College Media Story Ideas: A Campus Tour’s Allure, and Lies

As Jenna Johnson writes in her Washington Post Campus Overload blog, “It’s high school spring break season- and if you are a junior (or an overachieving sophomore), chances are you will spend a chunk of your vacation wandering around college campuses with super-enthusiastic, backwards-walking student tour guides.”

In the spirit of this backwards-walking season, it’s time for a new set of forward-thinking reports on student guides’ touring duties. What about a profile or day in the life of a campus tour guide? What are the modern challenges and quirks of this iconic campus job? How are they trained? What are their horror stories? What do they secretly loathe about the position or cannot believe they have to say out loud?

More generally, what’s the latest on the smorgasbord of tours on your campus? Any innovative or even new media initiatives being put in place? What is your campus tour overselling, exaggerating, failing to hype, or just-plain fabricating? What about a first-person piece in which a student reporter trains and completes a campus tour? Or even a straight-up review of a tour, presented arts-criticism style?

Along with following student tour guides, report on the tour experience from the perspective of the prospectives and their parents. Why not even hand them a digital or flip cam and have them document their reactions firsthand?

Pull together a video montage showing different student guides working their magic at different spots, interspersed with interview snippets.  (Just steer clear of a final product that looks like an admissions office creation.)  Make a separate video featuring enrolled students’ (maybe sarcastic?) takes on what they would say about the school if granted tour guide status.  Create an info graphic showing the tour’s route, stopping spots, and the areas of interest left out that should be highlighted. Maybe include an historical compare-contrast with how the tour’s route has changed over time.  A sider breakdown of the most common or crazier questions student tour guides have been asked might also be beneficial or fun.  This last one screams for a simple Flash creation as well.

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