Posts Tagged ‘New Media’

This is a guest post written by John Timpe, the Center for Student Media adviser at the University of North Florida, a position which includes oversight of the UNF Spinnaker.  He briefly outlines an innovative solution to the “Top News” conundrum faced by many student and professional media online.

At some of the metro newspapers I worked at, editors often posted stories themselves. The placement/prominence on the website for those stories depended on how an editor filled out a field with a “score.”  The score usually went from 1 to 5.  As you might imagine, most editors rated everything their team did as a 5.

Periodically, a manager would come through to encourage editors to be more deliberative with the scoring. That would last for about two weeks.  So the net result was that “Top Stories” on a website would degenerate into what got posted most recently. The only solution would be for a “sweeper” online editor to come through periodically and clean things up.

When Pat Moore, one of our summer digital editors, worked with the unfspinnaker.com redesign, he wanted to avoid this problem. As with most student media, the kind of manpower required to clean things up on a regular basis, especially at night, over weekends, and during the summer just doesn’t exist.

So he created a concept that would allow an editor to launch each story with a score, but over time, the audience could override that score with their clicks.  His concept would allow the site to calculate the clicks for a story relative to the overall clicks the site experiences. The time since initial posting also would factor in.

Pat and his counterpart, Joe Basco, then underwent the challenge of challenges at a four-year public university: finding a student database programmer who knows enough to create an algorithm, program within WordPress, etc.– for the wages student media pay.

Good student database programmers get great jobs on the side at companies such as Blue Cross/Blue Shield.  So the Spinnaker Digital department made some sacrifices in hours in other places, upped the hourly salary rate, found a good programmer in Aleksey Charapko, and turned him loose.

He made Pat’s concept a reality, and it’s live now under “Top News” at unfspinnaker.com.

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Princeton University president Shirley Tilghman’s announcement about her impending retirement sent The Daily Princetonian into overdrive over the weekend.  It began with an all-staff email from editor-in-chief Henry Rome.  Subject line, all caps: “BREAKING ALL HANDS ON DECK.”

What happened next, according to an editor’s note from Rome posted this morning: “Over the span of 12 hours, a team of 19 editors and 19 staffers aggressively covered the story from all angles in all media, from print to video to social media.  Staff from across campus converged on the newsroom to write 11 full-length articles or columns and publish more than 40 tweets and Facebook posts. In addition, we shot a video, created an interactive timeline and searched through all of the Prince photo archives to find old photos of Tilghman.”

Some of the content Rome mentions was featured in a special issue published and distributed across campus on Sunday, the day after the announcement.  In a staff editorial in that issue, the Prince declared, “President Tilghman’s tenure has been characterized by an impressive list of accomplishments and frank discussions of the challenges Princeton has faced. We commend President Tilghman for her dedicated service to this University and believe that her tenure, while not without setbacks and missteps, was a success.”

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Daily Princetonian to Stop Using Email Quotes in News Stories, Except in ‘Extraordinary Circumstances’

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As I’ve posted previously, the story of the month so far: college memes.  Campus-specific memes are suddenly invading the Facebook streams of students at schools throughout the U.S., Canada, and parts of Europe.

A rash of student media reports and social media chatter confirm that undergraduates’ online experiences are now hovering between “meme madness” and full-blown “meme mania.” Last Friday, Syracuse University sophomore Bob O’Brien tweeted, “The ‘College Meme Page’ frenzy is unlike anything I can remember on Facebook. Seems every school is discovering it at once.”

Below is a small sampling of memes posted in the past two weeks on college meme Facebook pages.  My personal favorite: the “Lion King” spoof posted recently on Mizzou Memes.  (Related: See my post offering a growing list of all college and university Facebook meme pages.)

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College and University Meme Pages: A Starter Guide

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As I confirmed in a post yesterday, campus-specific memes are suddenly invading the Facebook streams of students at schools nationwide.  Building on its general popularity in recent years as a quick-hit form of entertainment and commentary, the Internet meme has gone explosively viral among the student set since the start of the month.

Below is a screenshot sampling of roughly 50 school-specific memes pages. Click on the title or screenshot to further explore each page.

