Orange Cord

The Orange Cord is the official alumni association of the Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation (RMSMC) and is affiliated with Colorado State University in Fort Collins, Colorado. The mission of the Orange Cord Alumni Association is to build relationships with and connect members of both the current student population and graduates of the RMSMC program. The Orange Cord has a leadership committee and seven subcommittees. Members of the Orange Cord committee are alumni and supporters that volunteer their time for the benefit of both current students and other alumni. To become a member of or to volunteer with the Orange Cord, please email

Cord of Honor Inaugural Class

In April 2024 The Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation inducted its inaugural class into The Cord of Honor Hall of Fame. 

  • Linda Carpio Shapley
  • Elizabeth Spayd
  • David Freed
  • Charles D’Agata
  • Jim Sheeler (posthumous inauguration)
  • Larry Steward (posthumous inauguration)
  • Virginia Singarayar
  • David McSwane
  • Eugene Daniels

Linda Shapley


Linda Carpio Shapley (she, her) came in as publisher of Colorado Community Media in August 2021. She has worked for a number of Colorado newspapers, starting with Colorado State University’s student newspaper, the Rocky Mountain Collegian, in Fort Collins and her hometown newspaper, the Greeley Tribune. She also did stints at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Kansas City Star before heading to The Denver Post, where she went from copy editor/designer to managing editor in her 21-year tenure. Before coming to CCM, she led a
dedicated political team at the trade publication Colorado Politics. A lifelong Coloradan with a proud Mexicana heritage, Linda enjoys spending time with her family up and down the Front Range, attending baseball games and being an ardent supporter of Colorado journalism. She and her husband, Ed, have two grown children, Graham and Bennett, and they live in Thornton with their two childish pets, Woodward and Houdini.

Elizabeth Spayd


Over the course of her career, Liz Spayd served in a variety of prominent media roles. She was
the public editor of The New York Times, the editor in chief and publisher of The Columbia
Journalism Review and a longtime editor at The Washington Post. While at The Post, she was
named the first woman managing editor in the history of the paper and helped lead coverage of
numerous Pulitzer Prize winning stories there, on subjects from the 9/11 terrorist attacks to the
CIA’s secret prisons. She also led coverage of numerous presidential elections, natural disasters and the country’s first mass school shooting, in Columbine Colorado. More recently, Spayd was hired by Facebook in a new role meant to push the company to be more transparent about how it makes decisions on key areas of public interest including false news, free speech and other controversial content. She now teaches journalism at Georgetown University.

David Freed

David F.

An author, journalist, Hollywood screenwriter, and instrument-rated pilot, Freed spent two years working at the Collegian as a reporter before graduating from CSU in 1976 with a degree in technical journalism. He subsequently spent nearly 20 years working at newspapers, the majority with the Los Angeles Times, where he served as the paper’s lead police reporter and reported from the Middle East during the first Gulf War. He was an individual finalist for the Pulitzer Prize’s Gold Medal for Public Service, the most prestigious award in American journalism, and shared the 1993 Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Reporting for coverage of the 1992 Rodney King riots. Freed later worked in the intelligence community for the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency, and the Army’s Battle Command Battle Lab at Fort Huachuca, Arizona. He has been a frequent contributor to national magazines, including Air & Space Smithsonian, where he was a contributing editor, and the Atlantic, where his story, “The Wrong Man,” was honored as a finalist in feature writing by the American Society of Magazine Editors. Freed returned to CSU in 2014 as a guest speaker and later spent several semesters on campus as a visiting journalism instructor. He holds a master’s degree from Harvard University and currently teaches creative writing at the Harvard Extension School.

Charlie D’Agata


Senior Foreign Correspondent at CBS television, based in London. D’Agata began his career in 1992 in London as an Assignment Editor for ABC News. He was a correspondent for APTN in London until 2002, when he joined CBS News, first as chief overseas correspondent for CBS Radio, then as London correspondent for CBS Newspath. He was the first American journalist in Baghdad 10 months before the U.S.-led invasion and has covered every major news story in Iraq. He won the Overseas Press Club Award in 2013. His work has helped CBS News win a number of Edward R. Murrow awards. His reporting from Cairo helped CBS News win the 2017 Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award and the Sigma Delta Chi award.

Jim Sheeler

Jim Sheeler1

Jim Sheeler, (Colorado State University, B.A. Technical Journalism, ’90 & University of
Colorado Boulder, M.A. Journalism, 2007) – Jim Sheeler is the 2006 Pulitzer Prize winner for
Feature Writing as a Reporter for the Rocky Mountain News for his reporting “Final Salute”, that followed a military officer who notified family members after soldiers were killed in action. His subsequent book, “Final Salute” was a 2008 National Book Award Finalist in non-fiction. Sheeler’s writing career included another book of collected obituaries published in 2007, “Obit: Inspiring Stories of Ordinary People who led Extraordinary Lives”, and also reporting for the Boulder Planet, the Boulder Daily Camera, and the Rocky Mountain Collegian. Sheeler eventually taught at the University of Colorado Boulder, before finally becoming Professor of Journalism and Media Writing at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio. Sheeler was also a keynote speaker for CSU Journalism Day in 2009.

