Regional Media Championships: Roanoke (10/6/15)

On October 6th, I went on my first Newsstreak field trip. I had a lot of fun on this trip because I learned so many helpful tips, conversed about the classes with my friends that were there as well, and the food wasn’t too bad either, which never hurts.

I took the classes Only Human, Using Social Media to Expand Coverage, How to Use your DSLR, 50 Tips to Improve your Website, and Caption Writing and more.

The one I favored the most was probably Only Human because it focused on Brandon Stanton and his journalism. I have been following him on Instagram for over a year and I am in love with his work. It was wonderful to see how he actually does it, to learn from him and see why and how he gets stories from everyone. Everyone has a story, just like the Newsstreak website says. I fell even more in love with him through this class and the tips and tricks I learned were so helpful because that is the kind of journalism I want to do. I want to find people’s stories, the ones they are dying to tell. The emotional ones, with heartbreak and jealousy and happiness and sorrow and failure and success and those are the stories I love to write and capture most. The ones I want to tell.

Using Social Media to Expand Coverage was extremely helpful also because I learned it’s okay to have a voice and you should take advantage of it. I did my First Five presentation on this and I will have it typed down below at the end of this post.

How to use your DSLR wasn’t as helpful as I hoped it would be. I had spent hours researching cameras a few weeks before this conference, so most everything discussed I had already learned. I did discover this camera simulator, though, and I am excited to use that more. I also got to learn a bit more about white balance and brush up on a few topics that had slipped my mind. Honestly though, I wish I had gone to this other class about empowering controversial coverage because I struggle with writing controversial topics when I have to and I learn much from the DSLR class. At least I was reassured that when I get my DSLR, I will know enough about it.

50 Tips to Improve your Website was a good class, but it didn’t help me much because I don’t influence the website. The class was more for an Online Editor-in-Chief rather than a reporter, but it was good to learn about the make-up of the website a little bit more.

Caption Writing was a great class to take because I had a hard time writing captions in the past and now that I know all of the rules and tricks, I feel much more confident in my caption-writing skills.

Overall, I had such a fun time on this field trip and can’t wait for the next one I take part in. Plus, the chocolate cake was really yummy!

Here are my First Five presentation points. I am planning to elaborate much, much more when I am talking, but these points are the general idea.

Know your limits

  • Not spread out personally, not ready to dive head-first
    • Twitter scared me half to death
  • Beginning, stay in comfort zone
  • After, focus on one new thing
  • Take your time and concentrate
  • Get tips
  • Master one, then move on.

Get in front

  • Show them the action
    • Updates are great but have good pictures too.
    • They can’t get the view you can.
  • Post live, promote beforehand
    • Don’t overwhelm, ex. 4-6 tweets per hour
    • Gain a lot of followers
  • You see better too. Get a better description
    • Sensory details, action verbs.
    • Word paint, especially if no pictures

Ways to interest

  • Takeovers! Let people have new perspective
  • Trend Events – connect to what’s popular (know what they love)
    • #wcw #tbt, the regular ones, but also #caturday #starwarstuesday
    • We can start new trends too
  • Reaction Photos
    • School being canceled, Promposals, etc.

Twitter tip: the limit (I had an example of this on my presentation)

Everyone dreads the Twitter Character Limit.

Instead of cutting down your quote….

  • Insert it into a JPEG
    • Have the picture on the side, collage
    • Text can be linked to the website

Have a voice (I had a funny tweet as an example)

  • Take advantage of skill
  • Make posts unique
    • Still professional, but have own spin on it
  • Don’t take away quality, but give variety
    • Never trade quantity for quality
  • Promotion will come naturally

That’s it. Thanks for reading!



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