New Staff Training

  • Show don’t tell
    • Let the new reporter show you what kind of experience they have: give them a story idea or let them take one of their own and have them go interview sources for the story. Before writing, go through their interview together and provide constructive criticism
    • Then, have them try writing the story with no help. Do the same process, sit down and edit with them and have them rewrite or fix things then submit it for the final edit to be published 
    • Have them sit in on one of your interviews and discuss why you asked the questions you did after the interview
    • Share with them your process of writing a lede/coming up with interview questions/submitting photo or graphic requests
  • Edits, edits, edits
    • Sit down and edit each of their stories with them for the first few weeks/months if needed. 
    • I learned the most freshman year when my editor sat me down and helped me realize what was good and what could’ve used improvement
      • Don’t just tell them what they did wrong, try and guide them into figuring it out themselves
    • Go through alternative ledes or angles to the story: how would you have written the story?
  • Assign them other articles to read from publications like Washington Post, NYT, Sports Illustrated to better understand journalistic structure/different forms of ledes/story structures – visual learning is key 
  • Develop friendships/connections
    • Make them feel comfortable at the DI
    • Host virtual (for now) hangouts/happy hours/game nights (whatever is fun)
    • Talk to them about their lives/school not just edits and stories all the time

Print v. Online v. Social media

Print

  • We need more attention-grabbing photos that ACTUALLY help tell a story, especially on the front page. Or we need to be more comfortable with having no photo/graphic attached to a story.
  • More infographics, especially in sports, that enhance a story or replace a story to tell it in a better way
  • Better-reported stories: Stop rushing stories that aren’t fully done! Obviously, we have to fill space and stories fall through, but rushing what could be a really interesting, new story to fill space is not the answer!
  • Variation in layout design that grabs the reader’s attention: good balance of text and art

Online

  • Updated versions of stories AND breaking news that is published right away. 
  • “Casual” types of art like memes (Spongebob meme) – more relatable student content
  • Photo galleries or photo essays to better tell a story (protests)
    • Or just photo galleries from a newspaper story where we couldn’t add more than one or two photos to
  • Video + audio – provides readers a unique way to consume news through a newspaper – could lead to better page viewership/following

Social media

  • Reader interaction: Twitter/Facebook polls, Instagram stories – let people share their opinion(even if you don’t agree)
  • BREAKING NEWS!!! (cannot stress this enough) 
    • Tweet about the breaking while getting brief up – sometimes it takes a while for breaking news briefs to get published so tweeting it lets your following know you’re on the story
  • Gifs, short videos, memes, interview audio – the younger generations don’t want to read a lot – give them something visual 
  • Infographics (might have to format differently than infographics in the paper)

10/9 Critique

  1. I would say the only story that could surprise someone is ‘Test return times down to eight hours’. This is an important story for students or staff getting tested on campus because a week ago it would take almost a day to get test results back. The other three stories, however, seem to be selected because of the topic they represent. 
  2. I think the protesting photo is the best visual on A1 because it shows human faces actually doing something. The testing photo isn’t bad, it’s just a little generic. Looking at the voting picture, I would think the story would be about voting in-person rather than mail-in The kingfisher picture is generic, but I’m not sure if anything different would’ve fit, maybe no picture?
  3. The lead story, the protest story, doesn’t really follow the proper lead story structure. The headline is a little bigger than the rest, but not by much and the headline doesn’t stand out, the picture does. It helps the picture is a good one, but the story itself really doesn’t stand out to me. I also don’t think this was the most surprising news story. The centerpiece package of this page is technically the lead story because of how large the picture is. 
  4. Between A2 and A3, I think the study abroad story could be more engaging than the kingfisher or mail-in voting story. It has a bigger immediate impact on students because many at least consider study abroad as an option. 
  5. I think a hidden gem was the Reddit story on A4. This type of story is really fun to read and a lot of students can relate to this type of light-hearted story. I also think it’s a good change of pace from all the negative coronavirus-related stories we have to produce. 
  6. I think the Block I story could’ve used another source like a student planning to attend the watch party. That would’ve provided a better human face to this story. 
  7. In Thursday’s paper, I think the group fitness story could’ve had more photos. It’s interesting to see how clubs like these are operating right now. 
  8. I think the main point of this infographic is clear. It’s a little difficult to read, but I don’t think it’s deceiving or spins the topic. 

