Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What a week! My brain's just buzzing

Last Thursday after my Public Affairs Reporting class, I made the three-hour drive to San Francisco to attend the Associated Collegiate Press Midwinter Conference for college journalists. This week, the Chico State Department of Journalism and Public Relations hosted a visit by the social media director for the Oregonian newspaper in Portland, Ore., Ali Manzano, who talked to several classes about Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and a collection of other online tools and how journalists can and should use them.

My brain's just buzzing.

Here are a few of the things I've started to think about:

• One of the important jobs for a student newspaper editor in 2013 is coordinating and promoting stories on all of his or her publishing platforms. That means encouraging staffers to tell a story a number of different ways, depending on the platform, and helping readers find all the story threads by cross-promoting them.
• Another important job is to engage the audience in stories by inviting participation through online events and invitations to interact with the paper's reporting. That happens by adding a reporter's Twitter handle to the bottom of a story (on the Web and in the paper), setting up Twitter or Web interviews with newsmakers to which the audience is invited, asking witnesses to breaking news stories to be the paper's eyes and ears, etc. Ali Manzano, especially, convinced me that engagement is essential and what's different about being a journalist today.
• The Orion and other student papers should restructure themselves for their new role as instant information providers. If the weekly paper-and-ink newspaper were just one of many ways to deliver news to the audience instead of the only or the most-important way, how would the staff be organized to be most effective?
• There's no substitute for great editorial art, and there's no way for a paper to be great without it.

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