The biggest news event of the year hit The Daily Campus, UConn’s independent student-run newspaper, earlier this week. The NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four was one of the most exhausting, stressful and exciting events that the 2012-2013 staff has reported on.
Coverage began in the weeks leading up to the last two games in New Orleans, as we covered the tournament from start to finish. Managing Editor Brian Zahn created a Storify piece entitled “How they got here: The NCAAW Final Four,” which explained the long-time rivalry between Notre Dame and UConn. For the first time, I figured out how to embed Storify stories on our website, which led to an embarrassing happy dance in my office.
The big push came when the UConn women’s basketball team and our reporters landed in the Big Easy. (Our four correspondents, Dan Agabiti, Tyler Morrissey, Matt Stypulkoski and Jess Condon, were excited to be there, to say the least.)
— Jess Condon(@JessCondon) April 6, 2013
To thoroughly cover the event we utilized our website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blog more than is typical for us. For the most part we have always been a print-focused publication. But this year it has been my goal to push us into the digital world. This was our biggest test because of the national attention UConn received.
Our three sports writers, Agabiti, Morrissey and Stypulkoski began reporting as soon as they touched down and did not stop until they returned. Agabiti wrote a blog post about predictions for the Final Four game between UConn and Notre Dame for the Daily Campus sports department women’s basketball blog on Sunday, April 7.
Photo editor and online production intern Kevin Scheller created individualized graphics for each game that he posted on Instagram.
The staff covered each game as it unrolled.
— Tyler Morrissey (@TylerRMorrissey) April 7, 2013
Scheller worked with Condon, our photographer on the scene in New Orleans, to post photos from the court during the game.
Bria Hartley shooting UConn’s 2nd and 3rd FTs of the game now
— Daily Campus Sports (@DCSportsDept) April 8, 2013
Condon and Scheller created five photo galleries for the Daily Campus website. There was a gallery from the Final Four and National Championship games, one recapping the team’s journey to the Final Four, one showing fan support around the arena and one that gave a little tour of the city and the arena.
The staff continued to cover the tournament through the Tuesday night championship game. The writers attended press conferences on Monday, the off-day, and uploaded stories to the website throughout the day. Agabiti wrote a piece comparing the UConn coach, Geno Auriemma, and the Louisville coach, Jeff Walz. Morrissey wrote a story about Stephanie Dolson playing through her injury during the tournament.
We made an effort to write SEO headlines and to share our stories. I found the most difficult part of covering a multi-day story online was the constant need to upload a variety of content. My staff was diligent and tolerant of my numerous requests. Throughout the four days we uploaded more stories, photos, blog posts and polls than before and shared our content more proactively than we usually do.
I am incredibly proud of the work we did and hope the newspaper will continue this type of online coverage for future events.