ideas / innovation

College online media checklist for a new year

Students are returning to campus for the new year. No doubt, the college journalists on your campus are excited to get back to putting out a product for the community. As I’ve done a couple of times in the past, I’m putting out this checklist of things to consider for your online presence.

  • Have you got your news org. online?
  • Do you have a content management system?
  • Have you posted any videos online?
  • Have you included any audio soundbites in a story?
  • Have you done a photo slideshow?
  • Have you put up an audio slideshow (perhaps using Soundslides)?
  • Have you used a map to highlight the location of a story?
  • What about a timeline?
  • Have you used weblogs on your site?
  • Have you uploaded source documents (PDFs, excel spreadsheets, etc.) to accompany a big story?
  • Have you used social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) to market your stories?
  • Have you tracked what others are saying about you via Google Blogsearch?
  • Have you used the web site to post breaking news online FIRST?
  • Have you moved the online editor out of the back office and into a position of authority?
  • Have you allowed comments on your stories?
  • Have you encouraged writers to write for the Web and include hyperlinks in their stories?
  • Are you selling ads for your online site?
  • Have you tried something experimental?

Obviously, I don’t expect you to be doing all of these at once if you’re not doing them now. But if you’re doing some of them (you have a site online, congratulations!), maybe it’s time to consider adding to your online toolbox.

Remember, your online presence doesn’t replace your print edition, but it adds depth to the stories you publish. Point people to your online site. Encourage them to “like” your Facebook page. Tweet and respond to people who tweet back to your Twitter presence.

If you’re short-staffed, pick one thing and try that for a semester. See how much you can build that one thing into a reliable skill for your student journalists. If it doesn’t work, try another thing. Above all, keep pushing.