Multimedia approaches essential to college-run news media

Mo Patton Sports, a website dedicated to prep coverage in the Nashville region, does a solid job using multiple media platforms to present information.

They break news on Twitter:


They then write a story with comments from key individuals online:


And they promote the story on Facebook:


They did not post about this story on Instagram, although MoPatton does use this social media platform to tease future content, such as coverage of the track meet below:


One could also post video to Instagram, Vine and SnapChat to further layer, and promote, content across multiple platforms. That’s how you attract more followers.

Are you reporting in this manner for your college publication? The answer, of course, should be: Yes.  Every single college newspaper should be using every media platform available to attract news consumers on campus. Your fellow students rarely go to websites for their news, relying far more heavily on social media to drive them to stories they probably read on a mobile device. Students might pick up a printed edition of your newspaper, but they do so at a significantly lower rate. Professional mainstream newspapers, read primarily by an older audience, have lost more than 14% of their readership since 2004, according to PEW. Let’s face it: print newspapers are becoming relics. (Six in 10 millennials, btw, get their political news from Facebook.)

That’s not to say you have to abandon your print editions, just do not make it the center of your newsroom. Instead, fill the print edition with more in-depth content, whether that means a long-form piece on the athletic budget or a more fully researched version of a breaking news story. You might also want to consider reducing the number of days that you all print, shifting resources (and staffers) to digital media – if nothing else, to prepare train staffers for the professional environment.

At worst, you could lose a little ad revenue. No doubt: the financial landscape is unpredictable, but that’s no reason to collapse into the past. At best, you will recoup revenue through digital products (and become more relevant on campus). So begin to produce short videos after games that can include interviews  with players/coaches or can be a conversation between two staffers at the game on a YouTube channel. In addition, produce podcasts each day with the top sports news of the day or to chat about Fantasy sports/predictions. Podcasts are growing quickly in popularity at news media such as ESPN and NPR. You can then embed advertising into these multimedia features.



About jgisondi

I covered sports and worked as a sports copy editor for more than 20 years at several newspapers in Florida, including the Fort Myers News-Press, Clearwater Sun, Florida Today and Orlando Sentinel. I started writing for a weekly sports publication in Coral Springs, Fla., at age 15. I have been hooked on sports journalism ever since. I was fortunate to have worked with some amazing editors along the way, journalists who took the time to help me even when my copy was not top-notch. Now, I teach journalism at Eastern Illinois University and work as an editor for, a vertical that focuses on Big Ten athletics. A second edition of the "Field Guide To Covering Sports" will be available sometime in February 2017. The book is a practical guide to preparing, observing, interviewing and writing about 20 different sports, from auto racing to wrestling. Chapters also address ways to cover high school sports, fantasy sports, to develop sports blogs. You can also learn how to cover games, to write features and to interview better. Fans can also learn basic rules of these sports, along with ways to better observe the action. New chapters in the second edition will address social media, advanced analytics, fantasy sports coverage and revised, expanded chapters address game coverage, features and columns, among other new sections.
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