Two social media experts teach students how to use Twitter in their reporting

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Student journalists learn how to run meetings, manage staff at College Media Association’s #CMANYC13

Screen shot of my tweet before Mathew Cantore's session began.

Screen shot of my tweet before Mathew Cantore’s session began.

Student leaders can run more efficient meetings if they prepare for them, distribute an agenda in advance to make the purpose clear and keep the staff on topic.

Mathew Cantore, a Hudson Valley Community College professor, said student journalists easily get distracted in meetings and waste time, mainly because they are friends with their staff.

Cantore said there is nothing wrong with being friends with co-workers. It is inevitable when students spend a large portion of their time in the newsroom together. However, he said it is important to make a clear distinction between how you act socially and professionally.

This might mean pulling your friend aside to warn her that as her boss you are going to treat her professionally while at work. It can also be a good idea to set aside time for social excursions. This allows the staff to let off steam and avoid socializing too much at work.

The student leading the meeting is responsible for keeping the group on task to ensure the meeting is as efficient as possible. Cantore’s tips:

  • Have an agenda
  • Set time limits
  • Avoid the 3 “F”s – food, flirting, phones
  • Start on time, end on time
  • Prepare yourself – Give yourself time to organize in advance so you don’t go in frazzled
  • Look professional to act professional
  • Appear organized and in control
  • Don’t let a joke snowball. Laugh and move on
  • Distribute minutes or a summary after the meeting

No funny business

Cantore said student leaders should avoid being the jokster in the group because they do not always know how to ground the group again after it has started laughing.

“As a leader in the meeting, you have less room to be funny and light-hearted than anyone else,” Cantore said.

Student leaders need to learn how to run a meeting, Cantore said. He said most editors and managers of college media started out as writers and reporters. They missed the class on management.

Teen Vogue publisher tells students at CMANYC13 how to stand out from competitors when applying for a media job

Jason Wagenheim's twitter profile picture. His handle is @JasonWagenheim.

Jason Wagenheim’s twitter profile picture. His handle is @JasonWagenheim.

Getting a job in media is all about setting yourself apart from hundreds of other applicants vying for the same position.

Jason Wagenheim, VP and publisher of Teen Vogue, told attendees of the College Media Association conference that he sees about 150 resumes in any given month. He cannot respond to every applicant or even look at each one. He said he looks at the candidates that stand out because of what they have done and whom they know.

“Get to know who ever you can and try to make meaningful connections with those people,” Wagenheim said.

Make connections with people in New York who work in media anyway you can. Ask you father, your boss, your mailman if they know anyone in the business. He said the old saying is true: it is whom you know.

While it is important to set yourself apart from the crowd, you must do it in a positive way.

Resumes & Cover Letters

Wagenheim said the number of resumes and cover letters with spelling and grammar mistakes is “appalling.” He showed one that spoke about “priveledge,” “producting video” and “hockeky.”

“If you don’t have time to spell check your friking resumes, what are you going to do for me at Teen Vogue?” he said.

One applicant wrote him for a job at Hearst magazines, which is his company’s archrival magazine conglomerate. Wagenheim said to research the job you are applying for. Know about the company and act as if it is your dream job.

This is Teen Vogue's logo on Twitter. They are @TeenVogue.

This is Teen Vogue’s logo on Twitter. They are @TeenVogue.

The interview

One woman walked into an interview with Wagenheim and immediately broke the ice by referencing an article in The New York Times about the magazine and Wagenheim’s work. Throughout the interview she referenced Teen Vogue and showed that she knew about it and read it.

“It showed that she cared. That she was enthusiastic and wanted the job,” he said.

It is important to have energy in an interview, he said. Sometimes applicants come in and can barely muster up a conversation. Wagenheim said it is like talking to his 7 year old. If you are not likable, you will not get the job.

From home

You can make yourself stand out after you leave the interview. Wagenheim said to send a thank you email. It should not be more than two paragraphs, it should show your appreciation and reinstate why you are a good fit for the job. He said it is also good to follow up a couple of days later with a hand written note.

If you do not get the job you should try to stay in touch so you are remembered when the next job opens up. Wagenheim said to email the interviewer periodically down the line. You should reference relevant work you are doing or mention recent news in the company. Make sure the note has a purpose, otherwise they are annoying, he said.

Digital storytelling workshop for student journalists at CMANYC13 led by Bryan Murley

The nightly routine at The Daily Campus includes a mass uploading of all content onto the website after it has been designed for the print edition. There is little to no differentiation between our print and online content.

