June 16 critique on deck

Best thing in the newsletter: Gotta love a graphic, though. When Javier Giribet mentioned how many lives UTA saved last March with its blood donations, I was floored. He thought that the information would make a good graphic and it did.

  • It’s visually nice
  • The information is displayed well.
  • It’s engaging and easy to read
  • It’s a great visual to play on social that could help engage people.

Wish I knew who did this! It doesn’t say who did this graphic!

Best headline: Liking the “Governor’s initiative could attract researchers to public universities” headline. Good job, Brenna. This isn’t an easy topic to report or understand so writing a headline is also not easy. This headline is clear, direct,to the point, and tells the reader the story. To make this headline sing, however, public universities could be changed to UTA to make it more specific.

Honorable mention: I’m so glad Anna Gutierrez wrote the Father’s Day story! Frankly, I had forgotten about this holiday so I’m glad to see Anna on the ball! I really liked reading about someone’s first Father’s Day. I wanted to read more, in fact. I hope we play this story on social soon since I think it will do well.

Room for improvement:  Guys, we’re losing a bit of steam. Reading the newsletter, it seems like it’s more of a recap of what was online rather than what it’s supposed to be which is it’s own issue/publication.  We have to plan for the newsletter like we plan for the newspaper. That means there needs to be a big story in them.

When I say a big story, I don’t always mean the big 4 part series. I mean something that readers can read that they didn’t know. We know from our research that readers want to learn something that they didn’t. That drives web traffic and readership.

So what’s the big story in this newsletter. I agree that it’s the possible flooding story. That’s a big story because 1) it already rained here a ton recently 2) it’s what people are thinking/ talking about. That means we need to blow this story up. So, we need to know what the rain totals are for May and June so far and compare those to this time last year. A quick call to the national weather service will do that. We need to know what areas are prone to flooding. We need to know what’s being done around campus (the City of Arlington is giving away sandbags).  On social, we could have played this yesterday and asked people their opinions to get a reading from our readers about what they think. That’s a way to crowd source some students who are concerned (or not) about flooding. Let’s not let this story escape from us.

The parking lot story. Good story for Monday. It’s Tuesday. Why would someone want to read about it now if an entrance to a parking lot was closed. Do we know why specifically? We could have updated the story with a picture of the closure and the headline to the blurb could have said: “Parking entrance closed for next 45 days.” Yesterday, we could have put this story out on social early and asked how this impacts our readers if at all. This story doesn’t really do anyone any good on Tuesday. Missed opportunity.

What’s missing: Abbott signed campus carry into law. We needed a brief talking about this with information that we know so far. That’s something quick that could be done to update our readership on an issue that will impact campus. On social, I’m glad we talked about it. However, the next step is to take concerns/fact/misconceptions found in the comments and make them into a Q&A article for later on.  That’s how you use social media not only to engage and converse but also to take the pulse of your readership for stories later on.

What’s also missing is a story about the new buildings that UTA could be getting soon. The campus (waiting for Gov. Abbott signature) could receive $70 million for a science and education innovation and research building but they asked for $190 million. It’ll be about 210,000 square-feet. How will they pay for the rest of it? Where is that building going since the campus is mostly landlocked? Are they buying land? Are they building on a parking lot? What’s the timeline on this? They also asked for money for another building for the College of Nursing, what happened to that? Lots to report here.

Juneteenth — This is a big deal most especially when it comes to the fifth most diverse campus in the nation. It’s the annual anniversary of the reading of the Emancipation Proclamation on Galveston Island. I’m sure there’s an event someone or a group is doing something because that always happens but this year, that holiday takes a different tone. With McKinney and Rachel Dolezal in the news what context does it give this holiday. Looks like it could be a good piece to read.

Bowling and Billiards — We need to look at this because they were supposed to expand the UC and were going to do that over by bowling and billiards. We should update this. What’s the timeline on this? For social, ask readers what they would want to see at the UC?

Strive for everything to have art. Why? The rotator on the website needs to be changed often and if it is not, we lose readers because they think nothing has been updated. It has. You guys are writing all the time. And you want people to read your stuff, yes? That means visuals — photo, graphics. That needs to happen.

That’s what I got! Keep going! I’m around if you have any questions.

This entry was posted in Training by Icess Fernandez Rojas. Bookmark the permalink.

About Icess Fernandez Rojas

Icess is a writer, professor, and blogger. She is a graduate of Goddard College's MFA program. Her work has been published in Rabble Lit, Minerva Rising Literary Journal, and the Feminine Collective's anthology Notes from Humanity. Her nonfiction has appeared in Dear Hope, NBCNews.com, HuffPost and the Guardian. She is a recipient of the Owl of Minerva Award, a VONA/Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation alum, and is also a Kimbilio Fellow. She's currently working on her first novel.

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