Monthly Archives: August 2013

Can you design a campus news/social media studio?

(Updated Aug. 22 with new final paragraph)

(Updated Sept. 5 with another new final paragraph)

A truly inspired Vanderbilt University student media video among the College Media Association Pinnacle Award finalists got me thinking more about an idea I’ve kicked around recently.

The idea: A “studio” at the busiest point on campus where your student media outlet engages readers, gathers news and sparks conversation. Below are some bare-bones specs. I hope you’ll help flesh it out with some big ideas.

But first, the video: a Vandy student walks around campus asking people, “What do you do that’s awesome?”

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Disagreement is good, if …

You’re an editor on a college media newsroom team whose members still are getting to know each other.  An issue comes up in a meeting, and someone makes a suggestion that you think is off-base. (What exactly is “off-base?” More on that at the end of this post.)

Do you:

1. Interrupt and say, “That’s the stupidest idea I ever heard,”

or

2. Say nothing. Why alienate someone you have to work with all year?

You probably didn’t have much trouble concluding those are both bad options. But it might surprise you to hear a management expert argue that Option 2 can be just as damaging to your organization as Option 1.

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Writing with voice: judgment vs. opinion

Why not let your judgment show in a news story?

People like me tell you (the student media staff member) to write with voice, and then we tell you to leave your opinion out of it. When you quite logically ask us how to do both, we come up with advice like an earlier post of mine on observation vs. opinion in news writing.

As so often happens, a conversation with a student gave me a new thought. Kali Daniel, life editor of The Flor-Ala student newspaper at the University of North Alabama, called Thursday as she prepared to lead feature writing training at her paper’s “boot camp” next week. As we talked over this topic of avoiding personal opinion, the word “judgment” popped out of my mouth.

Then an example came to mind, and I’m afraid I subjected Kali to a long rambling lecture. I’ll trim it down here.

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