The Line: First daily digest a good start!

Newsletter critique, 08.21.12Thoughts on today’s daily e-news digest.

Keep it up:
– Headline and story summary lengths are just right.
– Variety of stories selected is good: You have a city story that applies to all of our community, three stories for the general audience, and one for the sports audience highlighted. In addition, you feature two stories for specific groups under “more headlines.”

Need to work on:
– Photo selection is weak. Image needs to show the news. Here, the focal point is the woman’s shorts, not the long line to check in. This is a move-in story, and we need to get the move-in aspect covered (it’s unclear,  based on the image, that these people are waiting to move in. This could be a line anywhere.)

– Summaries must provide the news in context. This will be a work in progress, but here are some suggestions/examples:

WEST NILE
Arlington begins spraying for West Nile virus
The city will spray three areas, one of which is on campus, that meet the criteria of the Centers for Disease Control. There are no health hazards associated with the spraying, but residents are encouraged to take precautions.

Better: UTA’s Doug Russell Park on campus is among three areas the city is spraying to control mosquitos. Residents are encouraged to take precautions (like ….). (We don’t know what the criteria for the CDC are, and they don’t really matter to the reader. If there are no health hazards, don’t mention it in the summary.)

UTA residence hall move in kicks off fall semester
More than 500 volunteers helped students across campus move into their rooms. Arlington Mayor Robert Cluck and UTA President James Spaniolo attended the event to help students move into Vandergriff Hall, UT Arlington’s newest residence hall. (This was good. Needed to have total number of students who moved on campus.)

Two campus eateries extend hours (include names in the headline)
The Connection Cafe and Einstein Bros Bagels will extend their hours this fall semester to accommodate student’s needs. The Connection Cafe will not hire additional workers and will feature an updated menu. Read more

Better: Connection Café, Einstein Bros Bagels extend fall hours
Hoping to accommodate student needs, the campus eateries will stay open an additional (# of hours).

FINISH program to help transfer students adapt to UTA (solid headline)
Having more than 4,000 transfer students, the university started the program as part of the Success Series to help transfer students become acclimated with the university.

Better summary: Success Series program aims to aid the university’s more than 4,000 transfer students (Be specific about what it will do here. The current summary is redundant with the headline. Avoid repeating what you have in the headline.)

LaMarcus Reed signs with professional Belgium team (what’s a “professional Belgium team”? Who is LaMarcus Reed? – read for sense and don’t assume people know Reed is a basketball player – also, don’t use full name in headline. Remember your key word method … basketball is a key word here)

The former UTA basketball star LaMarcus Reed will play with the Port of Antwerp Giants. Reed expects to play guard and possibly small forward for the team.

Good start! Keep it up. Onward!

– BFC

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