CMM Special Series: What Do Student Journalists Want to Learn More About Journalism? (Part 3)

During his recent efforts to help plan programming for the fall 2015 ACP/CMA National College Media Convention — the world’s largest annual gathering of student journalists and their advisers and profs — David Simpson wanted to hear more from the students themselves. Specifically, he was curious: In these changing times, what do potential student attendees want to get most from a journalism conference experience? So Simpson, a revered veteran journalist and director of student media at Georgia Southern University, reached out to me with his student-first query. I in turn reached out to the summer 2015 CMM Editorial Fellows — an elite crew of current and recent student journalists.

For this CMM special series, 14 Fellows offer their perspectives, ideas and advice centered on a single question: What topic, tech tool, news beat, skill-set or current event would you love to learn more about, lead a session on or help debate during a journalism convention? Their answers run the gamut — touching on everything from science journalism and Snapchat to sexual assault coverage and workflow management.

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What Do Student Journalists Want to Learn More About Journalism?
Part 3: ‘Fresh Ideas & Fresh Blood’

By Sami Edge, University of Oregon

Summer 2015 CMM Editorial Fellow

Here are my general ideas for programming at this year’s ACP/CMA National College Media Convention:

– Panel on covering sexual assault (and how to do it right). I know at last year’s conventions this was a big theme, and I think it’s really important to keep that discussion going since there’s a relatively fresh audience in attendance every year. It’s essential that student journalists continue to cover this issue even though national scrutiny is higher than ever thanks to the Rolling Stone UVA article. One idea in terms of session style is for a roundtable involving student journalists, professional journalists and maybe some sexual violence survivors.

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– How to incorporate new technology into the newsroom. Something we’ve discovered this year at UO is that every freshmen class has a new platform — Instagram, Yik Yak, etc. How do you find the fresh ideas and fresh blood that will keep your new audience engaged every year? How do you keep your newsroom fluid enough to embrace a new technology every year? We haven’t figured this one out at the Emerald quite yet, but we’re trying, and it’s going to be super necessary for college media to try harder as technological disruption keeps happening faster and faster.

– How to produce mobile-curated content. What makes a good breaking news notification? What sort of visual elements should we keep in mind? Will our mobile audience be different than the other audiences (print/online?) If so, what are the factors we should consider for a mobile audience?

– How to social. How many times should we post on Facebook each day? How often should we tweet? Is it okay to tweet our stories at people who might be interested? Where is the line drawn between a student journalist’s “personal brand” and our professional reputation as a college media organization?

– How to podcast. How long is too long? Should we have a personal voice? And how many sources are needed, and in what context? I think having someone involved in podcasting — Alex Blumberg, Ira Glass and “Serial” creator Sarah Koenig are the moonshot invitees — would be awesome. I’ve come across a ton of interest in podcasting among my peers. We do it at the Emerald, but I don’t think we really know how to do it well — so tips from the professionals would be great. I also think the lessons the pros would have about becoming successful in a newer media format like podcasting would translate to tips that could be applied to most new news experiments, regardless of the platform or style.

Sami Edge is a recent graduate of the University of Oregon, where she double-majored in journalism and international studies. She is outgoing editor-in-chief of The Emerald. She is also a summer 2015 CMM Editorial Fellow.

Check out other parts of this CMM special series

Part 1: ‘The Interesting Important & the Important Interesting’ by Danielle Klein, University of Toronto

Part 2: ‘Best Practices, Pros, Cons & Even Some Mistakes’ by Emma Discher, Tulane University

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