Student Editor: “Eight Things Your College Newsroom Needs to Change”

The editor in chief of a top student newspaper is calling for change in a number of major and minor ways related to college news media outlets’ staffing, production, and presentation in the Web age.  In a new post on his personal blog, Brian Manzullo- the current Michigan Press Association College Journalist of the Year and top editor of Central Michigan Life– lays out an elite eight listing of proposed transformations. For example, he decries the practice of shuttling all Web work and content to a single online editor or online management team. As he writes:

The days of the Web being an afterthought in your college newsroom are over. You should have a Web-first mentality and work flow across your entire newsroom — for starters, have your news editors post news stories, your sports editors post sports stories and so on. And all of them need to be thinking about SEO’d headlines, keywords, tags and excerpts. They could use that Web experience for their resume, anyway. As for your online editor, keep him or her and have them focus on other tasks such as community building via social media, aggregating stories and multimedia together and conducting live chats and discussion.

While a few of Manzullo’s proposals have already been sounded quite a bit in professional circles (namely the cries over ending the regurgitation of news content on social media platforms and the need to become link-friendly even to outside sites), all have merit. My favorite is the call-to-arms that tops his list, one that has been hovering over newsrooms for far longer than wireless Internet: Dropping the hideous notion that to be a successful student journalist you need to actually be a journalism major.

My suggestions, to round out his list of things to change:

1) Letting the ever-present deadline of Web 2.0 push longer feature pieces and full-scale investigations off the storyboard.

2) Losing faith in the print product, since it is still ravenously enjoyed by your targeted student audience, at least for now.

One Response to “Student Editor: “Eight Things Your College Newsroom Needs to Change””
  1. Hi Dan,

    Thanks for the mention, I appreciate it! There’s definitely a lot of other little things that student newspapers need to change in their operation. My hope is that I got the general points down.

    And I definitely agree with your two suggestions… particularly the last one. Our print product is still very popular at CMU and still our best tool for reaching out to students, so we cannot forget the importance of it (at least right now).

    Thank you again, and happy holidays!

    -Brian Manzullo