Yale Memes

Yale University

Penn State Memes

Penn State University

BU Memes

Boston University

University of North Dakota Memes

University of North Dakota

Northeastern University Memes

Northeastern University

Purdue University Memes

Purdue University

F–

Ohio University Memes

Ohio University

University of Maryland Memes

University of Maryland

Rutgers Memes

Rutgers University

UTexas Memes

University of Texas at Austin

University of Minnesota Memes

University of Minnesota

University of Wisconsin Memes

University of Wisconsin

Brandeis Memes

Brandeis University

Temple University Memes

Temple University

Mizzou Memes

University of Missouri

UCSB Memes

University of California, Santa Barbara

Iowa State University Memes

Iowa State University

Concordia University Memes

Concordia University

BYU Memes

Brigham Young University

University of Oregon Memes

University of Oregon

Drexel University Memes

Drexel University

University of Illinois Memes

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

UMass Memes

University of Massachusetts Amherst

Elon Memes

Elon University

Lewis University Meme

Lewis University

Tufts Memes

Tufts University

Binghamton Memes

Binghamton University

UARK Memes

University of Arkansas

Lewis & Clark Memes

Lewis & Clark College

LSU Memes

Louisiana State University

Oneonta Memes

SUNY Oneonta

College of Wooster Memes

College of Wooster

BGSU Memes

Bowling Green State University

NGCSU Memes

North Georgia College & State University

Bama Memes

University of Alabama

USC Memes

University of Southern California

UCLA Memes

University of California, Los Angeles

Johns Hopkins Memes

Johns Hopkins University

Texas A&Memes

Texas A&M University

The College Hill Troll Community – Br.U.Mad?

Brown University

Duke Memes

Duke University

Cambridge Memes

Cambridge University

ASU Memes

Arizona State University

Bates Memes

Bates College

SU Memes

Syracuse University

Boise State University Memes

Boise State University

University of Vermont Memes

University of Vermont

UM Memes

University of Miami

To confirm, this is a starter list.  I am absolutely interested in memes pages serving additional schools.  Comment, email or tweet ASAP with a link and I’ll add it to the list.  The only rule: The page must be achieving some level of ‘likes’-driven popularity.

College Media Matters

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In a recent front-page story, The Orion at California State University, Chico, focused on the odd, increasingly addictive practice of “edit[ing] everyday images to look old-fashioned.”  The app that has made such immediate aging possible: Instagram.  Its ease of use and convenient sharing capabilities have made it a huge hit since its launch, raising related questions about its relative artistic merits and the ethics of altering what has been snapped.

One interesting Instagram idea the Orion embraced: some photos featured in the paper were adapted via the app, giving readers a glimpse at what various campus spots might have looked like in the “sepia-toned, Polaroid-infused days of yore.”

In a related piece, Orion features editor Ben Mullin explains how the app has enabled pictures to be saved from the almost-too-perfect digital photography landscape.  It is one of the more interesting pieces I’ve read so far this month.

As he writes at one point, “I threw my hands in the air and declared Instagram a fad until I was forced to consider the pictures more closely.  Faded around the edges. Tinted with unnatural greens and blues. A little too dark to be real.  Instagram is not the perfect visual representation of reality that our high-resolution cameras have led us to believe in. An Instagram photo forces us to consider everyday images as they aren’t by putting them into a different light that we each get to pick. . . . In a snapshot, Instagram has showed us that a picture can be worth a thousand more words if we stop and age it 100 years.”

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The latest student-specific anonymous sharing site is TerpSecret.  Geared toward University of Maryland students, the tagline states simply: “Pour Your Heart Out. Or Just Talk Sh*t. Whatever Works.

It crossed The Washington Post‘s radar at the start of the month.  As a WP blog post explains, “[L]aunched by University of Maryland sophomore Sarah Tincher . . . TerpSecret allows UMd students– or really anyone– to anonymously share secrets about their lives.  Students can click on a page, enter their name (or fake name), e-mail address (or fake e-mail address) and type up a secret. Tincher then posts the secrets for mass brooding.”

Here is a screenshot sampling of TerpSecret posts:

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Sixteen months after its launch, national online student news-and-views outlet NextGen Journal is growing and continuing to innovate.  As the site’s founder and editor-in-chief Connor Toohill writes in a recent update:

“[O]ur team has grown from about 15 to over 180 staffers, reporters, editors, and contributors.  That’s enabled us to cover major events in detail, from the death of Osama bin Laden to the debt ceiling debate to (more recently) the Iowa caucuses.  Along the way, we’ve begun interviews with major figures- including Jon Huntsman, Mitch Daniels, and Chris Van Hollen last semester alone– with questions coming from students across the country.  We’ve even had the chance to talk about our coverage and our overall efforts in other outlets, like on MSNBC.  Our primary goal remains the same: to provide a platform for our generation, vaulting our voices, perspectives, and priorities into the national conversation.”

One of the most interesting additions being rolled out is “Make a Pitch,” an open call to students seeking to submit “a really unique perspective on a particular issue.”  It is apparently part of NextGen’s efforts to further engage with its student base.

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