The #Virtual300 Survival Guide

survival guide

Okay, listen.  Nobody said you had to be a “techie” to produce good news articles, op eds, or blogs (which could be a mixture of both) – but if you’re going to survive the wild land of Virtual 300 – then I’d suggest reviewing this TOP 10 list, to increase your chances.  Lurking in the jungle all around you will be due dates and an assignment fiend known as Jill Falk – so beware!  Now, let’s survive – shall we?

10:  Time Management Tips – Kaplitz Blog – time management is of the utmost importance.  Unless you find a way to manage your time perfectly, you’ll run the risk of falling behind – so pay attention to deadlines and secure your interviews, data, and all multimedia, in an amount of time you know will be conducive to producing a good story.  Trust me, when you compound the work-load of Virtual 300 with your other coursework – time will be of the essence, and at least twice this semester it got away from me.  Brainstorm story ideas very early in the semester and make those your “milestone stories.”  Make one be your story one or two, and save others for story five and seven (or eight, if you’re a grad. student!).  This gives you a goal to work toward – and it’s never a bad idea to begin planning those interviews as soon as you develop your ideas.  Speaking of the interview process…

explorer29.  Future of News is Social – In 2009, Arianna Huffington (of Huffington Post lineage) identified the future of news as being a completely social experience.  The sooner you accept that the content you’re creating should inspire conversation and be “share-able,” the better off you’ll be. There’s no way around microblogging or doing things “the old way.”

8. 13 Tips for Effective Interviews – Okay, the text will give you examples and tips for interviewing – as will the link I provided, but there’s one big thing to remember here – generally, for the stories you’ll be creating – your interview subjects don’t owe you anything.  So the best advice I have for you?  Be polite, and friendly, and tough, but stay  conversational and approachable, even if this is a “hard news” story.  I promise you that your content will reflect the experience.

7.  State of the Media – familiarize yourself with the “State of the Media.”  Their reports identify key trends/shifts in the journalism world.  You don’t have to know everything on their site, and you don’t have to pretend that you do – but just be aware of what the major paradigms are in the media world (ex. Second-Screen Phenomenon, look how the WWE is using: WWE Active) – recognize them and become familiar with them, to avoid falling behind (Jill Falk has this whole “rabbit hole” idea that you’ll come to understand and appreciate – but be warned, “rabbit holes” could effect your time management!).

explorer6.  Video Editing – Video and news and journalism are interconnected in our digital age – and it’s one of the big options for multimedia (in Virtual 300, it counts as two forms) that you can add to your stories.  But unless you have video editing software already installed on your computer – or unless you know how to use the Avid lab at Lindenwood, you may want to check out this list of the “Top 10 Free Best Video Editing Software for Windows” (unless you have a Mac).  On the topic…

5. How to Create and Edit Video? (video) – this link offers you some basic information on how to be effective at capture, edit, and host video.

4.  10 Ways Twitter is valuable to Journalists – this blog author explores the many ways twitter can be used effectively by journalists…. trust me, you’re gonna want to read this – and you’re gonna want to be “tweet happy.”

3.  The Essence of Journalism – The Nieman Reports offer a brief article exploring the essence of journalism.  I think this is one of the most succinct and useful tid bits of information I read – about the practice of journalism itself.  Pay particular attention to their five tips for writing or presenting a story – and infuse those tips into your work.

explorer32. Photography Tips – we are visual people – that may be an understatement, but you’ll soon realize that photographs only enhance your story – and may sometimes even be their own stories.  Blog owner Patrick Latter is a programmer and photographer who regularly updates his site with amazing photographs and tips for how to capture those moments.

1. ‘Snowfall” by The New York Times – Read “Snowfall” by The New York Times first!  This piece is magnificent.  It will inspire you to push your own limits and boundaries during the semester.  Only you really know what you’re capable of, but I’m certain that after you experience “Snowfall,” you’ll push yourself harder to find out.

With these ten links, I hope I’ve given you something that inspires and helps you on your journey through Virtual 300.  It’s a process – that’s for sure – and it can be overwhelming, but in the end – if you’ve been inspired and you’ve been an effective time manager, and you’ve learned – there will be at least one piece of work you’ll be extremely proud of.  Personally, I navigated the course and produced four pieces I’m really proud of – maybe some of these could even inspire you:  “Never Going Back: the Fight for Marriage Equality” – “The ‘Cruel Mystery’ and Butterflies of Hope” – “#SaveElephants” – “Feminism Fading: the Rise of Social Media”