Hight reminds student journalists to take care of themselves

Sound advice from the Mega Workshop

By Bradley Wilson, CMR Managing Editor

When it came to the opening of the College Media Mega Workshop in Minneapolis, Joe Hight asked the 350 or so students what they all have in common.

Quickly, the students stated the obvious.

  • We tell stories
  • We all individually tell stories
  • We have deadlines
  • We’re nosey. We’re curious as well.
  • We’re skeptical.
  • We follow a set of ethical standards
  • We’re passionate. When you lose that passion that’s when u go into cynicism.
  • We’re here for the truth. People wonder what the truth is these days.
  • We’re tough. Only heard three or four of you say yeah.
  • We ask the tough questions.

Then Hight turned the talk into what he really wanted students to start thinking about.

He asked, “I’ve always learned how journalists are resilient. Is that a myth?”

Continue reading “Hight reminds student journalists to take care of themselves”

WordPress speaks my language

The CMS powerhouse dominates the content delivery business

By Bradley Wilson, CMR Managing Editor

“WordPress is so amazing it doesn’t even need an introduction,” said Brad Parbs, a specialist in WordPress-focused Web development. However, for colleges and universities looking to update their website, knowing that WordPress is the most often-used content management system and that it is consistently ranked as the most user-friendly and easiest to use makes it easier to narrow down the choices.

Indeed, surveys rank it as having a market share greater than 60 percent, including sites for companies such as Forbes and Pepsi. Clearly, WordPress has become the content management system of choice for collegiate media. More than half (54%) of the school publications that received an Associated Collegiate Press Pacemaker or who where a finalist in 2018 used WordPress.

What follows is a discussion with Jonathan Elmer, former student publications manager at Louisiana Tech about his experience implementing WordPress and moving the student media online.

So, I get schools asking me all the time about starting up a website or revamping their old one. Is WordPress the way to go? Why/not?

I was hired as adviser for all student media here with the immediate mandate to take the publications online. My supervisor,  Brenda Heiman, had championed this initiative and been tremendously supportive from the beginning. Since I was building everything from scratch – re-launching the student publications (newspaper, magazine and yearbook), writing job descriptions, interviewing and hiring staff, learning the procurement process with the State of Louisiana, purchasing equipment (new cameras, lenses and audio gear) – choosing WordPress to take our student newspaper and magazine online was just one of a myriad of decisions and tasks I completed this past year. Continue reading “WordPress speaks my language”

Student photojournalists document ‘city that never sleeps’

Photo Shoot highlights NYC Convention

When the photojournalists gathered in a dank room in New York City, they really didn’t know what to expect. Every year, the Photo Shoot-out is a little different. A different theme. Different contestants. And the city is just never the same. Every day is a bit different from the day before.

This year, the theme  — “The city that never sleeps” — gave students the option to find something new that told a piece of the story.

Jim McNay, former director of the visual journalism program at Brooks Institute of Photography, said, “These students showed considerable variety in what they were able to photograph around New York City. They really ‘worked the subject’ and captured a wide range of life.”

But it wasn’t easy. Continue reading “Student photojournalists document ‘city that never sleeps’”

Publisher focuses on telling the truth, all aspects of the truth

Jeff Light
Jeff Light delivers the opening keynote address at the Associated Collegiate Press national convention in La Jolla, California, Feb. 28. Photo by Bradley Wilson

Fundamentals at the core of doing good work

Jeff Light, publisher and editor of the San Diego Union-Tribune, started off his talk reminding the 200-or-so students and instructors of the fundamentals, of the first-order rules.

  • Always write the headline first. It focuses the mind.
  • Always go to the scene of the crime.
  • Spell the names right. Be accurate in every detail.
  • Tell it straight.

These fundamentals, he said, help us do a good job of finding out what’s really going on.

“Listen to the voice of people who have something to say about it. Be open-minded about presenting all the points of view in a favorable light.”

As a former investigate reporter, he should know. Mark Witherspoon, editorial adviser at the Iowa State Daily, said it was precisely this background that made his talk interesting.

“The first thing I was impressed with was that Jeff Light was an investigative reporter that is now publisher of the San Diego Union-Tribune. That doesn’t happen that often,” Witherspoon said.

Continue reading “Publisher focuses on telling the truth, all aspects of the truth”

Videolicious: It does one thing…

videolicious class
My classic selfie in Louisville with the 9 a.m. Videolicious class.

… but Videolicious does it really well

By Bradley Wilson
CMR Managing Editor

My session on Videolicious was at 9 a.m. on Friday, on a cold and drizzly day in Louisville. I expected about five people to show up. After all, Videolicious has been around for a while. Either you’ve heard of it and are using it. Or you haven’t heard of it and don’t care.

When I got to the room, there were already five people. Perfect.

Then five more. And five more. And, before you know it, there are about 25 people there. So much for a hands-on demonstration. But we tried. And we played.

I believe it when the folks at Videolicious say, “Video is the most popular content in the world.” And it’s growing. Continue reading “Videolicious: It does one thing…”

Photographers document ‘Gateway to the South’

College Media Shoot-Out 2018

The cool weather and drizzle didn’t stop 29 photographers from submitting images in Louisville as part of the annual Photo Shoot-out for college photojournalists.

Andrew Walter of Eastfield College said, “I liked how free the theme was in that as long as you believed your image fit the theme of ‘Gateway to the South,’ you could capture an image of anything you found newsworthy.”

