Digital critique

Digital critique: Jan. 29, 2013

The good. The bad. The Shorthorn.

Overall, some of today’s content online reflected The Shorthorn was out and about on campus – the fun short story on the musical chair contest, coverage of a flute recital that’s important its student creator – but what was missing from The Shorthorn’s coverage reflects that editors and staff don’t have a strong understanding of news going on around campus.

Items I expected to see in today’s newsletter:

  • An advance on tonight’s Student Congress meeting, where a vote is expected on the UC renovations that would move Student Affairs offices around in a significant way.
  • Some sort of update on the reorganization of the provost’s office
  • Related – but separate – is the reorg of the Student Affairs division. (Things are moving fast and The Shorthorn should check in frequently)
  • Followup from sports on the big lineup change the men had last weekend. How do the freshman feel to be the stars? How do the veterans feel? How’s Cross feeling?
  • Teases to cartoons, polls, etc. All content needs to be promoted.

The Best Thing on the Web today: The photo from Thursday’s LGBTQA event. It’s very nice and works in the rotator. (Folks, it’s not saying a lot that the best thing on the web is from five days ago.)

Best story find: D’Anzia did a good job finding a very personal angle in her recital story. Throughout the semester, the folks in Fine Arts will perform a number of recitals. Finding the unique angle of each is key. Good job, D’Anzia (see notes on the story for tips on writing this effectively)

Best photos: Justin did a good job capturing the surprise and fight for a seat in musical chairs. Nice job getting three different perspectives. (Folks, didn’t see a lot of photography from today. Remember that every story online needs to have a photo, and it’s the photo editor/staff’s job to ensure we have appropriate mug shots, video, etc. with each story).


  • Digital elements are missing from nearly every story. We went over this on Friday.
  • The Senate Finance Committee meeting needed to contain and elaborate on new information – if we’re asking for more than what is on the current list, why and how much? the reporter may have left out the story’s key information: HOW MUCH more the university says oit needs than was included in the Senate’s budget bill, why it is asking for more, and the legislators’ reaction. It’s also important that the stories contain context: what was the difference in Spaniolo’s appearances yesterday and last week, and where do they both fit in the process to get funds for the building. Have we had a story about the university’s overall budget request? Don’t focus solely on the Life Science Building.
  • If you’re going to cover fun things like musical chairs, recitals and the like, you must do the absolute best job you can writing and editing them. Both contained spelling errors and word-choice errors (as did the lede, I think, of the Legislature story). See each story on the wall to get see specifics.

The training wheels are off for this semester, everyone. It’s time to buckle down and ensure that we’re covering the news on our beats and on our campus the best way possible – with complete stories, excellent art and digital components that enhance and elaborate on the story. The probationary period for errors and deadline mistakes is over – take time to ensure the completeness and accuracy of each item you turn in.

Onward – do your BEST work today.





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