Diary Week 1

I had a great experience returning to work in the Innovation News Center. During the Thursday afternoon shift for both parts of the semester, only one editing student will be in the INC. While this may be challenging at times, I think we will all gain a lot of experience due to our limited crew.

For the first half of the semester, I have the opportunity to work with Logan. It was refreshing that when I arrived about 10 minutes early, he was already sitting at one of the editing stations. During a previous semester, he worked for WRUF, so he had a good grasp of how the WordPress works.

As a result of not being in the INC since the Fall of 2012, today allowed me to get reacquainted with the equipment and platforms. I still had access to the old WUFT, so Matt assisted me in getting access to the new WUFT.

When I arrived for my shift, I discussed what Erica and her students had been working on. Two of her editing students had been working on a story about the hiring of full-time teachers in Marion County. Three different radio/telecommunication students had worked on the story, so many questions were left unanswered.

I instructed Logan to work on finishing this story. As a result of all the questions, I located the raw audio from Newsroom 4.5. Logan listened and transcribed the audio from both sources. While he worked on this, I periodically checked on his progress. He asked many great questions pertaining to proper quotation use and whether some excess information should be included.

For today, I completed the “In the News” for the afternoon portion. Next week, I am planning for Logan to do this because it is a good exercise in news judgment. During the semester I took editing, I continued to learn the best stories to exhibit in this section.

I also monitored the WUFT email for story ideas from other editing students. This was another task that put my news judgment to the test. One girl submitted a story idea pertaining to people’s New Year’s resolutions. I think Tripp sent the final response, but we discussed how this idea lacks a true news angle. A couple of students also came to the INC to drop off their contracts, so I had the chance to discuss possible story ideas with them. As we discussed in our lecture last night, I suggested checking out local Twitter accounts to see what is happening in surrounding communities.

Early on in my shift, Matt and one of the student news directors was discussing some new segments they are looking to try with the 6 p.m. news show. This includes having other people, including web reporters and editors, appear on air. Even though this week is serving as a practice, I had the chance to go on the air with anchors Steven Gallo and Lauren Rautenkranz. We discussed the story about the substitute teachers in Marion County. I asked Matt for some feedback, and he said I did a good job overall. However, I used my hands while speaking too much, which was a problem because of how the shot was set up. He also mentioned that I could get some suggestions from Bridget. This was my first time in front of a camera, and I really hope I can do this again in future weeks. I think this forum is a cool way to drive viewers to the website, while also showcasing the top web story of the day. In addition, I enjoyed collaborating with a new team of students I do not typically have classes with.

A snapshot of the script I worked on before the 6 p.m. news show:

Script for WUFT

I was given an example script to help me with formatting and flow.

In coming weeks, I hope to work more with other platforms. I think WUFT could use the Twitter account more, and I am going to try to do this during my shift. After tonight’s general body meeting, I also want to think of ways to use Google Glass. It would be interesting to see the perspectives of different people, such as a doctor helping people at a local clinic. How do they interact with people? This question and others could be answered.

Links to Work

In the News: Elected Officials Residency Requirements, First Woman President for FAMU, Virtual Visit Options for Alachua County Jail Inmates, Food Companies Cut Calories

Digg, the news aggregator, has been added since my last position in the INC. It sped up the process because I was able to see stories from news outlets throughout Florida, including those in Gainesville, Orlando and Miami. When creating the headline, I received helpful feedback from our teaching assistant. He explained how being concise is important, but he also stressed that the headline must also be used to give viewers a preview of the articles below. I noticed this especially with the story about the Alachua County Jail’s new program for at-home Internet video visits. When creating the tags for this section, I tried to keep search engine optimization in mind. With the story about the new president at Florida A&M University, I included both “FAMU” and “Elmira Mangum.” as tags. People look for stories from a variety of angles, so it is important to consider what viewers may type into their search engines.

Substitute teachers expected to be hired full time

The beginning of the semester is slow, so this was the main story both shifts focused on today. This story took a lot of extra time because there were many discrepancies. One reporter would say one thing, and another would contradict what the previous one said. I think all reporters and editors should make sure to leave behind helpful notes if their shift ends and the story is not complete. Logan did the initial edits on this story. He added several hyperlinks that really added to the story.

Here is the article after Logan made his edits:

Marion County Public Schools is expected to hire about 100 permanent substitutesas full-time teachers.

In an effort to cut spending, the school district started hiring first-time teachers as permanent substitutes beginning in 2008. These substitutes were paid $100, but they did not enjoy the perks associated with being full-time teachers, such as health benefits, according to Dr. R. Craig Ham, executive director of the Marion Education Association (MEA), a teachers union.

