Last week's Orion critique started with this list of suggestions for improving the paper.
Shoot more video: You all carry a video camera around in your pocket. Learn to use it. I saw two videos posted this past week, and one was five seconds long. The Orion will be better and you’ll have a stronger portfolio if you decide to make moving pictures a regular part of your coverage.
Take more photos: You all carry a camera around in your pocket. Learn to use it. I saw seven photos by current Orion staffers in the paper and online this week and four of them were for a single person-on-the-street feature. The paper will never win another award with such a poor photographic effort.
Use alternative storytelling devices: There are so many ways to tell stories with multimedia these days, and The Orion is doing almost none of them. The arts section is doing a good job of linking to other people’s online content, but the paper is creating almost nothing of its own. Think about interactive timelines, infographics, capturing audio from interviews and posting it online, stream live video of events, create a podcast, dream up something brand new.
Saturate social media: With the exception of the Arts & Entertainment section, which is doing the best job in the history of the section, The Orion is practically nonexistent on Facebook and Twitter. Posting on those two social media platforms directly affects web traffic to theorion.com and enhances your own social media presence.
Cover more things as they happen: Felix and Luke were the sole bright spot this week for breaking news, getting to the DACA protest and capturing photos, video and words from the scene. It’s one of the few times last week I got any sense of urgency, the one attribute great journalists share. They’re competitive. They want to be first with a story. The paper’s Google analytics show news coverage is by far the most popular content on the paper’s website, but it doesn’t seem to be a priority for this semester’s staff. Sports, especially, is an area that should be investing much more time in live coverage. Writing opinions about national sports is fun, easy and ego-gratifying. It’s also very 20th century.
Engage with the audience: Use Twitter to tell readers that you’re going to cover a news, arts or sports event; promote your stories on Facebook and respond to their comments and questions; use social media to ask your audience to help you research stories. The audience wants to be part of the journalism experience, so figure out ways to help them do that.