College Media / Conferences / innovation / Tech Talk

CMA NYC13: Gettin’ Digi with It presentation

do you even link?

The new mascot of the online college media adviser.

This weekend, I got to present at the College Media Association National College Media Convention in New York City. This is the handout I made for the session.

I have come to despise 50-minute PowerPoint-driven talks, so this time, I tried something different: I made a few opening remarks and then began asking the audience about their online productions. I said, “I’m here to help you, and I can’t help you with a PowerPoint lecture.”

It was a good discussion, I think. You can read more about it from this student’s perspective.

I began with some tips. I didn’t count them, because I hate listicles. Here they are:


You do not have to be a web geek to do this!

The biggest misconception is still that online media is complicated. Many of the tools that are available these days are no more complicated than uploading content to Facebook or Youtube.

Plan ahead

If you wait until the end of the story process, you’ll have weak online content. It’s as simple as that. When you’re assigning a story, or pitching a story, the online content should be included in the discussion then.

Start at the beginning!

This is sort of a repetition of the previous point, because it’s so essential. Start collecting content for your online components at the same time you’re collecting information for your story.

Think beyond online updates when breaking news occurs (How can I play this story forward?)

It’s easy to get into this mindset: “I tweeted out updates about a breaking news event and posted photos on the site right away, so I’m doing well online.” No, you’re doing the minimum. To do well, you should be thinking about the next step in a breaking news story. Reach into your tool chest and pull out something bigger than the Twitter machine.

Ask these questions:

  • What could I do online that I can’t do in print/broadcast?
  • What is most essential for people to understand about this topic?
  • Have I done the least for online first? (Hyperlinks)
  • How long will this take?
  • What information do I need to add to this story?
  • Who do I need to ask for help to tell this story?
  • What resources will I need to complete an online addition?

That’s one side of the handout. The other includes a list of links to some free online tools, some new and some older. Here’s the list, which I organized by the 5W’s and H, because it helps me to choose which tool would be best used for certain stories.


Spundge –
Storify –
RebelMouse –
Scout –
Muckety –


coveritlive –
scribblelive –
liveblogpro –


Dipity –
Xtimeline –
TimelineJS –


Google Maps –
Open Street Map –


Many Eyes – –
Google Fusion Tables –


Vine –


Storyplanet – (No longer operating)
Zeega –
Thinglink –
Tapestry –