E-newsletter, January 22

Best thing in the newsletter

Kudos to Duy and Kyle for covering the Women’s March in Dallas and finding the issues within the overall event. We’ve seen a lot of protest and march coverage within the last year, but as we head into 2018, it’s important that we seek out specifics and people’s stories and life experiences that resonate beyond a sign or microphone. These demonstrations across the country dominated the news cycle over the weekend so it’s important that we kept up with our local version of this for our readers.

Best story

Reese did a nice job on this lede for his advance story on the upcoming Activity Fair Day:

“More than 170 organizations, businesses and colleges will be represented Wednesday to demonstrate ways students can get involved in activities outside of their classes.”

This confident lede sets up the story well, is specific and tells us everything we need to know about why we are reading it and why now. That’s the purpose of a lede. Good job.

Headlines

“Library policy change limits guest computer usage” was clear and to the point and told readers exactly what the story was about. Well done.

Visuals

Cutlines have been clear and concise and have included two complete sentences containing reported information. Good work. Keep it up!

Social

Good job by social over the weekend with clean, clear, explanatory writing on posts that introduced our content. The explainer on Reese’s semi-truck accident story was especially well done.

Also, congrats on the summary card. Looks professional!

Needs Improvement

We had some sloppy line editing over the weekend. In Kyle’s protest story, Republican should have been upper-cased; Trump lacked a first reference; the story should have said “Saturday” not “yesterday.” These are the types of fixes that need to be caught in line editing and copy editing, yet they were published.

 

It seems like we struggled with having enough images to include in multimedia galleries this weekend. We only have three in the paint party and we have a full gallery for men’s basketball but not for women’s. Shoot lots—that’s how you improve as a photographer! And if we only have three publishable images, imbed them in the story, don’t build a slide show.

 

We need to be careful allowing sources that we quote state things that can’t really be proven. In the library story, we ran the following quote:

“Most people don’t even have access to a laptop, and they come over here to the library to do their research,” Meghani said.

First of all, who are “most people”? And how do we know that they don’t have access to laptops? This is way too general and it deserves a bit of pushback on the source. It’s possible if we ask it again, they might say “many” or even back off or, even better, elaborate on why they think they know that. But we won’t know if just accept these unverifiable statements for fact, even if they are a direct quote. We don’t have to use them.

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E-newsletter, January 19

Best thing in the newsletter

The re-tooled Shorthorn Round Up had a great first week. Lengthier, intentional and now including audio from stories and interviews with staffers, it really feels like a podcast. Producer Nick Tarrant (back with his weather forecasts!) has done an admirable job selecting content and features that showcase not only our work but also our talented Shorthorn students behind the work.

Best story

JR’s first published article, coverage from women’s basketball, was a sharp, confident debut. It included active verbs, solid play-by-play and a great lede that encompassed everything it needed to:

“With the game tied at 61 and 4.4 seconds left, senior guard Crystal Allen drained a pair of free throws to lift the women’s basketball team (9-9, 4-2) to a 63-61 victory over the University of Louisiana at Lafayette on Thursday at College Park Center.”

Headlines

Good job varying the headlines on the women’s and men’s basketball stories: one included the school and the other the mascot. Nice pairing together.

Visuals

Vincent’s gorgeous illustration that accompanied the CommUNITY Voices column on the film industry was the true show-stopper.

 Needs Improvement

In reporting, we need to practice saying: “Such as?” “How so?” “Can you give me some examples?” “How does that work?” “What would you suggest?” “Tell me more about that.” Because when we don’t, we end up with advice stories where we don’t especially offer any advice. Or stories where a source tells us something and we don’t follow up. This is the difference between simply accepting information from someone and truly pushing for information. Our sources often want to be helpful, but we have to nudge. Or, sometimes, lean. But let’s train ourselves to get more.

The Life story about juggling school and an internship was a great idea and included smart sources—some of the best on campus. It just needed more out of those sources. When we have them in the room, don’t be afraid to get as much as you can. If our job is to offer advice, let’s make sure we get the best and the most.

Watch out for numbers. They’ll bite you. Never be shy about re-confirming numbers. In fact, get in the habit of repeating numbers back to people. Every time. Just like we check names and titles, stop yourself in the moment whenever you hear or see a number and confirm it. Just to be sure. Because it matters what number of justices on the student Supreme Court it takes to conduct daily operations.

 

 

Newsletter critique, 1-17-18

Staff:

Each day, you’ll receive feedback on your individual contributions to The Shorthorn’s news report, as well as feedback on the issue as a whole. This information is posted in the newsroom on the bulletin board, along with a summary highlighting the best work – and that which needs improvement. You should read the entire critique – not just your work – and use the information to improve a little each day.

