College Media New Year’s Resolution: Embrace the Big Online IOU

It is another new year within collegemediatopia.  The New Year’s resolution that should top every student journalist’s 2011 list: Go Web First, ASAP.

For all the talk about the innate Internet abilities of the young, the mobile, and the wireless, the truth is that a large majority of current students still have no desire to contribute to the web world beyond basic user status. They fool around on Facebook, view YouTube videos, text until their thumbs bleed, and then go to sleep– phone on vibrate, new media potential unplugged.

Sadly, student journalists are not immune from this disconnect.  College media are *still* missing what I call “the big online IOU”- Interactivity, Originality, and an Understanding of the web’s potential.

This past July, in a mini state-of-the-student-press-2.0 address, media guru Michael Koretzky criticized a majority of college news media websites as cluttered, homely hack jobs filled with web-unfriendly shovelware.  ”What’s so weirdly depressing is that I’ve seen many of these newspapers in print- and they kick ass,” he wrote.  ”From the design to the writing to the photography, you can tell talented students sweat and bled for their paper dreams.  Their print editions have verve.  Their online editions have templates.”

The time has come for a call to arms.  To all student journalists and the educators and advisers who love them: We must get beyond the shovelware mentality. Posting a basic copy-paste of our print news products online is no longer enough. We must stop citing the small-staff-already-overworked-still-learning-tech-stuff-no-funding-for-quality-redesign excuse.  It’s a new media world in collegemediatopia.  Web presence requires a different presentation style.  It’s not just about showing up.

Happy New Year. :-)

3 Responses to “College Media New Year’s Resolution: Embrace the Big Online IOU”
  1. Sarah Vasquez says:

    If you have some time management skills for me or ways to motivate the writing staff to take up multimedia assignments, please tell me.

  2. I couldn’t agree more–for a decade now, I’ve been warning against the concept of convergence, inasmuch as it’s been used to suggest that content needs to be delivered in the same way across platforms. The only kind of digital content that survives is the content that takes full advantage of the medium, just as original and creative print layouts take full advantage of the print medium. The future is… divergence.

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