fun?

Believe it or not, it’s that time of year again. Onward State is hiring for the upcoming semester and looking for new folks to join our team.

Simply put, Onward State is Penn State’s blog. We were founded intent on providing a combination of commentary that is fair, authentic, and sometimes humorousanalysis that is critical and irreverentand news that is relevant and accurate, and we’ve done just that since 2008.

Onward State covers a little bit of everything that takes place on campus or in State College. Sometimes, that means covering Borough Council meetings, student life shenanigans, breaking news, or the latest happenings in Old Main. Other times, it could mean recreating Happy Valley in Animal Crossing: New Horizonsfollowing the Jonas Brothers around town (again), or getting the Willard Preacher’s thoughts on Kanye West’s latest album. Hell, it might even mean one of our staffers standing for 46 hours, live-tweeting, and eating 15 Bryce Jordan Center hot dogs over THON Weekend.

No matter what we do, we have a blast doing it. The best way to get a feel for what Onward State does is to look through our expansive archives.

Perhaps the best part of Onward State is the opportunity to create a professional portfolio outside the classroom. By writing published articles and contributing eye-catching visual content, our staffers are able to pick up real skills and obtain tangible examples of their work. It’s no wonder Onward State has alumni at notable outlets like the Wall Street Journal and The Athletic.

Onward State is made up of people from all walks of life at Penn State, and you certainly don’t need to be a communications major to fit in. Our staff features both born-and-raised Penn Staters and Happy Valley newbies, bilingual writers, folks from as far away as California and Texas, and a visual editor working his way toward an industrial engineering degree.

Bottom line, there’s a place for everyone at Onward State as long as you’re not boring. We’re looking for students who want to help tell the Penn State story using their unique, diverse perspectives. We want to add a wide range of skills, interests, and backgrounds to our staff and are looking for a little bit of everything. Penn State students of all ages are encouraged to apply — especially freshmen!

We know this spring is going to be yet another unorthodox semester in nearly every way, but let me make one thing clear: Onward State isn’t going anywhere. Since our founding, we’ve operated solely online, and we’ll continue doing just that as the coronavirus pandemic affects day-to-day life. We’re working hard to make sure new folks can join our staff without any hiccups.

Plus, with sports coming back and Penn State having a better grasp on running a hybrid semester, there are more opportunities to create than ever.

If any of this interests you, give Onward State a try. Applications to join our staff are due by 5 p.m. Monday, February 1. You’ll find the application, as well as a handy breakdown of our staff, below.


Onward State’s main focus is to tell the Penn State story and generate honest conversations in the hopes of enriching the university community and experience.

Lucky for you, it’s pretty simple. You’d be writing the words we publish on our site each day. Our writers cover everything around campus and in town, including student governmentTHON, the Board of TrusteesPenn State sportsSean Clifford’s dogState College protestsdowntown restaurant reviews, and lots of tomfooleries. We never pigeonhole anyone into writing only one topic, but a little knowledge about anything and everything will go a long way.

And don’t worry if you didn’t write for your high school paper, aren’t a Comm major, or can’t recall a lick of AP style. For nearly 12 years, Onward State has welcomed folks from all majors and walks of life. The only things you’ll need are a passion for Penn State and the drive to act on it.

As a wise man Onward Stater once said, you can teach anyone proper grammar or how to write a basketball recap. We’re looking for folks who want to start conversations, keep other Penn Staters informed, and use their work to make Happy Valley a better place. The best part is, that can be anyone, from any major.

There’s only one requirement: You must wholeheartedly stan the Oxford comma.

Visual Staff

After we brought on dedicated videographers and graphic designers last year, in addition to a slew of talented photographers, our visual staff is bigger and better than ever. If you think your work deserves to be seen by a wide audience at Penn State, we’d probably agree.

Our photographers receive great opportunities to shoot events and show off Penn State. This includes everything from shooting football games directly from the sidelines to capturing the magic of THON or big-name concerts like the Jonas Brothers or Jason Aldean.

Members of our visual staff also help us create viral content to be shared with our hundreds of thousands of social media followers, like the infamous ice video or incredibly hype Friday Night Lights intro. We’re always looking for help adding flair to our posts and producing more original visual content.

No matter what you’re interested in making, Onward State is the place to do it.


Our generous partners allow us to keep doing what we do every day, and we’re looking for stellar liaisons who can oversee our partner program and coordinate with our editorial board to make sure these relationships continue to be mutually beneficial. This is the perfect gig for a people person who believes in our mission and is excited to make some connections in State College.

Tech, Analytics, Podcasting, Newsletters, TikTok, & Literally Anything Else You Want To Do

Writing posts and snapping pictures are our bread and butter, but we know the media landscape is constantly evolving. As technology advances and trends change, we’re always looking for help and new ideas to transform Onward State into a modernized hub for Penn State news.

Whether you want to help bolster our website, manage our analytics, up our SEO game, or actually use the things you learned in COMM 310, we’d love to add new folks to our team to take our digital experience to the next level and make the Penn State story more accessible than ever.

Last year, we launched a TikTok page, introduced a new podcast, and founded our own Penn State football ticket exchange. But there’s much more to be done, and the possibilities are endless.

Like what you’ve heard so far? Please consider applying today. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to managing editor Matt DiSanto at [email protected]. We hope to see you on our masthead soon!

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About the Author

Matt DiSanto

Matt is a junior majoring in journalism and Onward State's managing editor. He's a huge Philadelphia sports fan, fantasy football aficionado, and washed-up drummer hailing from Collegeville, Pa. The quickest way to his heart is Margherita pizza. He loves Seinfeld, is really into video games, and would wipe the floor with you in Halo. Follow him on Twitter @mattdisanto_ for bad sports takes or email him at [email protected]


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