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25 Ways to Build an Award-Winning Newspaper

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Win awards

  1. 1. 25 Ways to Build an Award-Winning Newspaper Rachele Kanigel San Francisco State University [email_address]
  2. 2. Why should you care about awards? <ul><li>They </li></ul><ul><li>Boost staff morale </li></ul><ul><li>Help you land jobs and internships </li></ul><ul><li>Attract staffers to your newspaper </li></ul><ul><li>Help establish your newspaper’s credibility </li></ul><ul><li>May keep critical administrators at bay </li></ul>
  3. 3. To win awards you must: <ul><li>Put out a great publication </li></ul><ul><li>Innovate </li></ul><ul><li>Be a leader </li></ul><ul><li>Be bold and creative </li></ul><ul><li>and ….. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>ENTER CONTESTS! </li></ul>
  5. 5. 1. Train your staff <ul><ul><ul><li>Train staffers in all aspects of putting out the newspaper -- design, photography, online, writing, reporting, editing. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Incorporate team-building and leadership-development exercises. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Invite professionals from the local media to lead sessions. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  6. 6. 2. Network with the pros <ul><li>Join professional organizations like SPJ, ACES, NAHJ, NABJ, IRE, NPPA, local press clubs and other organizations (many offer discounts to students) </li></ul><ul><li>Host professional meetings </li></ul><ul><li>Attend professional conventions and conferences </li></ul>
  7. 7. 3. When news breaks pull out all the stops <ul><li>Prepare your staff for a big story </li></ul><ul><li>Think about multiple angles </li></ul><ul><li>Think beyond a single story -- plan for sidebars, multiple stories, graphics, photos </li></ul>
  8. 8. 4. Use public records <ul><li>Hunt for: </li></ul><ul><li>Lawsuits </li></ul><ul><li>Accreditation reports </li></ul><ul><li>Police records </li></ul><ul><li>Audit reports </li></ul>
  9. 9. An investigative story by The Daily at the University of Washington on the university president’s salary helped the newspaper win a Pacemaker in 2010
  10. 10. 5. Teach your reporters to mine their sources. <ul><li>The best stories come from live sources, not public information officers or press releases </li></ul><ul><li>Have reporters cover beats </li></ul><ul><li>Train them how to develop sources </li></ul>
  11. 11. 6. Beef up your online edition <ul><li>Post Web-exclusive content </li></ul><ul><li>Break news online </li></ul><ul><li>Create photo galleries </li></ul><ul><li>Publish documents related to stories </li></ul>
  12. 12. After the 2007 shooting at Virginia Tech the Collegiate Times published a police report on an earlier incident involving the man who shot 32 people on campus.
  13. 13. 7. Make use of new technology <ul><li>Social media </li></ul><ul><li>Live blogging </li></ul><ul><li>Multimedia slide shows </li></ul><ul><li>Video </li></ul><ul><li>Interactive graphics </li></ul>
  14. 14. 8. Think about a redesign <ul><li>If your paper is looking tired, consider a new look. </li></ul><ul><li>Look at design books, magazines, other newspapers for inspiration. </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>Striking, innovative design helps El Don at Santa Ana College win Pacemaker awards year after year </li></ul>
  16. 16. 9. Take a stand <ul><li>Fight -- and write -- for what you believe in </li></ul><ul><li>Back up a strongly worded opinion piece with facts </li></ul><ul><li>Make a compelling argument </li></ul>
  17. 17. 10. Look for the unusual <ul><li>Writers, photographers and multimedia producers should always be on the lookout for the fresh angle, the unusual story </li></ul>
  18. 18. <ul><li>Nathan Lau of San Francisco State University won a College Photographer of the Year award for this unusual sports action shot </li></ul>
  19. 19. 11. Push projects <ul><li>Go beyond day-to-day coverage with: </li></ul><ul><li>Special projects </li></ul><ul><li>Series </li></ul><ul><li>Special sections </li></ul><ul><li>Enterprise stories </li></ul>
  20. 20. <ul><li>Golden Gate Xpress at San Francisco State University won a Pacemaker in 2010, a year when the paper ran a number of projects. </li></ul>
