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Campus newspaper goals for 2010

Jenna Johnson

Journalism is quickly changing, and many college newspapers are struggling to balance doing more online while still putting out a quality print edition (and making sure the crossword puzzle is not a re-run). Here are some painless ideas for doing both from Andrew Dunn, the editor-in-chief of The Daily Tar Heel at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. andrew_dunn.jpg

1) Reach out to your campus through social networks
It costs no money and little time to share stories on sites where students spend a lot of time, like Twitter and Facebook. Once they're out there, readers can generate buzz around the stories, and they'll soon start to send in tips.

2) Define a vision and purpose for your Web site
It can't be just a vehicle for republishing print stories. Ask yourself, what do we want readers to gain from the site?

3) Kick your reporters and editors out of the newsroom
While the newsroom is a good place to write and edit stories, it's a poor place for reporting. Encourage face-to-face interviews instead of phone interviews (and e-mail should be a last resort). Get out and talk to your readers and find out what matters to them.

4) Teach your staffers new skills
It is no longer enough to only be able to shoot a photo or write a 12-inch story. Hold workshops on search engine optimization, video editing, HTML/CSS, audio gathering and other new media skills.

5) Share your expertise
Hold training sessions for the students and the general public on photography and blogging skills. This will connect readers to the paper and enhance the quality of your user-generated content.

6) Get involved in the community
Participate as a team in campus fundraisers, like Relay for Life. It's another way to help a good cause, and it's fun.

7) Create an internal newsroom wiki
Use it to share ideas, best practices and resources for individual development.

8) Create topic pages on your Web site about big issues on your campus
Use these pages to collect stories that have been tagged on the topic, plus other multimedia and data elements. Have reporters and editors create short "Who's who" features for the main players on their beats.

9) Add links to your stories
This is an easy way to direct your readers to more information and give your copy more credibility at the same time.

10) Write effective Web headlines
Make information related to your community king in search engines by brushing up on search engine optimization (SEO). Write Web headlines that use keywords that are likely to come up in Web searches.

About Andrew Dunn
Andrew is a senior journalism major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He became the editor-in-chief of The Daily Tar Heel in May 2009 and has overseen the development of a new Web site and content management system. He has interned at The Charlotte Observer, the St. Petersburg Times and The (Durham, N.C.) Herald-Sun.

Follow Campus Overload all day, every day at http://washingtonpost.com/campus-overload. Tweet your thoughts to me at #wpcolllege and follow them on the Post's new Higher Education page at http://washingtonpost.com/higher-ed.

By Jenna Johnson  |  January 24, 2010; 7:51 PM ET
Categories:  Campus Media  | Tags: Andrew Dunn, The Daily Tar Heel, University of North Carolina  
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