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Join Onward State: Spring 2022 Application

Do you like to write? Do you love Penn State? Want your words read and pictures seen by hundreds of thousands of like-minded people? More importantly, do ya like having fun?

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

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, Penn State sports, student life shenanigans, breaking news, or the latest happenings in Old Main. Other times, it could mean recreating Happy Valley in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, following 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 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 JournalThe Athletic, the NFL, and more.

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 born-and-raised Penn Staters, Happy Valley newbies, bilingual writers, folks from as far away as California, Oregon, and Texas, and a visual editor working his way toward an industrial engineering degree.

At the end of the day, there’s a place for everyone at Onward State…as long as you’re not boring. Penn State students of all ages are encouraged to apply — especially freshmen!

We know this spring might be yet another unorthodox semester, 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 COVID-19 pandemic affects day-to-day life. We’re working hard to make sure new folks can join our staff without any hiccups.

Plus, with the return of sporting events and in-person activities, there are more opportunities to create at Penn State than ever.

If any of this interests you, give Onward State a try. Applications to join our staff are due by 5 p.m. on Friday, January 21 — the end of the second week of spring classes. You’ll find the application, as well as a handy breakdown of our staff, below.


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

Lucky for you, it’s pretty simple. As a writer, 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 more. We never pigeonhole anyone into writing only one topic, but a little knowledge about anything and everything will go a long way.

Didn’t write for your high school paper? No worries. Remember, we’re not journalists — we’re solely curious students committing acts of journalism. For 13 years, Onward State has welcomed folks from all majors and walks of life. All you need is a passion for Penn State and the drive to act on it.

As a wise 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.

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 “icepocalypse” video or 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 creating, Onward State is the place to do it.

Tech, Analytics, Podcasting, Newsletters, TikTok, & Literally Anything Else

Writing posts and snapping pictures are our bread and butter, but 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, crank 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.

In years past, 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 proudly served as Onward State’s managing editor for two years until graduating from Penn State in May 2022. Now, he’s off in the real world doing real things. Send him an email ([email protected]) or follow him on Twitter (@mattdisanto_) to stay in touch.

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