  21. 21. 12. Package stories well <ul><li>Use: </li></ul><ul><li>Display type </li></ul><ul><li>Graphics </li></ul><ul><li>Sidebars </li></ul><ul><li>A logo </li></ul><ul><li>Info boxes </li></ul>
  22. 22. 13. Set up an investigative team <ul><li>Send the team to an IRE conference for training, ideas and inspiration. </li></ul><ul><li>Invite an investigative reporter from the local media to act as a mentor </li></ul><ul><li>Bring in experts to speak about public records searches and computer-assisted reporting. </li></ul>
  23. 23. 14. Encourage specialty reporting <ul><li>Look for specialty reporting contests from: </li></ul><ul><li>Religion Newswriters Association </li></ul><ul><li>Institute for Humane Studies </li></ul><ul><li>National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association </li></ul><ul><li>Fund for American Studies </li></ul>
  24. 24. 15. Develop your talent <ul><li>Don’t let your best reporters,photographers, designers, editorial cartoonists and columnists settle for being just the best on your staff. </li></ul><ul><li>Urge them to go the extra mile to become the best in the state -- or the nation. </li></ul>
  25. 25. 16. Dare to be different <ul><li>The professional press may not be able to afford to go out on a limb. You can. </li></ul>
  26. 26. 16. Pay attention to ledes <ul><li>Busy judges often make snap decisions in the first paragraph of a story. </li></ul><ul><li>If your lede doesn ’t grab them, they may not read any further. </li></ul>
  27. 27. 17. Sweat the small stuff <ul><li>Pay attention to details large and small. Misspelled words, headlines that don’t make sense and punctuation errors can put you in the reject pile before you can say “Oops!” </li></ul>
  28. 28. 18. Be creative <ul><li>Try a new approach. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t let yourself get hemmed in by tradition or template. </li></ul>
  29. 29. The Indiana Daily Student won first place for Editorial/Opinion Page in the Best of Collegiate Design contest in 2009 for this opinion page.
  30. 30. 19. Review the competition <ul><ul><ul><li>Look at previous winners from the </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>competitions you enter. Read judges’ </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>notes. Analyze what made the winning </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>pieces succeed. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  31. 32. 20. If you’ve got a good story, tell it <ul><li>Use personal experiences to craft compelling narratives. </li></ul>
  32. 33. <ul><li>Thor Nystrom of the University Daily Kansan won a Rolling Stone magazine award for a first-person account of his struggle with ADHD and mental illness </li></ul>
  33. 34. <ul><li>Caitlin Johnson of Indiana University won a Hearst award for an opinion piece on her brother’s service in Iraq and Afghanistan </li></ul>
  34. 35. 21. Tell important stories <ul><ul><ul><li>Look for meaty stories with impact and depth. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Recent winners of ACP Story of the Year and Hearst awards covered such issues as undocumented immigrants, date rape, homelessness, sexual assault </li></ul></ul></ul>
  35. 36. 22. Plan to compete <ul><ul><ul><li>At the beginning of each term obtain or </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>create a list of the major state and </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>national competitions and their </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>deadlines. Write the deadlines on your </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>calendar. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  36. 37. 23. Put someone in charge of contests <ul><li>Make sure that a person or committee announces competitions at least a month before the deadline. Don't leave this to the last minute -- postmark deadlines are usually strict! </li></ul>
  37. 38. 24. Hand out your own awards <ul><li>Don't wait for the outside world to give your staff recognition. Honor your own staff. </li></ul><ul><li>And don’t wait for the end of the term; do it weekly. </li></ul>
  38. 39. 25. Enter contests <ul><li>Remember, i f you don’t enter you can’t win. </li></ul>