Bryan Murley, new and emerging media professor at Eastern Illinois University and blogger for Innovation in College Media, said the most basic but also vital change for print stories going online is the inclusion of hyperlinks.

“If you don’t have hyperlinks on your online stories, you don’t have online stories. You have print stories that you put online,” Murley said. “The web was built on the hyperlink.”

Murley said to require writers to turn in a minimum of three hyperlinks with each story.

“If a reporter hands in a story without hyperlinks, send it back. It is not done,” he said.

Brian Zahn, managing editor of The Daily Campus, saw this weakness in our online coverage recently. He has been making the effort to insert hyperlinks into stories on a daily basis. But this is too much to ask someone to do by himself, especially after working until 2 a.m. consistently. Adding hyperlinks needs to become a routine.

Plan multimedia components

The other issue discussed in the workshop that rang true for The Daily Campus was last minute creation of multimedia content.

Kevin Scheller, our online production intern, and I usually create multimedia components to accompany stories after they are uploaded to the site. This typically means our addition is delayed. It also means that we have to do extra reporting after the fact because we did not ask the reporter to do it while on the scene.

The biggest drawback I find is that we are limited in our capabilities. By the time we know a section editor wants us to create something we only have time to upload a photo gallery or write a poll.

Murley said to plan multimedia aspects when the story is initially added to the budget. He said most online, interactive platforms that can be used to tell stories are only helpful when the content is ready in advance.

Deciding on which multimedia content to use

Murley said digital producers get caught up choosing which type of multimedia content is best suited for each story because there is a vast list of possibilities. He said the best way to navigate this problem is to ask yourself, “What is most essential for the audience to understand about your topic?”

For instance, a map would be best suited for a story about a series of robberies on campus, Murley said. A timeline is helpful for a story that has been developing for 15 years.

It is important to remember that all online content should add value to a story, Murley said. The website should not be a place to dump all print content every night. The site should enhance and further coverage.

The Daily Campus staff learns the least they need to know about journalism

  1. Our writer’s bootcamp is underway in Oak 439. Watch #DCBootcamp to see what we’re discussing & learning. #UConn #Journalism
  2. The first lesson was on news judgement and where to find stories. Croteau had the group play an interactive game from Poynter called Be an Editor. The group collaborated on picking out the most newsworthy stories from a budget and arranging them based on importance.
  3. Interviewing
  4. Interviewing: make a source feel like you are genuinely interested in them. But also that you are going to be fair #DCBootcamp
  5. The writers perked up during this part, commiserating on difficult interviews they have had.
  6. One attendee said she struggles with interviews when the source gives answers of only a few words. #DCBootcamp
  7. @lizfrances28 sometimes, the players I talk to give me maybe five words. Sometimes it’s an operation getting what you want.
  8. Croteau said that the traditional pen and paper, in-person interview is the best method.
  9. Interviewing: Be careful of email because you don’t have any intonation. Easy to misinterpret, it is a permanent record #DCBootcamp
  10. “Texting, tweeting, skywriting and notes in bottles tossed in the ocean are all desperate measures.” #DCBootcamp
  11. Interviewing Rule #6: Take notes. May seem obvious but it’s not now that everyone has digital reporters. #DCBootcamp
  12. Digital recorders are dangerous. All you have to turn it on and let it go. Then you have to listen to it all over later. #DCBootacmp
  13. Croteau warned that reporters who use voice recorders tend to rely on them to take notes. But in the end, you will have to listen to the entire interview over and take notes from the recording. It is quicker to takes notes during the actual interview. She said to use recorders during complex interviews and as a back up to your written notes.
  14. @lizfrances28 I like to flag certain times in my notes from my voice recorder when a source says something of interest. #DCBootcamp
  15. Joe O’Leary, the DC’s focus editor, said he once had to resort to texting a source because it was the only way the source would agree to speak to him. Croteau said that sometimes the reporter has to cooperate with the source to get the interview.
  16. @jto23h said Sandusky’s lawyer would only talk to reporters through text. #DCBootcamp
  17. Croteau said we have to remember that while we are students, we are reporters and we have every right to interview sources. She said she has seen student journalists treated poorly because they are students.
  18. “If you are reporting for @The_DailyCampus, you have a right to be there,” Prof. Croteau on interviewing. #DCBootcamp
  19. “You’re not being nosey when you interview people. You are asking for your readers.” #DCBootcamp #UConn #Journalism
  20. @lizfrances28 My first interview with #UConnWomen‘s coach Geno Auriemma. Talking to a hall of fame coach is humbling. #DCBootcamp
  21. @lizfrances28 my first one with the women’s tennis coach 3 years ago. That. Was. Awful. #DCBootcamp
  22. @lizfrances28 I’d never spoken with a coach before and I had never even taken a J-class. I was totally iced there #DCBootcamp
  23. @lizfrances28 that I need to get over the nerves or find another major. But I also learned that coaches are people too. #DCBootcamp
  24. Croteau said interviewing is difficult to teach but gave the group some tips. She said to have topics prepared and answers you are looking for, but not to go in with a list of questions. Reading down a list makes the reporter sound stiff. She also said to avoid yes-or-no questions.
  25. You don’t want your interview to be like a true-false or multiple choice exam. #DCBootcamp #Journalism
  26. @DanAgabit: You’d be surprised how many professional reporters as yes-no questions in press conferences. #DCBootcamp
  27. Yes or no questions are only worth it when you’re confirming information. #DCBootcamp
  28. It is important for reporters to ask clarifying questions when they are confused, Croteau said. If the journalist does not understand the subject, they can’t explain it to the reader.
  29. Asking for help when you don’t understand something is so important, especially if you’re covering something outside your beat. #DCBootcamp
  30. After a short snack break we came back for a round of Poynter’s Be a Reporter game. This game charges the player to investigate a story of elementary school children eating toxic cheese.
  31. Writing a news story
  32. Next topic: How to write a news story and not embarrass yourself or others. #DCBootcamp
  33. Croteau touched upon the most important aspects of news writing, including lede writing, the inverted pyramid, writing in a concise but interesting manner, word choice and AP style.
  34. “You’ll notice that I spelled lede the old fashioned way. L-e-d-e. So shoot me…I’m old. Go with it.” Prof. Croteau #DCBootcamp
  35. Croteau said when covering an event, like an Undergraduate Student Government meeting or a comedy show, the news is not that the event occurred. It is what happened at the event and what was said.
  36. We all know that the student government meets – that is not the news. The news is what the speaker says. What the group is doing #DCBootcamp
  37. @lizfrances28 Needs improvement. I’m always trying to find a way to better convey the essence of my story in an interesting way.
  38. @lizfrances28 My key is getting my mind off a story, approaching it from a different angle and looking for something new #DCBootcamp
  39. Simple, straight to the point writing
  40. The inverted pyramid style of writing has its place. It is best used in hard news, breaking news and normal day-to-day coverage, according to Croteau. Feature, magazine and investigative writing are not always best suited for the inverted pyramid.

