NOLA Notes: Tips for “owning” local breaking news online

Another in a series of posts drawn from notes taken at the National College Media Convention in New Orleans.

“Meaningful, local, breaking news works. … Once you break it, you own the story. People keep coming back to you.” The words came from Ryan Frank, president of the Emerald Media Group (serving the University of Oregon), and I heard no disagreement from any of the digital-savvy college media folks in New Orleans.

This means jumping onto big news in a big hurry, but it also means re-thinking coverage of scheduled events, like SGA meetings and sports. If you’re looking for big-picture thinking on a digital-first structure, this earlier post is for you. These are some examples and tips:

  • Big breaking stories for the Emerald have been the discovery of pot in the SGA office, a football player’s arrest and even a football player tweeting criticism of the NCAA. In each case, “we’re on it.”
  • Think you’re going big? Go bigger. When 18 students were arrested on drug charges at another university, the student media outlet livestreamed the police press conference, Frank said. Altogether, the coverage generated 100,000 pageviews.
  • Think nobody cares about the SGA meeting? Think again. The Emerald live blogs SGA meetings using Coveritlive. “Guess what happens?” Frank asked. The SGA members log onto the Emerald and use it to talk to each other during the meeting. (For much more, see Steve Buttry’s liveblogging advice.)
  • Doing photo galleries at big games? The Emerald does a pre-game gallery, halftime gallery, postgame gallery and then a “best of” gallery on Sunday.
  • Covering practice? The Emerald expects video from the post-practice “scrum” interview opportunity to be online within an hour.
  • Omar Sofradzija, editorial adviser at Michigan State University ran down football game coverage for The State News. After the live tweets and halftime update story with photo, the end-of-game story is expected online within two minutes of the final whistle. The reason, Sofradzija says, is that fans want to post their comments somewhere and will go to the first story. Then other fans react to those comments, so you own the story for the rest of the news cycle. (Obviously, the story continues to be updated.)

I’ll post separately on some other digital practices outside the “breaking” category. Stay tuned.


About adviserdavid

Student media director, Georgia Southern University

Posted on November 26, 2013, in Digital/social, Leadership, NOLA Notes, Reporting. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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