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Dan Reimold, St. Joe's professor, dies unexpectedly

Dan Reimold, a journalism professor at St. Joseph's University who founded the influential blog College Media Matters, died unexpectedly this week.

Dan Reimold, a journalism professor at St. Joseph's University who founded the influential blog College Media Matters, died unexpectedly this week.

Hours after the school announced his death Friday, tributes to Reimold, 34, were growing on nearly every media-industry blog in the country -, Nieman Journalism Lab, MediaShift, the Associated Collegiate Press, and others.

"He was undisputedly the foremost scholar on college media today," College Media Association president Rachele Kanigel said in an article.

His brother Zach said Reimold was found dead in his apartment Thursday after friends reported that they had not heard from him in a few days. He said his brother had suffered an accident, and they "don't know 100 percent yet what happened."

Alexander Balacki, chief medical investigator for Montgomery County, said the cause of death would not be determined for several weeks, "pending lots of further testing."

On Twitter and elsewhere Friday, journalists and educators posted memories of meeting Reimold at conferences, reading his textbooks, working with him at The Inquirer (where he was an intern and freelance writer) and other outlets, and participating in the frequent forums, workshops, and debates he hosted through College Media Matters.

Diana Mitsu Klos, executive director of the National Scholastic Press Association, recalled a workshop at which Reimold had the participants hold their phones up high and take selfies, "and in the background were dozens of people doing the exact same thing," she said.

"It was just a way of understanding the strengths and potential pitfalls of social media. But it was learning and laughing at the same time," she said.

His death arguably hit hardest at home in the Philadelphia area, where the staff of the St. Joseph's student newspaper, the Hawk, struggled to make sense of the sudden loss of their adviser and mentor.

Angela Christaldi, the paper's opinion editor, said Reimold "was always enthusiastic about how we can get better."

Services will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 7 p.m. Monday at the Tomlinson Funeral Home, 2207 Bristol Pike, Bensalem.

"It always blew us away hearing from people, not just at the university and the newspapers but all over the world, how many lives he's touched," Zach Reimold said Friday night. "It was a blessing that he was loved by so many."

Reimold joined St. Joseph's in 2013, and led the Hawk staff to a prestigious Pacemaker Award last year for its daily reporting. He also guided his students through coverage of a hazing scandal, faculty profiles, and features such as a Hemingway-style six-word memoir.

Often, the students were grappling for the first time with issues found in professional newsrooms - sensitive subject matter, angry readers.

Last spring, when the paper reported on a student's sudden death, "we got some negative reaction from people who knew the student who had died, angry that we were sharing the information so soon or didn't want it printed at all," said managing editor Shannon Adams, now a senior.

"We were all in the press room basically just crying," she said. "But Dan said he would have done it the exact same way. He always had our backs and defended our decisions. I got the feeling he was really proud of us."

Reimold, a graduate of Bensalem High School, earned a bachelor's degree in communication from Ursinus College in Montgomery County, a master's degree in journalism from Temple University, and a doctorate in journalism and mass communication from Ohio University, according to a biography on his website.

Carol Robidoux, who edited Reimold's work in the Bucks County Courier Times' teen section, said that even as a high school student, "Dan would write these long, thoughtful pieces about politics, public policy, and what was going on in the world.

"He was unsure of himself. But his writing was beautiful," she said.

On his blog, Reimold's instruction covered a wide range of topics, from reporting and ethics to getting and keeping a job at a time of consistent newsroom cutbacks.

Despite the difficult job market, Reimold insisted that journalism school was worth the investment.

"In a world in which everyone can be journalists, or at least say they are, it will be those with the real journalistic training and knowledge who will rise above and be recognized and [hopefully] over time financially rewarded," he wrote in an Aug. 13 post.

To that end, Reimold hosted weekly live chats on Twitter with student journalists from around the country. Instead of canceling next week's chat, set for 7 p.m. Sunday, his friends will turn it into a tribute "to share Dan's best advice, fav memories, stories, pictures and links to fav @collegemedia posts," tweeted Candace Baltz, director of student media at Washington State University and a contributor to College Media Matters.