After hearing from the various web producers about students forgetting about their shifts, I was nervous about my INC shift today. Erica spoke to Dr. Dodd’s students, so I came in a few minutes early. I was greatly impressed by her two web producers. They asked me some great questions, including WUFT’s best practices for hyperlinks and tags.
I was pleased when my new web producer arrived a few minutes early. Even though he has had issues getting his stories published, he came in with a positive attitude. I began by giving him the background to In the News. I also showed him where the tutorial is located on the Intranet. The first week usually takes a little longer, but I was impressed with his selections. He chose important stories, and his descriptions required very little editing.
Today’s shift was odd in terms of story submissions because it served as a bonus week. I smiled when I saw how Logan, my web producer from the first half of the course, had already submitted an article.
I have been noticing some issues with stories placed in the WordPress. Major holes and issues with transitions seem to be commonplace. However, I am worried that this is not always the reporter’s fault. I contacted one reporter, Hannah Morse, about her story pertaining to development in Hawthorne because I was so confused after initially reading it over.
She answered various questions that Erica sent to her during the morning shift, but I was still having trouble following the story. When I asked her to make her edits based on a new draft I copied and pasted from the WordPress, she was concerned about segments that had been cut. I hope the web producer protocol will help with this issue. While we want web producers to make adjustments, critical aspects of the story should NEVER be cut without consulting the reporter. This creates a chaotic situation that wastes time.
I am excited about upcoming changes that are coming for the WUFT 6 p.m. show. I ran into Julian and Wade before ethics yesterday, and we discussed the vision Bridget has for the show, which will include five to six in-depth sections instead of a rundown of 15 or more short blurbs.
As part of this venture, they are looking for people to do research and background for these in-depth pieces. I feel like this would be a perfect job for editing students. Content creators or web producing students could sign up for a story topic and perform research for a story. Extra credit could possibly be used as an incentive. We discussed how it could be a great collaboration to match up the journalism students with the telecommunication students.
Today, I discussed the flood-tracking story on the 6 p.m. news show. With the announcement this week about the inclusion of reporting in the telecommunication curriculum, I look forward to these two programs working together on more projects in the future.
It was aggravating that stories came in from people toward the end of my shift. I hate leaving anything undone, which contributed to Tripp and I being at the INC until 9 p.m. two weeks ago. However, I always make an effort to leave everything in the best possible shape before I leave. This is why I leave helpful notes on the top of each story that is nearing the publishing stage, as well as sending a summary email to Tripp and Haley.
It was awesome to see Logan getting ahead. You always emphasize how we should start with the news. His story originally began by saying “Over the past 14 years…” In order to get to the point, I changed it to active voice that highlighted how this loss was occurring at Ocala National Forest. In addition, I edited out some contractions, including “Standard replacement fires don’t burn” to “Standard replacement fires do not burn.” In addition, his original story mentioned the understory of the forest. As I read through the story, I immediately questioned what that meant. I figured this would be an issue for readers of WUFT.org, so I added some context. After discussing the attribution fusion rule in class last night, I am making sure to focus on this during my editing. This is why I made sure we introduced Ludie Bond at the start of the paragraph instead of later on. During my initial edits I came across the following phrase: “The northern half of Florida will not have as many wildfires as the southern half through the end of March 2014.” We have been talking about the importance of thinking critically. While AP style and grammar are important, missing information that results in confusion for our readers should be our focus. I called Logan, and he shared with me the information and source he learned these facts from. The northern part of the state has received more rain than the southern areas of Florida. Adding in these contextual details will hopefully keep readers from venturing away from WUFT.org to Google for more information.
I enjoyed editing this article, and the main reason is the professionalism of the reporter, Shannon Kaestle. Upon reading this story, I had two major questions. The reference to micromanaging stood out to me because I feel like it has a negative connotation. When I called Shannon, she explained how she had also double-checked with the source about this being what he meant. It was refreshing to hear about a reporter going the extra mile. In addition, the story mentioned how a councilman was one of two members who voted no. Immediately, I wondered who was the other person who voted it down? Each week, I am beginning to develop my editing skills to catch these holes. The reporter provided me with the answer to this question. After numerous articles about various Florida cities, I used the control function on my computer to make sure I did not capitalize the “City of Live Oak” in any references. One issue I noticed in this story is someone originally spelled Shannon’s last name wrong as part of the photo credit. This simply requires comparing the name from the bottom of the screen to the top. This is a fact error, and we must continue to train our editors to look at these details closely. While few people may have noticed, errors of this nature detract from our credibility as a news organization.