Managing an Online First Newsroom


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Managing an Online First Newsroom

  1. 1. MANAGING anONLINE FIRST NEWSROOM School Newspapers Online
  2. 2. ONLINE FIRST MAKING IT WORK State of many high school news websites • They’re a repository for printed stories. • They’re where the bad stories are published. • They’re a storage place for print PDFs. • They’re only occasionally thought about. • Big stories are published only after the “big reveal” in print. • They don’t live up to their potential.
  3. 3. ONLINE FIRST MAKING IT WORK What if it didn’t have to be that way? • What if you didn’t have to wait until the next issue? • What if you needed to reach your audience instantly, 
 no matter where they were? • What if your audience wasn’t just your school? • What if you have real news to report? It can be different.
  4. 4. ONLINE FIRST MAKING IT WORK Online first gives you new opportunities. • Breaking news and emergencies • Developing stories • Sports game coverage • Movie and music reviews • Opinions
  5. 5. ONLINE FIRST MAKING IT WORK Your publication is no longer a newspaper. • It’s a news program. • It’s news beyond the paper. • It’s time to change your language. • Issues/Editions • Archives • Section Names
  6. 6. ONLINE FIRST MAKING IT WORK Your audience expands beyond school walls • Students • Teachers and school staff • Parents • Community • The World
  7. 7. ONLINE FIRST MAKING IT WORK What do you need to do to be online first? • Commit. • Build the audience. • Have a writing/editing/classroom structure.
  8. 8. ONLINE FIRST MAKING IT WORK You’re committed. You know what is needed. So how do you do it?
  9. 9. ONLINE FIRST MAKING IT WORK Students will be in different points of the production schedule daily. And that’s OK.
  10. 10. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM In the same way you must adapt the tools to work on the Web, you must adapt the classroom.
  11. 11. ONLINE FIRST MAKING IT WORK Rethink the story cycle • With an online-first attitude, there is no “cycle.” • You can make every day a story idea day. • You can make every day a publication day. • A story might take three weeks or three hours to produce.
  12. 12. ONLINE FIRST MAKING IT WORK Take advantage of what the Web offers • Publishing is instantaneous. • Stories can be published when they are ready — 
 not when the print cycle dictates. • Content can be the length that is appropriate —
 not cut or expanded to fit space. • Storage is not an issue — lots of photos or multimedia.
  13. 13. ONLINE FIRST MAKING IT WORK Take advantage (continued) • Stories can be updated or corrected easily as new information is gathered. • A story can be a springboard for exploration with links to additional content and related stories.
  14. 14. ONLINE FIRST MAKING IT WORK Build the audience. • Establish a reputation: Be the #1 news source in your school. • Deliver relevant content. Timeliness makes content relevant. • How do readers know you’ve posted a new story? • Browsing • Email updates/RSS • Social media
  15. 15. ONLINE FIRST MAKING IT WORK Engage with readers via social media. • Build your social media networks. • Post to social media. Avoid the auto-post plugin. • Time your posts. • Get readers to distribute content they like or want to promote. • Listen to your readers with social media. • Find sources and story ideas on social media.
  16. 16. ONLINE FIRST MAKING IT WORK Start looking at design differently • Story page design is consistent, putting focus on content. • Contextual linking • Embeddable elements • Multiple photos and video • Rethink your home page. Rethink the carousel. • Design and structure can vary to fit the circumstances
  17. 17. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM What do teachers and students need to do
 to accommodate 
 Web publishing?
  18. 18. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM 5 things to think about and address: • Day-to-day activities • Leadership structures • Coverage decisions • Grading • Fun
  20. 20. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Day-to-day Activities • The daily activities of an online-first news staff look a lot like the daily activities of a print-only class. • However, each student could be at a different place in the publishing process. • You can bring order to the chaos.
  21. 21. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Day-to-day Activities • Brainstorm and plan stories. Have a quick session daily. What’s happening? What do readers need to know? • Teach lessons. Large-group, mini-lessons, ad hoc. • Focus on the day’s priority. If it’s the print edition, spend time on design, editing.
  22. 22. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Day-to-day Activities • Communicate beyond classroom. Develop a method to facilitate organization and communication. • One-on-one checkins. These add accountability and opportunity to redirect student efforts. • Outside class. Coverage might require evenings, weekends and layout work nights (for print).
  24. 24. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Leadership Structures • Accommodate the online-first philosophy by revising student leadership positions and descriptions. • Empower students to make decisions responsibly. • Plan for when big news happens.
  25. 25. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Leadership Roles • Online Editor-in-Chief option. A student with a title and responsibilities equal to the print editor. • Expanded roles option. Assignment role for managing editor and additional coordinating for photographers/photo editors must be expanded. • Social media coordinator. This person supervises adoption, policies, training and voice via social media channels.
  27. 27. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Coverage Decisions • Determine the best platform. Some stories are told better in print, while others are told better online (or will appear first online). • Post when it’s ready. Don’t just dump content on the website every three or four weeks.
  28. 28. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Coverage Decisions Use a planning process: • Which stories will appear in print? Online? Both? • How can online and print combine to create multimedia coverage? • How can you tell advance and follow-up stories using both platforms? Live coverage?
  29. 29. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Coverage Decisions Discuss the Web-specific elements: • What components does a Web story need to be effective at telling the story: • photos • video • audio • poll • hyperlinks • infographic • pull quote • related stories
  30. 30. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Coverage Decisions Establish timelines and deadlines: • Set up an editing process that allows for students to finish and publish work at different times, not just the general deadline for a print issue. • What deadlines make sense?
  31. 31. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Coverage Decisions Determine the editing flow: • You need a tool that allows you to collaborate in real time. • This speeds up the editing process. • Google Drive (Apps/Docs) is great for this.
  32. 32. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Coverage Decisions Determine the publishing flow: • Users can have different roles with levels of permission and responsibility. • Have reporters place story in draft mode, including contextual links and pull quote suggestions. • Once a story is edited, it can be approved and published.
  33. 33. GRADING
  34. 34. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Grading • You will likely need to shift your paradigm for grading. • You might need to try a few different formats until you find what works for you and your school.
  35. 35. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Grading • Assignments will have many forms. How do you accommodate this in grading? • Your school may have requirements. Work within them. • Set up a checklist of requirements to earn grades. • Determine competency levels and grade based on level. • Establish production quota for quarter/semester.
  36. 36. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Grading • What happens when students slack off, flake out or just don’t produce? • There are tools to help. CSPA, NSPA, JEA, state associations, your colleagues.
  37. 37. FUN
  38. 38. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Fun • The production cycle doesn’t have the same ebb and flow as each printed paper, so you will need to build in time to celebrate, evaluate, bond and grow. • Incorporate Web milestones (analytics, hits, likes, retweets) into the celebration list.
  39. 39. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Managing online first
 takes some work
 and an open mind.
  40. 40. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM The great journalism
 you produce will
 look different.
  41. 41. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM You’re using today’s technology and laying a foundation for the future.
  42. 42. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM You’ll teach your students (or your peers) to adapt to changing circumstances.
  43. 43. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Take the leap!
  44. 44. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM Ready to jump in?
  45. 45. MANAGING an ONLINE NEWSROOM QUESTIONS? Let’s hear ’em. • Contact me at or @schoolnewspaper • School Newspapers Online • Visit our table in a convention exhibitor area ?