In February 2013, the MEA filed a complaint with the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission regarding the lack of pay and health benefits for permanent substitutes. A hearing officer dismissed the ruling at the end of June, but the whole commission ruled in favor of the MEA on October 29.

“We anticipate if all the teachers or many of the teachers — of substitute teachers — want to continue on a full-time capacity, it could cost upwards of a half a million dollars,” said Kevin Christian, the public relations and communication officer for Marion County. “That’s certainly a significant amount of money. We’ll just have to look for it in the budget; we’ll have to cut back in other areas even more than we already have to allocate funds for them.”

Christian said the school board is continuing to look for ways to cut district spending.

Marion County Public Schools are operating at a level that is exceeding capacity, but Christian said this was done to save the district money. He said the fine for having overcrowded classes was less than what it would cost to hire additional teachers. Christian said that this tactic saved the district between $6 and $7 million.

Ham said the school district’s cuts have cost it more money than it saved.

“You cannot merely retitle a teacher as a substitute and pay them less,” he said. “The district now will have to pay more money because they’re replacing these substitutes with real teachers.”

Currently, the district has about 100 permanent substitutes. Christian said he thinks most but not all will be hired as full-time instructors. Ham said that some may not be qualified to be hired.

“When they hire a regular teacher, those teachers have to be certified and highly qualified,” Ham said.  “Certified under the state and highly qualified under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which most people refer to as No Child Left Behind. Some of these people were not. Some of these people weren’t even able to get certified because they didn’t have a bachelor’s degree in a teachable subject.”

While the school district will have to spend more money to hire the substitutes, Christian said the cost is a part of education.

“The positive would be that we’re going to have fully certified full-time teachers in those capacities. The downside is it’s going to cost the district additional dollars, which are additional taxpayer dollars,” he said.

The school district plans to make the hires by Jan. 16.

Here is the article after editing was completed by Tripp and me. In addition to these changes, some sections were cut because they did not add to the overall message. I also checked the different hyperlinks to make sure they were active links. I caught a potential fact error with the date because the original authors had said Oct. 29, but it was supposed to be Oct. 28. Also, I added the year to provide further clarification.

Marion County Public Schools are expected to hire about 100 permanent substitutes as full-time teachers.

In an effort to cut spending, the school district started hiring first-time teachers as permanent substitutes beginning in 2008. These substitutes were paid $100 per day, but they did not enjoy the perks associated with being full-time teachers, such as health benefits, according to Dr. R. Craig Ham, executive director of the Marion Education Association (MEA), a teachers union.

In February 2013, the MEA filed a complaint with the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission regarding the lack of pay and health benefits for permanent substitutes. A hearing officer dismissed the ruling at the end of June, but the whole commission ruled in favor of the MEA on Oct. 28, 2013.

“We anticipate if all the teachers, or many of the teachers [of substitute teachers] want to continue on a full-time capacity, it could cost upwards of $500,000,” said Kevin Christian, the public relations and communication officer for Marion County. “That’s certainly a significant amount of money. We’ll just have to look for it in the budget; we’ll have to cut back in other areas even more than we already have to allocate funds for them.”

Marion County Public Schools are operating at a level exceeding capacity, but Christian said this was done to save the district money. He said the fine for having overcrowded classes was less than what it would cost to hire additional teachers. Christian said that this tactic saved the district between $6 and $7 million.

Instead of saving money, the school district’s cuts have added to costs, according to Dr. Ham.

“You cannot merely retitle a teacher as a substitute and pay them less,” he said. “The district now will have to pay more money because they’re replacing these substitutes with real teachers.”

Currently, the district has about 100 permanent substitutes. Christian said he thinks most, but not all, will be hired as full-time instructors. Ham said that some may not be qualified to be hired.

“When they hire a regular teacher, those teachers have to be certified and highly qualified,” Ham said.  “Certified under the state and highly qualified under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, which most people refer to as No Child Left Behind. Some of these people weren’t even able to get certified because they didn’t have a bachelor’s degree in a teachable subject.”

While the school district will have to spend more money to hire the substitutes, Christian said the cost is a part of education.

“The positive would be that we’re going to have fully certified full-time teachers in those capacities. The downside is it’s going to cost the district additional dollars, which are additional taxpayer dollars,” he said.

The school district plans to make the hires by Jan. 16.

Virginia Hamrick and Melissa Walpole contributed reporting.

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