BU Now Website Celebrates 15 Years



By Abby Stoudt

In 2007, media and journalism professor Dr. Richard Ganahl approached the then-Vice President of Technology at Bloomsburg, Wayne Mohr, with the idea and need for a new student media website. The following spring semester, BUnow was born. 

Now celebrating its 15th anniversary, BUnow has grown to feature thousands of stories, dozens of videos, and several podcasts, produced by more than 900 students, all totaling about two million page views. 

A group standing together.

“When I first approached our VP, Twitter was still relatively new, and Facebook was newly open to the public—not just available to college students,” explained Ganahl. “I thought we should be doing something. We needed to tap into this growing online environment.” 

In that first year, BUnow had a team of just 10 students who were eager to learn as they built a new student media from scratch. Today, the site has around 20 active members who contribute to its 25 monthly stories. The stories range from hyper-local campus news and opinions to national and international events.  

Over the last 15 years, several BUnow stories have gone viral, including one authored by a former editor-in-chief, Kristen Wagner ’15. “‘The End of Block Party as We Know It’ is my favorite story I wrote for BUnow,” Wagner said. “I attended a Bloomsburg Town Council Meeting where they adopted an ordinance amending the code that regulated outdoor social gatherings. I then went back to my apartment to write and publish the story before going to sleep. By the time I woke up, it had gone viral with more than 20,000 views in less than 24 hours.”

A group standing together.

What makes BUnow unique when compared to other 

forms of traditional student media is its commitment to remaining adaptable to change. “I’ve always considered BUnow to be experimental and unafraid,” Ganahl said. “We’ve always had a fantastic team of students here who are always trying something new here.” 

Since its inception, BUnow has branched into a variety of different digital media formats. From building its presence over several social media platforms, to starting a blog, and hosting several guest-speaker filled live streams, Ganahl is eager to see how the site will evolve in the years to come. 

BUnow goes beyond digital media as well, with a history of event planning and fundraising as long as the site’s been running itself. 

BUnow has raised over $25,000 for various causes including the Make a Wish Foundation, the United Way, the Women’s Center Inc. of Columbia and Montour Counties, and Camp Victory, among many others. 

In 2012, the organization’s executive board planned, organized, and hosted Pennsylvania’s first inter-collegiate media conference, the PASSHE Collegiate Media Summit. “This event sealed BUnow’s reputation and legacy throughout the state,” said CJ Shultz ’13, a former editor-in-chief of the organization. “I will always be honored to have been a part of it. During my time as editor-in-chief, my goal was always to provide our writers and editors with real-world experiences, connections, and education they would otherwise not receive in the classroom.” 

When BUnow celebrated its 10th anniversary, Ganahl reflected on the legacy his students have built in the organization, calling it a “whole new journalism” that encouraged students to write about their lives and reflect on current events in a personal style. He says that this still holds true for BUnow today. 

“Regardless of yearly personnel changes, we hold strong to our personal style of journalism,” Ganahl said. “Everything we do is always the students’ decisions. We weren’t ever, and probably will never be ‘hard news,’ but we’re still able to do some really fine work here.”

BUnow hasn’t just built a legacy as a student media, but as an outlet for students to grow and discover their passions. Kyla Smith-Brown ’19, joined BUnow as an undecided sophomore, but working with the organization led her to discover her dream career in media. 

“After writing up an assignment for Dr. Ganahl’s Intro to PR class, he recommended I join BUnow. I thought ‘Why not give it a try,’ and joining BUnow led me directly to my future career,” Smith-Brown said, who went on to found her own digital marketing company, Kaptured by Kyla Multimedia Services, after graduation. “Each experience with BUnow helped me grow my confidence as a creator and build my skills as a storyteller. BUnow gave me the voice I didn’t know I needed, and I look forward to seeing that happen for many more generations of students to come.”