Feedback: Weekend e-editions

The Good. The Bad. The Shorthorn.
Feedback on the weekend e-editions of The Shorthorn.

 The Best Thing on TheShorthorn.com:
I loved the take on attendance at the College Park Center after the UNT volleyball game. This is a strong, non-game oriented sports story topic that is important for the university community. Good job getting the numbers/stats for the time period you’re comparing. It’s the best of the weekend for the initiative and use of information. However, this story contained only two sources, and omitted a major stakeholder in a story about fans at games — fans at games. Omitting those voices puts a super positive spin on a story that, looking at the numbers, doesn’t look great for UTA because we rely totally on official UTA representatives to shed light on attendance. Always ask yourself: Do I have all the stakeholders in this story represented?

Best Story Lede:
Paula did a great job with a straight news lede on her story about a new online appointment system for business students:

The College of Business is launching an online appointment system for its advising office this fall.
The target launch date is the end of September, said Shelly Parker, assistant director for the College of Business advising office.

The lede is direct. It states who, what, where and when the action will take place. The second sentence provides further clarification on when. This is a perfect example of how most of our ledes should appear — direct and focused.

Best Photo:

http://www.theshorthorn.com/gallery/welcome-home-sisters/collection_b801252a-55ab-11e5-a695-837ae197a5ab.html

Lokesh found the perfect vantage point to tell the story of Bid Day in a single shot: the perspective of a recruit waiting to hear her name being called to cross over to her new sisters. I wish we’d gotten closer, to better frame the shot to see the action below. Don’t be timid — talk to the group and let them know you intend to get close and capture their view. They won’t mind (and if they do, ask another group). Work for the shot that puts us in the scene. (You must ID each of these people in the photo.)

Overall observations: 

  • The rotator on The Shorthorn is to highlight your best content (with a time peg). For some reason, we’ve been intent on putting five or six stories in the rotator, resulting in some older stories that are still being highlighted. If you have four great stories to highlight, limit the number to four. If it’s three or four (which would be normal on a Monday), limit it. Choose your content wisely, especially in this important real estate.
  • No need to continue promoting the New Student Guide. It’s old now.
  • Headlines need work. Across the board, they are tending to omit the news and instead focus on redundant information. For example, “Sisterhoods gain new members during bid day” states a fact — that is what happens every bid day. And there are two more female cohort bid days in the next few weeks. What’s different about this one? Also, “sisterhood” is a concept and therefore cannot gain more members. TIP: Read your headlines and ask yourself if something can literally happen.
  • Great hustle from Narda, Lokesh and Cody covering Bid Day. Let’s follow up to see how they did on numbers. And don’t forget that this is one of several Bid Days/recruitment processes. We need to be fair and equal in coverage.
    • Videos must report basic information, regardless of the topic. The Bid Day video did a nice job of capturing the visual spectacle of recruitment, but it failed to deliver any information about what was going on. Many people will look at only video or only a story – not both. If I look at just this video, I see a bunch of women shrieking without any context for what is going on or why. Our job is more than to observe – it is to report. Our guidelines state that all content must report.
  • Don’t forget the basics in stories:
  • Our story about fans of our sports teams failed to interview and include fan voices.
  • Our story about our athlete being named athlete of the week failed to interview her.
  • Our story about the Study Abroad fair failed to state when and where it would take place.
  • Good variety of coverage on theshorthorn.com. I was surprised to not see many lookaheads to anything going on this week:
  • Adoption of the city of Arlington budget on Thursday (with a tax hike for downtown). A story about the budget with a nut graph that states the meeting is Thursday and where would be appropriate.
  • Advance of the Student Congress meeting tonight in which several resolutions will be voted on. A story about the most pressing resolution would be appropriate with a nut graph that states the meeting will take place.

Please see the individual stories for notes on writing and structure. Keep up the hard work and focus on the details that make your stories unique.

Onward,

BF

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