Preparing tips for Suffolk University media students

Updated at noon, Feb. 27: Just left the class and I think things went great! Hit my main points and had a good flow with the students.

Ahead of my upcoming visit to a media class at Suffolk University students, the professor asked me to be relaxed and ready to answer the students questions… but just in case we need a few starting points for the conversation, he sent me these three prompts:

1. Speak about what you do and how you help push the WCVB content online

  • There are loads of skills to demonstrate: CMS, social media management software, Photoshop, non-linear editors, principles of design and photography…
  • But nothing is more important than being a good writer. Your credibility as a journalist begins with your ability to organize and convey thoughts through your chosen medium.
  • Each story goes through these steps within the digital team
    • Collection – Gathering from reporters, press releases, phone calls, etc.
    • Evaluation – Asking, do we have enough to publish and is it verified? Also, is it worthwhile to publish?
    • Composition – Turning the verified information into an organized and compelling product of text, photos, video or some combination (This is the biggest step and the one that requires those writing skills).
    • Presentation – Double- and triple-checking that key elements of the headline, thumbnail, video and captions are all exploiting our best practices.
    • Technical Gobbledygook – Applying the proper settings to ensure we comply with rights rules and any other regulations.
    • Featuring – Putting the content out on the platforms and positions that maximize its strengths and our progress toward performance metrics.

2. What does WCVB do to engage viewers and attract viewers

  • Whereas the fastest feedback available on television viewership comes with an overnight delay, digital feedback can come within a matter of seconds. We study that feedback and are constantly developing a sense of what the audience is doing and what peaks their interest.
  • Our editorial judgement must always seek a balance between what the audience wants to consume and what our journalistic ethics tell us to report. But better yet, we work to find ways to make it enjoyable for people to eat their vegetables.
  • We design versions of our content specifically for the best practices of social media platforms, especially Facebook, because that is where the audience lives and journalism is no good at informing or starting a conversation if it does not reach the public.

3. Tips to help students increase their online presence and brand

  • Get bylines out there and ensure that the content people find when they search your name is something you’re proud of.
  • Start a blog, YouTube channel or some other collection of your work to show off your creative ideas and best work.
  • Own your digital identity and keep it consistent across all platforms. Something professional with your name, initials or name+field is best for looking like you play in the big leagues and not in the sandbox.

Ok! Now I’m off to contemplate what to show to make this interesting.