College Media

Advice from a few Pacemaker finalists

Although the Pacemaker finalists for 2009 are by no means the only college news sites doing innovative things, they must be doing something right to merit the ACP’s “highest honor.”  The following are a few tips from web editors of the winning sites:

On print
An effective way increase online traffic is to promote your website in the print edition of your paper, and entice readers to additional online content not found in the print version. This has been fairly effective for us. -Raeleen Badham, Webmaster, The Emery Weal

On social networks
Use as many tools as possible and embed! Everything is done on social networking sites now and why should college publications be any different? Be where your readers are. They are on a lot of these sites using them and it always helps when they see you are too. -Emily Kostic, Web editor, The Whit

On free multimedia tools
We’ve recently begun dabbling in interactive graphics using a site called Dipity. We’ve previously used Flash to produce interactive graphics, but Dipity gave us another cost-effective way to serve our readers with innovative media. -Kristen M. Daum, Editor in Chief, The State News

On yearbooks
Yearbooks are seen, much like newspapers, as an outdated and dying media. We have created our site and our Facebook page to try and modernize, promote interactivity and drum up interest in the content of the book as we work on it. We hand code the site, offer a blog, and update Facebook religiously. We funnel users from Facebook back to our Web site with photos and blog content. We also run campaigns throughout the year to raise page views. -Megan Garner, Co-Editor, 2009 Razorback (yearbook)

On YouTube
Whenever a professor made the suggestion to create a YouTube account, I hit myself over the head. Duh! Everybody else is using it, why not news organizations? Also: From what I’ve seen maps and timelines are really popular, usually much more popular then the stories themselves. So I would suggest exploiting those avenues as well. -Chris Essig, Assistant Online Editor, The Daily Eastern News

On free services
There are a lot of great services available for free and experimenting is key both to this time in our careers but also this period in the field of journalism. Try as much as possible and stick with what works. -Jasmine Linabary, Online Editor, The Whitworthian

Full disclosure: I am the online editor for the Mustang Daily, which is also a Pacemaker finalist.