What I’m reading: media-related articles that recently caught my eye

I read some great pieces in the past two weeks that have stuck with me. I’m sharing them to inspire conversation in others, as they have in me.

“The Forbes digital content model and power of the long-tail,” by Rachel Bartlett on Journalism.co.uk.

Lewis D’Vorkin, chief product officer at Forbes, found that 50 percent of the site’s traffic is generated by content that is at least 30 days old. To someone who has been told that journalists have to churn out content constantly in the digital age and that stories are old news nearly as soon as they’re uploaded; I was shocked.

When D’Vorkin explained what he realized to be the “long-tail” of the content, it resonated a bit more with me. An interesting read for anyone who is also interested in the business and analysis of digital media.

Young People Let Digital Apps Dictate Their Identities, Say 2 Scholars,” by Marc Perry in The Chronicle of Higher Education

This article explains that when the internet first gained traction among teens it was thought that it would be a great way for then to express and find themselves. However, the opposite effect is being seen. Teens are deciding who they are early and it is almost permanent because of how social media publicizes it. They are essentially branding themselves when they aren’t even freshmen in high school.

‘The pressure is to consolidate and to post and to have as many friends and likes as possible,” [Howard Gardner, a Harvard psychologist] says, ‘not to experiment and to learn from one’s more or less successful attempts.'”

“Dear Young Creatives: Forget Overnight Success,” by Haniya Rae on Digiday.

As a young person starting out their career, I took this piece to heart. Sometimes I get caught up in my passion and ambition, expecting my life and career to move as quickly as my mind. It is good to be reminded to slow down. Success takes time.

If you love the process, it shouldn’t matter how long it takes. If you love what you do every day, I would want it to take longer, because then you can continue to do it every day,” Jeff Ng tells Rae.

Breaking News: Resources for covering shooting,” by Anna Li on Poynter.

I was in the MSNBC newsroom when the LAX shooting occurred. It is the biggest breaking news that I have worked on since beginning as a PA, and it was overwhelming. This piece has great tips and resources for journalists covering a shooting.

“AOL May Sell Patch or Deepen Cuts,” by Tom Risen on U.S. News and World Report.

As a Connecticut native, I am very familiar with Patch.com. There are 67 Patch sites in Connecticut. I have many friends who freelanced or worked as editors for the company. I was sad to read that they are struggling and that many have been laid off.


UConn’s The Daily Campus covers the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four

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.)

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.

A screen shot from The Daily Campus' Instagram account. (@dailycampusphoto)

A screen shot from The Daily Campus’ Instagram account. (@dailycampusphoto)

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.

Scheller worked with Condon, our photographer on the scene in New Orleans, to post photos from the court during the game.

Screen shot from the UConn vs. Notre Dame game on April 7 from @dailycampusphoto on Instagram.

Screen shot from the UConn vs. Notre Dame game on April 7 from @dailycampusphoto on Instagram.

The sports writers live blogged the game during every media timeout and tweeted updates from @DCSportsDept.

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.

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The line up of four of the five galleries the photo team created for the NCAA tournament.

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.

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

View the story “Twitter advice for student journalists from Columbia’s @sree and Twitter’s @marksluckie” on Storify

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These are just screenshots of the Storify to give of taste of it. Follow the link above to see the full story.

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.