Beth Francesco
Director of Student Publications

The Shorthorn e-newsletter, Jan. 17, 2018

The best thing in the newsletter: Kyle did a great job incorporating a specific anecdote to paint a picture of some of the issues Arlington residents have with short-term rental properties in their neighborhoods:

Arlington resident Robert Phillips, 53, gave an anecdotal example from his University Drive neighborhood where a residence had 30 people in a three-bedroom home and was being advertised as a party house.

“It doesn’t happen every week, but it is annoying,” Phillips said. “The noise is a problem; the trash is a problem.”

The anecdote continues, thoroughly letting the reader experience what he has. Instead of quoting the entire passage, Kyle used the anecdote to set up a good quote. Nicely done! Continue reading

Internship opportunity: UNT Health Science Center

Job posting—intern

Employee Communications Intern (paid, part-time)

Office of Brand and Communication

UNT Health Science Center

3500 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth, Texas

 

 

The Office of Brand and Communication Department at the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC) in Fort Worth is seeking to hire an Employee Communications Intern.

Responsibilities of the position include, but are not limited to, assisting with:

  • Writing, editing and posting content for UNTHSC’s intranet, internal electronic newsletter and other employee communication tools
  • Informal photography for these communication tools
  • Promotions and preparations for activities to encourage faculty and staff engagement in UNTHSC’s mission, vision, purpose and strategic plan (Examples include on-campus employee fairs and tours)
  • Helping develop new strategic communication programs designed to enhance employee engagement
  • Helping maintain tools to monitor the success of these programs

Continue reading

Let’s get social. For real.

Part of an ongoing blog series of notes and tips from the 2017 College Media Association/Associated Collegiate Press national convention. Search by topic or “collegemedia17” on this site to find more, or #collegemedia17 on Twitter. The following is compiled by Victoria Raines.

Tools to Increase Your Social Media Following

  • There is a sense that these companies that create these awesome social media tools don’t care about us as individuals. You might lose what you have come to rely on.
  • Facebook announced they launched a new newsfeed in five different countries that eliminates all news organizations from your feed.
  • Don’t’ put all your stock in one tool. Social media is rapidly changing and unreliable.
  • Facebook shows you what you care about and what you care about is what you click on.
  • Patreon.com allows you to charge people money for your content. When they buy into you, they are invested in your work.
  • You have to build a following that interacts with your work.

Repurposing Print Content for Social

  • Every post should have a picture.
  • Go with the photographer to get a shot for social.
  • Vary your caption and headline. They shouldn’t say the same thing.
  • Make captions more attractive and luring.

 

Tips on writing the investigative narrative

Part of an ongoing blog series of notes and tips from the 2017 College Media Association/Associated Collegiate Press national convention. Search by topic or “collegemedia17” on this site to find more, or #collegemedia17 on Twitter. The following is from Neetish Basnet. 

Session: Writing the Investigative Narrative

By Gina Barton, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and author

The session discussed ways to excel in investigative journalism and writing a narrative.

She said narrative storytelling is not only for features or fiction writing. News stories can benefit from narrative writing, as it intrigues the readers to learn more.

Tips:

  •       Think cinematically; make readers able to see the scene.
  •       Construct a plot, with lot of cliffhangers, twists and turns.
  •       Find a strong main character. Make the main character likable. “Nobody would want to read/learn about someone annoying.”
  •       Then make the protagonist face a complicated situation and find a resolution.

Continue reading

Improv your way to better interviews

Part of an ongoing blog series of notes and tips from the 2017 College Media Association/Associated Collegiate Press national convention. Search by topic or “collegemedia17” on this site to find more, or #collegemedia17 on Twitter. The following is from Chanel Sassoon. 

Ed and Chanel play an improv game. Photo: Audrey Henvey

This session was by far my favorite one. Here we discussed ways we can improve the atmosphere of our newsroom while learning ways to brush up on our interviewing skills. Andy Dehnart conducted the session. Basically, it was a series of games we could play in the newsroom, that are sometimes done in the improv scene. A game I really enjoyed involved students lining up and getting a keyword from the audience. Beginning with the given word, those in line had to make a story up with each person saying one word at a time.

This was a lot of fun, but Dehnart also related it back to how interviews work. Sometimes, we are too caught up in our own heads preparing for what our next question may be, versus just listening to the interview and preparing proper follow-up questions. (There were a lot of other games we played. I’d be happy to explain some other ones and possibly play them to begin our staff meetings.)