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Skyline College Journalism Department News for Spring 2014

What’s new for the Skyline College Journalism Department? Lots.

For one, the campus publication, The Skyline View, now has the largest staff it’s ever had. That’s great news for the campus community (especially in a district where we now have only one student news publication).  A larger staff means more things get covered on campus.

Second, new Editor in Chief Aaron Washington is leading a has a terrific editorial board, with a beefed up multimedia staff.  This means more video, audio, and blogs. It also means more connections with the publication’s audience through Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

EIC Aaron Washington surveys The Skyline View newsroom during print production #3 on February 26, 2014.

EIC Aaron Washington surveys The Skyline View newsroom during print production #3 on February 26, 2014.

Third, TSV staffers and students from the other journalism courses will be heading to the Journalism Association of Community Colleges State Convention in Burbank, Calif. April 3-6.  This is California Community College’s version of the Super Bowl.  The team will compete in editorial contests, take multiple workshops from media professionals, and network like crazy.

Interested in what we do? Or want to pitch the staff a story idea? Stop by room 8110 any M, W or F. The editorial board would love to talk to you.  For specific positions, see below.

Editorial Board for The Skyline View for Spring 2014:

  1. Editor in chief:   Aaron
  2. Digital editor: Will Nacouzi
  3. Multimedia editor: Nico Triunfante
  4. Social media and blog editor: Shaquill Stewart
  5. News editor: Michelle Kelly
  6. Opinions editor: Steve Perotti
  7. Features editor:  Lea Naqishbendi
  8. Entertainment editor:  Ray Garcia
  9. Sports editor: Jordan Sweidan
  10. Chief copy editor: David Perez
  11. Production editor: Renee Abu-Zaghibra
  12. Photo/graphics editor: Josh Collier
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Feed the Beast: Finding Ideas to Write About

Personalizing your Google News can help you find story ideas.

Personalizing your Google News can help you find story ideas.

The Skyline View staff frequently runs into a problem that perhaps other staffs run into as well.  As in they are constantly trying to find ways to “feed the beast” that is their online and print publications, yet they frequently find themselves running out of fresh ideas.

What they haven’t yet learned is that ideas abound.  Every time they speak to another person, they have potential ideas staring at them in the face.  Sure, some staffers are better at this than others.  These staffers recognize stories when they come across them.  But others haven’t worked that muscle enough.

These ideas and resources can help:

  • If you have a Google account, personalize your news for several categories that pertain to your publication.  For example, TSV staffers add “California Community Colleges” to the categories they want to get news on when they are at the Google News page.
  • Follow up on stories you’ve already done.  Whatever happened to that professor who was signed up to bike across the U.S. for AIDS research? Did that fellow who was charged with car theft on campus ever get convicted? Every story can beget more stories.
  • Read other publications and localize the topics they cover.  Has another news site done a story on their campus’s readiness for a natural disaster? Take the story idea and find out what your campus is doing to prepare.
  • Make it a habit to read blogs like Higher Education News/Inside Higher Ed.  You’ll find out what the issues are on campuses across the U.S., many of which you can localize to your own campus publication.
  • Read 1 Million Story Ideas for Student Journalists.  ‘Nuff said.

Obviously, this is just scratching the surface on how to get story ideas.  How do you feed the beast?

The Skyline View Wins Awards at NorCal Conference

JACC NorCal 2013 Group PhotoOne of the best parts of being an adviser to The Skyline View is taking the students to conferences.  These conferences provide students a larger perspective on journalism, a clearer path to a journalism career, and specific training from generous professionals in the field who take time out of their busy lives to mentor our students.

And then there are the competitions.

While merely entering a contest is a win from the adviser’s standpoint–after all, the contests simulate the stress of writing on deadline while trying to do better than your colleagues, things we are trying to prepare the students to do–it also is nice to win.  Again, not the point, but when it happens, it feels good.

It felt good.

The Skyline View took home General Excellence for Online Journalism at the Journalism Association of Community Colleges NorCal Conference at Sac State on Sept. 21.  Rommel Conclara won third place for Video Journalism and first place, along with Alana VanZanten, for Web/Broadcast Journalism.  Kenny Martin picked up third place for Online Photo Story, and Justine Abellana clinched first place for Critical Review.

The New Staff of The Skyline View

Image

Upper row from left: Jordan Sweidan, Michelle Kelly, Will Nacouzi
Bottom row from left: Haider Mashal, Josh Collier, Reynaldo Garcia

Congratulations to the new editorial board of The Skyline View: 

  • Editor in chief: Will Nacouzi
  • News editor: Michelle Kelly
  • Opinions editor: Josh Collier
  • Features editor:  Haider Mashal
  • Entertainment editor: Jordan Sweidan
  • Sports editor: Reynaldo Garcia

These editors will lead the largest staff TSV has had to date.

