Chapter 17 summary

20 Apr

Rachele Kanigel begins chapter 17 of The Student Newspaper Survival Guide with an anecdote of how one university used their web site to deliver news to students and staff in an efficient and creative way. Web sites offer student newspapers a host of new opportunities for covering news, according to Kanigel. This chapter focuses on the basic principles of online journalism as well as offers some tips on how to make a site a good resource for the campus community.

The online medium is very different from print and Kanigel hits on some of those major differences as immediacy, space, multimedia, interactivity and linking.

Immediacy is important because of how quickly stories and photos can be posted online and how quickly a student or staff member can access that information. Unlike print, the web offers student newspapers virtually unlimited amount of space to deliver and post information. Although there is unlimited space, which may get overwhelming, online versions of the paper should meet the same standards, if not better, than print. Multimedia on the web is making use of several media at once to tell a story. Some of that media includes photos, video, audio or interactive graphics. Interactivity is important because it a chance to really engage readers and enhance their coverage of a story. Finally, linking is the term for connecting readers to other parts of the newspaper site or to other sites in general. With linking, a paper can add more content and depth to stories.

As well as print version becoming the website, student newspapers can also make use of web service features like blogs. Blogs can add personality and vitality to a site. They can be used to report immediate and personal accounts of campus events, but Kanigel does include that the best blogs are often written by outside contributors, not the staff. It’s important to remember that blogs should still be edited, but lightly as to keep the writer’s voice alive.

When publishing online, student newspapers can either publish independently or make use of digital publishing services, like College Publisher. College Publisher has an appealing content management system because of its simple templates that are easy to use. But many student papers don’t like the templates because they can sometimes limit the paper’s capabilities.

Web sites are obviously becoming a very important factor of any newspaper, which is why I think I can contribute to The Northerner’s site to improve it. Although there may not be much I can do, technical wise, but I still can offer my input on what needs to be added or taken away to enhance to the site. I think we should also add more multimedia stories, like photo slideshows, video and even multimedia narratives.

Chapter 16 summary

14 Apr

Chapter 16, Design and Graphics, focuses on how important newspaper pages look to the reader. According to Rachele Kanigel, the newspaper design is about getting people who don’t want to read to read. The text has to be effortless so they can’t help themselves. It’s important to know that design is also content; it’s about making the paper easier to read and navigate.

Newspaper design is governed by a set of principles based on how people read type. These principles include balance, consistency, contrast, visual hierarchy, simplicity and typography. Page balance is seen when the page is balanced both horizontally and vertically. Design consistency helps build reader trust and loyalty. Contrast is what makes the pages interesting; the key is using just enough contrast to make a page interesting, but not cluttered. Visual hierarchy is the process of putting key elements in the most visible positions. Simplicity means fewer elements and more white space on a page. Finally, typography’s primary function is to make reading easy.

There are four basic building blocks to a newspaper page—headlines, body text, images and white space. Headlines help anchor the story and are written in larger type than the stories themselves. Body text is the actual story. Images are used to help tell stories in a visual way and to break up columns of type. White space is the open space around headlines, text and images.

Modular design is how most newspapers are laid out because it makes the pages easier to read and navigate. Each element in modular design is treated as a rectangular building blocks and are packaged together to form bigger rectangles.

In newspaper design, page designers have to think about multiple points of entry which are different doors readers can use to enter a story. Many designers use information boxes, refers, information graphics and pull quotes to act as different points of entry into a story.

When creating a paper, the designer and staff has to decide between a broadsheet or a tabloid newspaper. Broadsheets are like full-size papers (22 x 13”) and look more like professional dailies. Tabloids, on the other hand are about half the size of a broadsheet (11 x 13-15”) and are easier to design. Most student newspapers use tabloids because they are handier for students to hold.

Because the design and layout of a newspaper is so important, especially for students, I think I could start helping The Northerner with the layout of each week’s issue. I also think I can practice in my spare time learning to use InDesign and InCopy to become better acquainted with the software used in the newsroom. With more ability to do work in InDesign, I would feel more comfortable helping the page designers by offering my input to what the pages should look like, at least for my own stories. I think my own stories would be a good place to start for me to design, it would also take a load off of the busy page designers today.

20th Annual International Potluck Dinner

10 Apr

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Chapter 15 summary

6 Apr

Chapter 15 of the Student Newspaper Survival Guide is about starting a new newspaper. At many colleges, students create new newspapers to counter the main publication of the school. This chapter also provides the steps to take when starting a new paper. In creating these papers, a sort of newspaper competition forms.

 

In the professional world, newspaper competitions are becoming a thing of the past, but in the college setting that competition is more prevalent. Although the competition aspect is there, having more publications is just another way to get more students involved in student and campus media.

 

Newspapers that provide an alternative perspective to the mainstream campus newspaper are considered alternative newspapers. There are six categories of alternative newspapers—conservative, progressive, humor, religious, alternative weeklies and identity. Conservative and progressive papers are partisan based, conservative leaning to the right and progressive to the left. Humor is non-partisan and satire based. Religious alternatives are gaining popularity across campuses and offer a religious slant. Alternative weeklies are modeled after urban weeklies. When a paper is based on identity politics, it is considered an identity alternative.

 

When starting a new newspaper, Kanigel emphasizes the need for ideas, people, production facilities and money. Discover what the campus needs in a paper and that can be your vision, then recruit a staff that believes in that vision.

