WVU Journalism Class Creates Website About 'Study Drugs' - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

WVU Journalism Class Creates Website About 'Study Drugs'

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MORGANTOWN -

It's finals week at West Virginia University, which means thousands of students have their noses in books studying for tests. But what lengths will some students go to get that 'A'? A group at West Virginia University found out.

"It's something that we could really connect with as students," said Tim Saar, a print journalism student. "We all knew somebody that we could interview, who we could get in touch with somebody who sold them or had them or anything like that. And it seemed like it would be really interesting."

Saar is talking about stimulant drugs like Adderall.

'Experimental Storytelling' is a class at the Journalism School that allows students to work on one major project for the semester. Wall Street Journal senior graphics editor, Sarah Slobin, came to WVU to help with the class.

Dana Coester is a professor of the class and said that the students work was experimental, but so was the class.

"We have analytics on the project that will tell us what people looked at, how they consumed it, how much time they spent on different parts," said Dana Coester, a professor at the School of Journalism. "And then that's not only information that we can take back for teaching more mobile first work here but also report out to the industry on what works and what doesn't."

Professor John Temple picked the students who would be the first to take the experimental class and documentary filmmaker, Elaine McMillion, was part of the leadership team.

The students put together a website dedicated to discussing their peers' use of drugs, like Adderall. 'The Drug Next Door' website explains that students use the drugs for studying but also for cleaning, partying and much more.

The group created a survey which explained that one in ten students at WVU admitted to using Adderall without a prescription. Saar says that the survey was a stepping stone to what he considers the most interesting part about the website, people's stories.

"We got some really, really great students who feel like they need Adderall but don't get it, or people who don't need it but have it," said Saar. "The survey kind of told us what we needed to look at and sort of was a little bit of a sign post guiding us where we needed to go."

The website had more than 2,000 hits in one day. It also shows that the drug abuse is 'All Around Us,' has a socially acceptable side to it, showing everything from jokes to memes dedicated to the topic.