A meeting with Mr. Manifold

Stephanie Hays

Instead of attending a 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. session yesterday, I had the incredible opportunity to walk to The Washington Post’s offices and get a personal tour from The Post’s Design Director Greg Manifold.

I got to see some backstory on how certain election debate gifs were made, hear about the visuals for their Kindle Fire App and even got a sneak peek at the front page of the Style section for the Sunday edition (hint: it’s AWESOME).

The tour lasted about an hour and I got to talk to six different Post employees, including Graphics Director Kat Downs Mulder, and the Director of Emerging News Products, Chris Meighan. And what stood out to me the most after meeting with all of these people is that after I asked a question, the word “collaboration” showed up in almost every answer.

The Washington Post is a hugely collaborative paper. Designers are collaborating with reporters, the graphics team, the engineering team, the product team and more in order to create inspired designs that work to serve the audience and tell them engaging and interesting stories that they want to read.

Hearing from all of these journalists has really inspired me to take this information back to Elon News Network and push our team to find new and inventive ways to tell stories to our student audience. How can we do that in the paper? How can we do that online? How can we do that on social media? How can we do that on new and upcoming mediums? And how can we, as an entire team of student journalists, collaborate (!) and work together to use our strengths to make the stories we want to tell the very best they can be.

I want to see little icons with our stories online that people can click on to see related articles, I want to talk to my designers about telling stories through interactive online graphics, I want to use video as a backdrop for articles and graphics, and, most importantly, I want to push and push and push everyone to talk to each other about their stories and presentation ideas. When we work together, we become stronger.

We may not have as large of a team or as much experience or as many resources as The Washington Post does, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work together the way they do. I want to see Elon News Network be not just a news organization, but a supportive, collaborative news team.

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