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Big story


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How to cover the Big Story

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Big story

  1. 1. The Big Story Rachele Kanigel San Francisco State University ACP/CMA Summer Leadership & Management Conference
  2. 2. Types of Big Stories Natural disasters -- hurricane, earthquake, fire, tornado, flood Man-made disasters – terrorist act, major accident, serious crime Major campus stories – a high- ranking official or coach steps down, scandal, suicide, disease outbreak
  3. 3. Collegiate Times Virginia Tech
  4. 4. The Daily Toreador Texas Tech University
  5. 5. The Daily Collegian Penn State University
  6. 6. Before the event Assemble a staff contact list Develop a disaster plan Create a breaking news culture Create cooperative arrangements with other campus media
  7. 7. As the news breaks  Assemble a team  Staff the newsroom  Assign a rewrite person  Keep your readers in mind  Think visually
  8. 8. Think about SPEED and DEPTH
  9. 9. Report the news as it unfolds  Post alerts on Facebook, Twitter and your website as soon as you know something  Update website frequently  Post photos on Instagram  Stream video of events (press conferences, vigils, memorial events)
  10. 10. Use social media as a reporting tool Seek out sources on Facebook and Twitter Connect with experts on LinkedIn Seek photos on Flickr Put social media posts into context; confirm whenever possible
  11. 11. Plan a package  Think beyond a single story – break information into sidebars and infoboxes  If there’s a strong visual element, use multiple photos – in print, online or both  Use maps, timelines and other informational graphics to tell the story  Create a logo for the package  Include an index to direct readers
  12. 12. The Exponent Purdue University
  13. 13. The Daily Orange Syracuse University
  14. 14. Use interactive maps Encourage the staff to: Show the effects of a storm, earthquake, fire or other natural disaster on a campus or community Include photographs in the map Show the path of a gunman or other threat to the community Plot emergency shelters, first-aid centers, open stores and other services for victims
  15. 15. Use interactive features Encourage the staff to: Give the community discussion boards or other online vehicles to share information and to vent Set up or link to memorial sites for victims Create discussion topics on related issues -- Should gun laws be changed? Did the campus deal with the traumatic event responsibly? Allow people to share their experiences -- where were you when the big one hit?
  16. 16. Mobile formats Create news podcasts for people who don’t have consistent access to computers and/or electricity Establish a mobile alert system Think about how to link to users’ cell phones and iPods
  17. 17. Serve your community  Think about the problems this trauma has created and how technology can help solve them.  What voids can your news organization fill?  Collect and share useful information  Use new media to help people connect  Package your coverage so readers have a one- stop shop for information.
  18. 18. Following up  Assess your coverage  Brainstorm  Editorialize  Make space for letters  Ask why  Don’t drop the ball  Mark important anniversaries
  19. 19. Daily Bruin coverage the week after a major flood on campus
  20. 20. The Daily Wildcat’s project on gun violence on the 13th anniversary of a mass shooting.
  21. 21. Take care of your staff  Get help from campus counseling services  Let students talk through their feelings of covering a challenging story  Use the Dart Center for Journalism & Trauma resources at
  22. 22.
  23. 23. For more information on covering big stories
  24. 24. Rachele Kanigel rkanigel(at)gmail(dot)com @JourProf Contact