These college media conventions are, quite truthfully, geared more toward the students in attendance. And, of course, that’s an obvious and appropriate expectation. But there are also opportunities for advisers to get in the game, so to speak, and enjoy some workshops. As an adviser, I do glean useful information from the sessions aimed mostly at students. I also enjoy meeting other advisers at professional development workshops that are focused on adviser issues and at the late-night advisers’ reception. So I don’t treat the trip to the ACP/CMA convention as an opportunity to hole up in my hotel room and grade. I’m actively involved.
This morning, I attended a session titled Multimedia Newsroom hosted by Shawn Duffy of woodwing.com. The workshop didn’t necessarily break any new ground. (We were told it’s important for college newspapers to have Facebook, Twitter, YouTube presences.) But it was useful in that it reinforced a few ideas and reminded me of a few more I had forgotten. Additionally, some participants in the session shared some cool new ideas and tools with the group.
- Put up posters and table tents throughout campus that advertise your newspaper’s online presence. We think so much in terms of the Web that we sometimes forget that something as silly and seemingly superfluous as a poster or a piece of paper attached to a bulletin board can be quite effective, when executed properly. Certainly, this small, obvious idea could potentially drive traffic to the Pendulum Web site.
- Use Twitter as a tool to improve headline writing. I’m not a huge fan of Twitter, but this does sound like a practical application.
- Have reporters turn in stories with suggestions for a headline, a Web headline, a Tweet and a tease. Give them more ownership of the story’s Web presence.
- Can content be combined online? What partnerships can be forged. See the McHenry County Sports Web site for an example of targeted, collaborative online content.
- Find some personalities to put on camera and send them out to find stories. Charlie McDuff of the Detroit News is a character, but he finds fantastic stories. Who do we have at Elon who could do the same thing?
- Remember that Google Maps is still out there, waiting to be used. Google Maps can obviously be used for tracking crime, but it can also be used for a listing of Halloween haunted house locations or in conjunction with restaurant reviews. It’s a great tool.
- Check out a feature called Newsgarden. It’s great for providing hyperlocal coverage, and it’s something the Pendulum needs to consider using.
- How could a college publication use Flyp Media? It’s a neat feature and worth exploring.
– Colin Donohue