Zahn Schultz of Central Washington University said, “It challenges participants to think critically and put the skills they have learned into a new and unfamiliar environment. It’s also a ton of fun, getting to explore a new city and find new and different perspectives camera in hand is an absolute blast.” Continue reading “Photographers document ‘Gateway to the South’”

Interns offer advice for copy editors

Preparing students for their summer jobs as multi-platform editors

By Bradley Wilson
CMR Managing Editor

Twenty-one years ago, a senior lecturer at the University of Texas, Griff Singer, recognized a need, a need to train copy editors. Together with Rich Holden, then executive director of the Dow Jones News Fund, they created the Center for Editing Excellence to train interns. They all received two weeks of training before they set foot at media outlets such as Newsday, the Houston Chronicle, the Beaumont Enterprise, Stars and Stripes, the Dallas Morning News or, as the profession has evolved, worked in copy editing centers such as Gatehouse’s Center for News & Design, or for online media such as Buzzfeed.

Over time, they’ve continued to focus on the different levels of editing:

  • LEVEL 1 — law, ethics, appropriate sources, different angles; edit upon conceptualization
  • LEVEL 2 — organization, design, enough reporting; edit with drafts and rewriting
  • LEVEL 3 — grammar, spelling, punctuation, style; edit at the last minute

In the last few years, the students have added to their skills in headline writing, trimming news briefs and designing pages and learn more about embedding video and best practices for Twitter. While now the training is only 10 days, it is just as grueling. Students, mostly college juniors and seniors, spend their last three days producing a six-page newspaper, a website and social media in real time with real publication deadlines — the Southwest Journalist.

The training center at the UT-Austin is one of six centers, two focusing on editing and preparing interns for their summer jobs as multi-platform editors. The other four, now led by Linda Shockey, managing director of the Dow Jones News Fund, focus on business reporting, data journalism or digital media.

Before they left each of the interns in Austin offered some advice for other copy editors. Here is their advice. Continue reading “Interns offer advice for copy editors”

Shoot-out brings out best in photojournalists

FIRST PLACE A woman holding a “Women for Trump” sign gets in an brawl with the people in the audience and ends up getting arrested and removed from the march for throwing punches at the crowd. Photo by Siddharth Gaulee, University of Louisiana — Monroe (Christopher Mapp, adviser)

Through the lens at CMA Convention

At the College Media Association national convention in New York City, 22 students participated in the on-site photography class competition — the ever-popular Shoot-out.

THE WINNERS

  • First place — Siddharth Gaulee, University of Louisiana—Monroe, Christopher Mapp, adviser
  • Second place — Pooja Pasupula, University of North Carolina—Charlotte, Wayne Maikranz, adviser
  • Third place — Hunter Crenian, University of Miami, Tsitsi Wakhisi, adviser
  • Honorable mention and class favorite — Hunter Crenian, University of Miami, Tsitsi Wakhisi, adviser
  • Honorable mention — Charlene Pan, Rice University, Kelly Callaway, adviser

As part of the contest, participants had to document “one moment in time.” The students had about two days to submit one or two images with captions. Continue reading “Shoot-out brings out best in photojournalists”

CMA convention to be interactive, immersive and hands-on

THIRD PLACE AND CLASS FAVORITE: Irma Gutierrez Sanchez; Miami Dade College (Manolo Barco, adviser) — One of The Halal Guys of NYC prepares a lamb gyro at the corner of West 53rd Street and 7th Avenue on the chilly night of March 13, 2014.

CONVENTION LINK

A QUESTION AND ANSWER
WITH CONVENTION DIRECTOR HILLARY WARREN

Why should someone attend the College Media Association in New York City this spring?

This year’s convention is more interactive, more immersive, more hands-on than ever. Students will cover the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden as part of the New York Sports Workshop. The always-popular Shoot-Out is back. And more than 100 students will compete to see who is the Iron Reporter in our first convention-based reporting competition.

If you had to pick one session that you’d really like to attend, what would it be?

I’m looking forward to Holly Johnson’s double-session reporting challenge. I plan to steal every last one of her ideas.

If you had to pick one speaker that you’d really like to hear, who would it be?

That will get me in trouble. Joanne Lipman and Lynn Walsh were terrific last year and are so on topic with #metoo that we had to have them back. I’ve been following Lauren Duca since the 2016 campaign and am thrilled that she will join us Saturday. But, I think I’m most looking forward to Stephen Totilo because I don’t know anything about video games, but I admire what he has built. Continue reading “CMA convention to be interactive, immersive and hands-on”

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‘The Post’ inspiration even for those not working in media

Meryl Streep in The Post (2017), Photo by Niko Tavernise, 20th Century Fox.

Young journalists can take home lessons from ‘The Post’

By Bradley Wilson
CMR Managing Editor

If there was ever a time for a feel-good movie about the media, it’s now. And in “The Post,” Director Steven Spielberg and big-name stars Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks realize the power and role of the media.

However, the movie goes well beyond showing how a newspaper and a few strong-willed editors and reports can change the course of a country. It brings in a modern discussion of the role of women, limits that need to be placed on government, the need for the First Amendment and even how media outlets also need checks and balances.

For a long-time journalist, it was fascinating to watch molten lead set into words, newsrooms filled with typewriters, copy editors given 30 minutes to work on one story and papers shipped out in hand-tied bundles. It was disheartening to see Katharine Graham portrayed as less than powerful, even weak, leader with shaking hands. She never came across that way when played by Nancy Marchand in the television series Lou Grant. But as her character develops, watching her finally make a decision with such potential negative ramifications and then walking down the steps of the Supreme Court, even in the shadow of The New York Times, was inspirational. Continue reading “‘The Post’ inspiration even for those not working in media”