You still have time to make 2010-11 the best year on record and to try some new endeavors to improve your media operation. Here are 8 things you can try. That’s one a month for the rest of the school year.
1. Be excellent. Excellence isn’t settling for pretty good. Good enough is not good enough. Set goals to improve with each edition or deadline.
2. Put yourself in a position to be tell stories in the most-appropriate format. There’s really no excuse today for not having at least a basic website where you can post a PDF version of the printed paper. Ideally you update news throughout the school day. An online presence opens up a new universe of multimedia opportunities.
3. Get into social networking. Facebook andMySpace accounts are free. Connect with readers (and alumni, parents and community members) by asking for tips, photos, and letters. Expand your printed coverage with social bookmarking by posting links at a site like Delicious.com. Share photos via a site like Flikr.com.
4. Add multimedia. Sometimes, the most appropriate format to tell a story is with videos, slide shows, still images audio or text. Add these tools to your toolbox, so when you have a good story, you have multiple ways to cover it.
5. Start Tweeting. The microblogging site Twitter.com allows 140-character messages to be posted. These are great for simple updates and links to stories online. You can also follow people to get trend or news ideas and dearth by using a hashtag (a # and a word/phrase).
6. Follow the law. Obey copyright for images and audio. Search the Creative Commons-licensed photos on Flickr to see what is available for no charge, just the photo credit. Know privacy laws. Know your rights, especially if you live in a state that grants rights to student journalists.
7. Be the #1 source. Be serious about being the top information source for all things about your school. If someone wants to know a fact, score, date, time — whatever — be the place they turn to for that information. You can own sports stats, especially for non-varsity teams. Find out how good it feels to scoop the local paper.
8. Remember your role on campus. Regardless of the type of media you work with, your role on campus is to inform and enlighten your audience. You have a responsibility — an obligation, even — to take that seriously and to do it well. Your audience needs you to tell them the things no one else will tell them.