CMM Special Series: What Do Student Journalists Want to Learn More About Journalism? (Part 4)

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, 15 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 4: ‘The Way We Edit & Upload Stories’

By Ali Swenson, Loyola Marymount University

Summer 2015 CMM Editorial Fellow

Workflow management in journalism is like an exhausted parent. It’s crucial for our survival but rarely gets the praise or nurturing it deserves.

In fact, the workflow process hasn’t gotten much attention at all in the conventions I’ve attended. To be fair, I understand why. Workflow is unglamorous and often dependent on the structure of a newsroom and staff. But in my opinion, now is the time for us all to be thinking about it. Why? Because we’re facing dramatic digital-first transitions and website overhauls. We’re all fired up to change the way our readers perceive and consume our news. And we can’t successfully change any of this without making appropriate changes in workflow.

The Loyolan learned this lesson during the past school year when we started putting out content every day of the week. In order to optimize our workflow for getting stories online immediately — and to make remote productions a possibility — we had to change the way we we edit and upload stories. So we ditched our archaic, paper-based editing process in favor of a completely digital one called Camayak.

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Camayak, while at first tricky to get used to, has been a lifesaver. Our staff used to email stories to section editors, who would then print out stories to give to copy editors in production. Now, writers upload stories to Camayak and workflow is transparent. Every member of the editing process can see where a story is and when they’ll be getting it. Camayak also enables us to upload stories directly to our CMS, allowing us to skip the mundane step of uploading stories ourselves.

I would love to see what other schools are doing to change their workflow management as they transition to more digital products. Workflow may not always be pretty, but it’s the key to fewer headaches – and I think we’d all agree that alone warrants a session or two.

Ali Swenson is a rising senior at Loyola Marymount University. She is editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Loyolan, where she is overseeing the completion of a three-year transition to digital-first reporting. 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

Part 3: ‘Fresh Ideas & Fresh Blood’ by Sami Edge, University of Oregon

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