CMM Special Series: What Do Student Journalists Want to Learn More About Journalism? (Part 13)

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.


What Do Student Journalists Want to Learn More About Journalism?
Part 13: ‘Videos for Social Media’

By Alex Bitter, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Summer 2015 CMM Editorial Fellow

When many media outlets decide to add video to their list of content platforms, they fall into the easy habit — and trap — of producing traditional television-style news packages. That shouldn’t necessarily be the case.

Of course, we’re guilty of that at Ka Leo, but, as I’ve mentioned before, we’ve also had success using videos long and short to boost the views our stories get on social media. Based on what we’ve already accomplished at Ka Leo, a convention session focused on videos for social media might be useful — especially given the advantage that such videos provide outlets in the Facebook algorithm.

These videos don’t have to be lengthy or overly complicated to create that edge. One good model, and an outlet whose staffers I would invite to speak at a session in Austin, is NowThis. Each video they produce tackles a different news event in under a minute and combines text with B-roll and still photos to tell the story.


Though relatively simple, it’s a model that other outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, have recently adopted. The format catches your eye when you’re scrolling through a Facebook feed and just might persuade you to click through to a longer story.

A recent Wall Street Journal video about escaped zoo animals in Tbilisi.

Alex Bitter is a rising senior journalism and political science major at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He is the outgoing editor-in-chief of Ka Leo O Hawaiʻi. He 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

Part 4: ‘The Way We Edit & Upload Stories’ by Ali Swenson

Part 5: ‘So You Want to Make a Tabloid Newspaper?’ by Claire Dodson, University of Tennessee

Part 6: ‘An Independent Student Newspaper?’ by Kyle Walker, University of Tulsa

Part 7: ‘How to Present Data in the Most Compelling Way’ by Nizia Alam, University of Texas at Tyler

Part 8: ‘Student Media Consumption Habits’ by Matt Lemas, University of Southern California

Part 9: ‘How Can a Student Make It Different?’ by Nicole Brown, New York University

Part 10: ‘A Closer Look at Periscope’ by Angela Christaldi, Saint Joseph’s University

Part 11: ‘The Role of the Opinion Section’ by Griffin Guinta, University of Tampa

Part 12: ‘Before Any Journalism Even Gets Done’ by Sean Feverston, Otterbein University

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