    Inverted pyramid works because it gives the reader the essential information in order of importance. It also allows editors to chop the story from the bottom without fear of loosing a key part of the story.
  41. Every word that does not bring you where you want to be impedes the reader. #DCBootcamp
  42. Beware of meaningless words- preplanned, below freezing, really unique, totally destroyed- #DCBootcamp
  43. “Don’t write something that your reader needs a map to understand,” Croteau. Technical terms, convoluted sentences, #s, titles. #DCBootcamp
  44. Libel & Ethics
  45. Libel: A published untruth that damages a person in his or her profession or hold the person up to scorn. #DCBootcamp
  46. Commentary had better be paying attention to this part about libel #DCBootacmp
  47. If I report that 2 grad students were caught kissing there is no harm. But if 1 of them is a nun, there is. It depends who it is #DCBootcamp
  48. Croteau said student reporters have a unique gray area because they know many of the people they write about. She said it is best to make a distinction between reporting on someone you know and someone you are friends with.
  49. But there’s a diff btw knowing some1 & having a personal relationship with them. You can’t report if you have that. #DCBootcamp
  50. You have to let reader know if you are connected to a group you are covering. #DCBootcamp
  51. Under most circumstances you can’t write about your friends, clubs, teammates, political or social causes. #DCBootcamp
  52. Croteau: You need to shut your mouth about your opinion. #DCBootcamp
  53. You may not give your opinion about a story you’re covering. This includes all communication. Tweets, Facebook, emails #DCBootcamp
  54. Prof. Croteau shares story of Board of Ed reporter who would step up to the mic and share her opinions. No editors knew. #DCBootcamp
  55. Ending on AP Style
  56. Moving on: The absolute least you need to know about AP Style #DCBootcamp
  57. AP Style basics. As a copy editor may I just say THANK YOU #DCBootacmp
  58. No courtesy titles. Don’t write “dollars.” On 2nd reference use last name. Don’t refer to race, ethnicity, sexual pref unless essential
  59. Do not refer to someone’s race, ethnicity, marital status or sexual preference unless it’s essential to the story #DCBootcamp
  60. “This is not AP style but it should be: the abbreviation for our university is UConn not UCONN” #DCBootcamp #realtalk