Alumni Try to Rewrite History on College-Newspaper Web Sites

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When Nickie Dobo wrote a column in 2003 for her college newspaper — The Daily Collegian at Pennsylvania State University — decrying the "hook-up culture" on the campus, she never expected it to resurface years later in an attack on her professional credibility.

But that's what happened when Ms. Dobo, now a reporter for the York Daily Record in Pennsylvania, came under criticism by a white-supremacist group. A member of the group posted a link to her hook-up essay in an online forum and ridiculed her standing as a serious journalist.

Disturbed that an article she wrote as a college student could be turned against her in moments with a Google search on her name, Ms. Dobo contacted The Daily Collegian and asked if it would essentially "hide" the article on the paper's Web site so it would be less prominent in any search results.

"I'm an education reporter, so I do a lot with schools and kids," Ms. Dobo said. "It just didn't make me look like a professional." But the editor declined to make the change.

Many college papers report similar incidents. As the papers have begun digitizing their back issues, their Web sites have become the latest front in the battle over online identities.

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