Critique of Monday’s paper

A1:

  • The picture is a month old for top story
    • That woman has been in several photographs
  • Screenshot from student gov. Story is awkward
  • Too much text in headline for student gov story, takes up too much space
  • Can we abbreviate in sub heads? ARC story
    • Story is about the ARC but not photographed

A2:

  • Older Kams photo
  • Top photo is very large

A3:

  • The mask photo is awkwardly placed
  • Large portrait photo
  • Large photos at the bottom
  • Last photo is a little scary looking

A4:

  • Covalence bottom photo could be smaller
  • Lots of subheading in the paper in general

A5:

  • Large graphics but I like them

A6: 

  • Second headline has awkward space
  • taylor swift story shouldn’t be at the top
  • second story picture is large

B1:

  • Top photo is a little too big 
  • Could use more text

B2:

  • Way too much text
  • Could use another small photo with alumni story if we shrunk the picture on B1 bc there would be less text
  • Picture doesn’t necessarily fit with story
  • Rankings jump is very shory

B3:

  • Don’t love the portrait style picture at the top
  • Similar look every paper

Buzz:

  • Pictures are huge
  • Could use more stories

Communication Strategies

I think our class discussion last week made me realize communication within a single section is good, but communication throughout the entire paper is essential. I, personally, don’t do that enough.

First, I think I need to have better communication with visuals prior to the day of production. Most sports photos right now are file photos because there hasn’t been any event or practice we were allowed at since March. So, I need to work on coming up with graphic ideas for stories to enhance the stories and my section of the paper. This could mean asking Cassidy to sit down with me and my assistants when we’re planning out content so she could help us brainstorm. She could definitely notice when a story could use a graphic better than I can.

I also think I could talk more with the editors from other sections like Ethan from news or Liza from features. I think the three of us could do a better job of helping each other out with story ideas or even overlapping stories. Sports stories sometimes can be classified as news or features so working together could help us produce better content. I also think having some writers overlap sections would be useful especially with news because they are short on writers. Hopefully, that changes with the freshmen coming in.

Communicating more with copy is also something I can improve on. Not everyone understands sports language to the extent I do or my assistants do so sometimes words or phrases get misunderstood and changed. I think if I just sat down with copy and went over some of the misunderstandings with them or asked them if they didn’t understand anything we could solve those issues very quickly.

When sports are resumed and photographers are allowed at events, I want to have more communication with them. When I’m thinking of a story idea, I have specific photos I have in mind or things I want to be visually portrayed. Conveying those ideas to them before they go and shoot an event would help convey the story’s message better.

COVID-19 on campus

Testing

  • New jobs created
    • Are they student jobs? 
      • Day in the Life?
    • Paid/incentives?
      • Where is the money coming from?
  • Process 
    • What happens after students give saliva?
      • How accurate?
    • Where does it go?
      • Lab worker duties?
        • stressful/pressuring?
  • Positive Result
    • Contact tracing process
      • Who gets contacted and how is that decided
    • Quarantine
      • Who monitors it?
      • Consequences of breaking quarantine?
      • Where?

Student Life

  • Activities
    • Virtual
      • How are students staying social?
      • Difference in freshman experience?
      • # of freshman staying home vs. soph./jr./senior
    • Non-virtual
      • In-person limits?
      • Consequences of breaking rules
      • Interim suspension??
  • Athletics/Arts
    • What are they doing with free time?
    • Future impacts?
      • Considering transferring?
    • Can they stay home?
  • Living
    • Dorm vs. Apartment
      • Positive test procedure in building
      • Visitor policy
      • Anonymous board?
      • Dining hall food vs. eating out/groceries?

Local Businesses

  • New Covid procedures
    • helping/hurting business?
    • Cost of making adjustments?
    • Hazard Pay for worker?
    • How are business owners adapting?
  • Layoffs/Fires
    • Students or non-students?
    • How many?
    • Unemployment?
    • How are they finding other jobs? COVID testing helpers?
    • How are business owners handling smaller staffs
  • Staying healthy
    • Does staff have to get tested?
      • How many times
    • How are they getting access to testing if not a student?
    • New cleaning protocols?