Hey there, Shorthorn staff! I just wanted to say, again, how excited I am for this semester. You each played a huge role in making this week go smoothly for us and for readers. Sure, we have some places to grow, some big stories to write, and some fantastic plans for the print and web editions. We’re in a great place to do or try anything you want. It’s exciting.
Our good work from this week …
We had a bunch of shout outs, given the quality of and hard work you put toward content. Here are our top two awards:
Lorraine Frajkor earned the Best of the Week award, for her work on the semester’s first Pulse cover. It was creative and used color blocks and images well, uniting a topic that had wide variety. Nice job!
Joel Cooley earned Rookie of the Week, for attacking his beat (Administration II) and writing three focused stories – and two briefs – to cover what needed to be covered. Good hustle, and a very strong start.
And, your challenges for the week ahead:
Reporters (all): We had some wordy, unclear ledes this week, which impacted how a reader could have interpreted what the story is about. A good lede needs to do three things: summarize the story, using specific information gathered while reporting the story, get the reader’s interest, and set the tone for the story. This week, I’d like you to focus on your lede in each story. Does it do each of these things? Your staff manual contains a great checklist for ledes – it’s on pages E-7 to E-12.
BONUS: Lloyd’s lecture on sources hit the nail on the head – I’ll post highlights on the blog. To follow up, though, I issue this challenge (any reporter is eligible): Find, talk to, and get contact information (name, e-mail and phone number) from as many people on your beat as you can between now and next staff meeting. We’ll talk about how they compare to the levels of sources that Lloyd talked about – and whoever has collects the most information will get a fabulous prize. Extra bonus? You’ll have contacts on file for your next stories.
Photographers: Let’s push to be a true reflection of what’s happening on campus. As Will said: Let’s get more faces and the fronts of people in action. The content and subject of your images matters – coordinate with the reporter to tell the best story you can, together.
Design: We’ve done a good job of giving the reader multiple entry points on the front page and section fronts. This week, focus on inside page design, specifically hierarchy and flow. For Monday’s training session, please come prepared to talk about inside page design and challenges you face in designing them.
Online: Your mission is pretty clear – keep uploading previous content and focusing on getting links (internal and external) with stories. You’re working out the kinks on the site, and we’re grateful.
Copy desk: We had some good headlines this week, and some that needed a bit of work. Your challenge? Read every word of Lloyd’s headline critique, posted outside my office. Apply what you learn this week. Really hoping to see headlines that better fit the story and accurately describe the action taking place.
Everyone: Style, style, style. Dustin stressed that he wanted all staffers to refer to The Shorthorn’s style guide, the AP Stylebook and the dictionary, rather than ask a neighbor, for the guidelines/rules to apply to text. Please do this with vigor. It’ll improve your stories.
Thanks again, all! Have a great weekend!