Final Project (incomplete)

Here is the link to my google doc right now:

I posted it last night but I realized the link wasn’t working so I apologize for the late post. I still have to interview an audience member and editor from the Michigan Daily and two audience members, an editor and staff member from Ann Arbor News.


  • Chosen News Organization: The Daily Illini
  • Proposed Idea: Semesterly humor/satirical edition of the paper
    • With all of the negative stories that appear in the news these days, I think our student population could use a pick-me-up. We would like to entertain the idea of creating a once-a-semester comedic paper. This would not only include humor from our own writers, but also from local businesses. Some of the ideas for this paper could include:
      • Sports superlatives: Coming up with funny “awards” for UIUC athletes and coaches and writing a blurb for each one.
      • Local business meme competition: We don’t have too many ads that aren’t in house at the moment so local businesses could submit memes about themselves and the winners could get published. They may have to pay to enter.
      • Make fun of ourselves: Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously. We could find some complaints that people have made online and use them to create some self-deprecating humor like a true gen-Zer. We could use some content from the UIUC Reddit page.
      • Crazy Massmail update: This could be memes about recent Massmails from the Chancellor.
      • Crazy Police Blotters: This could be a fun way to sort of make fun of all of the things that have been going on on campus (an insane amount of vehicle thefts, big parties, etc.).
  • How we’ll go about this: We would start out with a comedic section in the paper. From there, we could put out ads to attract advertisers and get students excited about a funny edition of the Daily Illini. Then, perhaps before the end of this semester or next semester, we could finally release an entire paper featuring the funny ads as well as all the funny stories. It could be a shorter paper (maybe a 4×4 instead of a 6×6).

Student Innovation Competition

  • Meme/Satire edition once a year or once a semester; this type of journalism really resonates with our generation and I think the DI doesn’t always have the best engagement with students at the university. This would also give the DI a chance to connect with students from across the country.
  • Create another sector of the website for reader’s to submit their ideas: what do students/our community want us to cover? Do they want more videos, photos, graphics, etc.? We can’t always predict what the community wants to read or hear about as students; we are kind of in our own bubble as college students. This sector could also include polls or surveys to better narrow down content
  • Daily Illini Snapchat – students may not want to wait for us to produce a video following a sporting event, music event, protest, etc. so why not show them what is happening live. Snapchat is arguably the most used app of our generation and could better connect us to students. It would also be a good way to “tease” our more professional content so when we do put a video or a story out about the event people will be more enticed to check it out.

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