 

The newspaper’s mission statement should reflect the goals and aspirations of the staff. Questions like what does the paper stand for? Who do you serve? And what values do you want to uphold? Should be answered in the mission statement. A newspaper also needs a constitution and staff manual to help the staff do its job.

 

One of the most challenging parts of creating a new newspaper is finding a newsroom. According to Kanigel, students should not be afraid to use empty classrooms or share offices with other students.

 

One of the most important parts of a new newspaper is publicity and getting the word out. Kanigel suggests using other campus media outlets to promote and hand issues out to students. Don’t just drop off stacks around campus.

 

I can use a lot of the information from this chapter in my work at The Northerner, without creating a new newspaper. I do think adding an alternative weekly would be a good idea. If we added a small portion to our already existing paper that provided students the weekend’s activities (much like City Beat or Metromix), I think students would really enjoy that. I can work with the editor and other staff members to make this happen. In the meantime, I think working on publicity of The Northerner is important. We should be standing out on Wednesdays passing out papers to students in the Student Union. Passing out papers by hand is a good idea because students aren’t picking up the paper in the receptacles provided on campus.

 

Chapters 13 and 14 summary

4 Apr

Chapters 13 and 14 of The Student Newspaper Survival Guide focus on the legal issues and ethical issues that student newspapers are faced with and how to deal with those issues. Student journalists face the same legal and ethical issues as professionals, but they often face more challenges.

 

With legal issues, many administrators will try to stop controversial material from being run, or censorship, and they will try to prevent student newspapers from gaining access to public records and meetings. Ethically, student journalists and newspapers have to deal with moral dilemmas involving difficult sources, conflicts of interest, and offensive words and images.

 

The best way to combat legal issues on campuses is to know your rights and know where to turn if a problem arises. At public universities and colleges, the First Amendment applies to student publications, which makes censorship of the paper illegal. Censorship includes confiscating newspapers, restricting distribution and demanding prior approval of content before publication.

 

Legal issues also include libel, privacy and obscenity laws. Libel is anything written or printed that defames a person and even if the statement didn’t originate with the staff, the paper can still be held liable. Opinions and satire and cartoons do not apply as libel.

 

Ethically, student newspaper editors face many problems when deciding if a story or photo is appropriate and if it delivers the news. To help decide, Rachele Kanigel strongly encourages each student newspaper develop a Code of Ethics to help staffers make ethical decisions. This code should cover areas like conflict of interest, plagiarism and fabrication, and obscenity and profanity.

 

Conflicts of interest are hard for college newspapers to avoid because most student journalists are also involved on campus. Plagiarism and fabrication are both very serious offenses and at many colleges, the first offense leads to termination. When dealing with obscenity and profanity, all newspapers are different, but there should always be a policy involved that includes sexually explicit material.

 

Covering suicides in student newspapers is one of the most common ethical dilemmas editors have to address. Suicides can be important to cover in student media because it is a major problem on campuses today, but also because it often has a significant impact on a large part of the college community.

 

When reviewing the information from these very important chapters, I realized how much I still have to learn about the legal and ethical sides of journalism. I think I can better my knowledge by paying more attention to the stories coming in at The Northerner and making sure those are done in ethically and legally sound ways. I can also pay more attention to how I go about writing my own stories. At The Northerner, I can be more involved in the decision making process, if possible, to get more hands on experience from our editor now.

Waiting for the results

3 Apr

SGA vice-presidential candidate, Erik Pederson, waits nervously as his running mate, Dustin Robinson, took the call that would decide their future in SGA. "This whole experience has been mind blowing," Pederson said after Robinson announced their victory Thursday night. Pederson, who is only a freshman, is ready to get moving with their plans that include more campus and SGA involvement and a Go Green initiative.

Chapter 12 summary

27 Mar

The Student Newspaper’s Survival Guide explains and gives great examples of photojournalism in Chapter 12. Photojournalism is about showing readers what writers can’t describe through photos. To capture that reality to enhance a story, photojournalists need sensitivity and intuition, as well as access and the right connections. According to Rachele Kanigel, readers are more likely to read a story that is accompanied by a photo because it adds value and provides additional information.

 

There are many types of angles and shots to take into consideration as a photojournalist. First there are the shooting perspectives—the long shot, the medium shot, the close-up, and high or low angles. Each perspective offers a different perspective on an event. When covering a campus, photojournalists must be prepared at all times to capture breaking news. When shooting sports, photographers need to capture the action and the emotional reaction that follows.

 

Feature photos document the life of the community or campus and provide a visual break for readers. Feature photos are easy to turn into photo stories, which are stories told in pictures that are usually tied to an event or theme. Candid photos are also good for accompanying feature stories. Candids focus on a single person and offer a window into their world, often through reading, studying or working.

 

Showcasing photos on the web is a great idea, especially for student newspapers, because of the unlimited space the internet provides. Photo galleries and slideshows, as well as other multimedia extras, are easy ways to present extra photographs.

 

When editing photos, editors look for news value, information, emotion, action and intimacy to decide what photos to use for a story. Photo editors must have good communication skills and news judgment because they often act as the liaison between top editors and photographers.

 

Cutlines, or photo captions, lure the reader into the story. A good cutline should include: the action, the principal people, explanation of how it relates to the story and any important details.

 

Without much photography experience, this chapter will be very helpful in pushing me in the right direction. For The Northerner, I can step up and start to take more photos for my own stories instead of relying on our limited photographers. I can also work on writing cutlines, as that is an important part of photo editing. Outside of the paper, I can work on my own photography skills by just getting out and practicing around campus and around the Cincinnati and NKY area.