Larry Steward

Larry Steward, President, Rocky Mountain Student Media Corporation, October 14, 2008

Larry Steward shaped student media into the organization it is today. He was responsible for
bringing KCSU under the student media umbrella (professionally run radio station prior to becoming part of student media), creating CTV, College Ave magazine and CSU Life. Larry was responsible for bringing the Onion to CSU, although short-lived it created an additional experience for student media. During his tenure, Larry was recognized by a number of professional organizations and served on several student media professional organizations, including the Western Association of University publication managers where he was elected twice for VP and president. Larry taught photojournalism, digital photography and business communications classes for JMC. It was Larry that the university approached in 2008 to come out of retirement and create, organize and transition CSU Student Media into a new not-for-profit media organization separate of the university. As a student at CSU, Larry worked at the Collegian as a reporter, cartoonist, advertising sales manager, section editor and eventually editor-in-chief. He also worked for KCSU, was a volunteer for the Silver Spruce Yearbook and for extra money, was a 16-mm film stringer for two Denver television stations.

Larry was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gerig’s disease) in 2016. In his usual way, he spent the next
four years with incredible compassion for his carers and gentle kindness for all those who
surrounded him with love. He was a man of honor, love, kindness and he is very missed.

Virginia Singarayar


Virginia Singarayar is a Senior Design Editor at the Washington Post where she helps lead a team of designers and edits visual storytelling across all of the Post’s publishing platforms. Virginia oversees the visual direction of some of the Post’s most ambitious and important work, including the 2024 Election. She sits at the intersection of the newsroom, product and engineering departments to deliver a consistent and cohesive brand aesthetic to readers. Virginia also leads the visuals and design for the Post’s sports coverage.

Before joining the Post a decade ago, she was a designer at the Star Tribune in Minneapolis for three years. She also previously worked at the Longmont Times-Call, Denver Post and Rocky Mountain Collegian, where she served as Editor-in-Chief from 2009-2010.

David McSwane

David McSwane 2

J. David McSwane is an investigative reporter for ProPublica and author of Pandemic, Inc., a
book about COVID profiteers, the Trump administration’s failed response and other
shenanigans. He’s worked in broadcast and print in Colorado, Florida, Texas and Washington,
DC. His investigative reporting has changed laws, helped poor people and disabled children and
gotten bad guys fired and criminally convicted. He’s won some shiny trinkets along the way, too.

When Harvard University awarded him its prestigious Goldsmith Prize for Investigative
Reporting, he made sure everyone at the fancy party knew he went to a state school. He
graduated from CSU in 2010, barely. While a student editor and reporter at The Rocky Mountain
Collegian, he irritated a lot of people but also managed to produce investigations that led to the
resignations of the university police chief and president. He goes by Dave but uses the “J. David”
byline because, as his late mother liked to say, “It makes you sound smarter than you are.”

Eugene Daniels

Eugene 2

Eugene Daniels is the co-author of POLITICO’s flagship daily newsletter Playbook, and a White
House Correspondent. In addition to reporting for POLITICO, Eugene joins MSNBC as a Senior
Political Analyst where he shares scoops, reporting and analysis of the biggest news in politics
and policy. He is also the current vice president of the White House Correspondents’
Association; in July, he will assume the role of president of the organization, becoming only the
second Black person and the first gay person of color to hold the position in its 110 year history.

Eugene graduated from CSU’s Journalism Department in May 2012 with a degree in Journalism
and Technical Communication with concentrations in TV News and Video Communication and
News Editorial with a minor in Political Science. While at CSU, Eugene was a staffer of the
Collegian, CTV, KCSU, College Avenue and also hosted a “late night” talk show called
“Daniels After Dark.”

Orange Cord Committee Members

Melissa Brandon Headshot Fall 2021 10_11_23

Melissa Brandon, Chair, Orange Cord

Pete Waack, Treasurer

Hannah Taylor Headshot 2_1_24

Hannah Taylor, Alumni Relations Coordinator 


Max Rule, Digitization 

The CTV Digitization Committee is dedicated to the preservation of CTV broadcasts new and old through the thorough archival review and digital conversion of archived video tapes and the mass organization of previously digitized tapes and born digital broadcasts. We are working to review, restore, and preserve any and all historical and modern CTV material for the community at large to enjoy for generations to come.

Leslie Ballentine Cord of Honor Committee Chair 11_28_23 2

Leslie Ballantine, Cord of Honor 

The Cord Of Honor committee will plan a 2024 Celebration Event for the Cord of Honor Inaugural Class. We’ll also create a call for nominees for a second Cord of Honor group, review nominations and oversee voting.

Ethan Bird Headshot 10_18_23

Ethan Bird, Mentorship

FLDP Graduation

Sid Simonson, Mentorship


Rachel Baschnagel, Events 

David Worford Research Committee 12_5_23

David Worford, Alumni Research

The Orange Cord Alumni Research Committee will grow an accurate list of student media alumni from throughout the years. The committee also seeks to improve on the information already gathered and fill in any contact information that is missing, as well as analyze the list we have and fill in gaps of information regarding names, contacts, or graduation years as necessary. The alumni research committee will be available to other committees that need help with finding alumni who could help those groups fulfill their functions.


Carmen Hardy, Design & Advertising

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