ACP National College Journalism Convention: Feast of Ideas

Over here at Skyline College Journalism, we’ve been gorging on the buffet of journalism ideas from the 2013 ACP National College Journalism Convention.  While we cannot possibly give you the feast that Dan Reimold offered with his College Media Matters post, 100 Things I’m Learning at Journalism Interactive 2013: A Somewhat Live Blog, here are 10 things we learned and are hoping to implement, ranging from convergence journalism to page design to managing staff:

  1. Start an above-the-fold gallery.  We already have a front-page gallery in the Skyline View newsroom. But while we know readers don’t see the whole page until they pick up the paper, designers and editors need to be reminded of this.  Ron Johnson, Indiana University’s media director, suggests putting up just what you see above the fold. What happens to that front-page layout when you only see the top?
  2. Fire the bums. “Journoterrorist” Michael Koretzky doesn’t mess around. If you have a staff member who is missing deadlines, disrespecting people, and otherwise sucking the life out of the room, man up and fire him or her. Because if you don’t, he or she will bring down the rest of the staff. With the bad apple gone (and the example set), standards and expectations will be higher in the room.
  3. Implement a two-graf deadline.  Our reporters sometimes don’t make their deadlines.  Often those missed deadlines really mean the reporter hasn’t even gotten started.  Maybe he doesn’t know who to contact.  Maybe she is not clear what angle the story should take.  Rather than offer reporters more time, suggests Koretzky, offer them less.  Make them turn in the first two grafs shortly after you assign the story.  Two grafs is less intimidating than the whole first draft, and editors will see what the problems are upfront, be it an incoherent lead, a lack of an angle, or procrastination. Whatever it is, the editor can help sooner rather than on deadline.
  4. Run it big. We’ve always talked in the newsroom about the dominant art of the page being twice as big as the next piece of art.  However, sometimes staff gets a little gun shy about running photos big, mainly because our staff lacks photographers. (Hey, if you’re a photographer, come see us!) Ron Johnson’s answer to whether or not you should go big with photos that aren’t that good? Run ’em big anyway and one of two things will happen:  Either your less skilled photogs are going to strive to get better or your publication is going to attract more skilled photographers who see that your publication gives ample space to images. That’s win either way.
  5. Play, experiment, make mistakes (and then move on).   More than one speaker advised students to experiment with their design, story ideas, and the like, while in college.  Your job won’t allow the same freedom you have now to try new things, not just with how your publication looks, but with the kinds of stories you do. Politico’s Michelle Quinn, one of four keynote speakers over the weekend, likewise encouraged the audience to acknowledge when you’ve made a mistake and then move on.  Experiments and play have lead to new story-telling ideas, too:  Students heard from Hack/Hackers and Storify co-founder Burt Herman and animator/editorial cartoonist Mark Fiore, both of whom have taken traditional content to new places.
  6. Make friends with white space. Have you checked out Ron Johnson’s Tumblr page yet? (See hyperlink above.)  You’ll know why at least one adviser may be dreaming about page design.  White space gives your eyes a break, but it also highlights what you want readers to look at.  And you know what?  You do not have to run in the print paper every story that gets filed.
  7. Ask your readers.  More than one person talked about getting onto campus to ask students what they were thinking about, what was working on campus, and what they were struggling with.  Ask for two reasons:  First, you’ll get story ideas, and second, you’re more likely to produce stories that are actually going to get read.
  8. Go mobile.  Now.  Iowa State’s Charlie Weaver emphasized that it’s not just digital first, but MOBILE first.  On what device are you reading this blog post yourself?  (If you’re reading this online, we’d still wager your mobile device is nearby.) We need a mobile app for The Skyline View.  Look for it soon!
  9. Share ideas. Don’t steal things (specific page designs, quotes, etc.  Duh!).  But by all means, share with and be inspired by others. Look at good work.  Network with your fellow advisers or your fellow student journalists.  Together, you can solve a lot of the issues your publication faces.  
  10. Tap the experts. In the session conducted by SFSU’s Rachele Kanigel, we talked about bringing in experts not just for workshops, but also for things like critiques of the paper after publication.  Or take your students on a tour of the local city paper.  (On tour of the SF Chronicle, our students were able to sit in on one heck of an editorial meeting the day after the Virgina Tech massacre.  Some of the students even ended up in the paper.) One other way to tap the experts? Go to conventions like this one.  Delicious!

First Skyline View Print Edition of the Semester

TSV PDF Screen Shot

If you’ve been on campus lately, you may have noticed that the newspaper racks are once again full.  The staff came out with its first print edition of the semester last week.  It’s a solid 12-pager, and the new staff met its deadline despite some hiccups in preparing the PDF for the printer’s.

What if you aren’t on campus? Sure, you could (and should!) check out The Skyline View.  You’ll be able to keep up with all the latest campus news, especially since the newspaper strives to have a digital-first approach.

But what if you are interested in seeing what those on campus have actually picked up?  What is actually on the stands?  No problem.  The website posts the PDF of  every print edition.

Want more TSV? Check out archives of the paper at Issuu.com/theskylineview.

New Staff, New Opportunity

NCJC 2013Things are picking up steam in the newsroom.  We’ve got a fired up new staff, with returning staffers seasoned and ready to mentor.  We’ve been the lucky recipients of all new computers, upgrades to CS 6 and a new way to handle the workflow, Camayak. The students have already updated their website, The Skyline View, and some new staffers are eager to improve TSV’s video coverage.

The timing’s good for them to do so.  The staff will have the opportunity to attend two conferences this semester that are likely to help train them beyond the newsroom.  First, we’re lucky that the National College Journalism Convention is finally returning to San Francisco. Our students will get a chance to network with four-year college journalists.

But our “Superbowl” of conventions is the Journalism Association of Community Colleges State Convention which will be held in Sacramento this April.  Here, Skyline College journalists will be joined by over 550 community college journalists from California and beyond, with opportunities to compete in all sorts of journalism-related contests.

The students will be producing their first print issue of the semester, so look for it on the stands on Thursday.