The WaPo Labs University Tour began clad in Tar Heel blue on Monday with a stop at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. And it turns out that the school that prepped Charles Kuralt was the perfect place to begin our time on the road.
For me and my colleagues Charles Covey-Brandt and Emily Schwartz, it was a day packed with events and ideas.
An Intro to Interactive Multimedia class talked with us about their media diet (a healthy mix of news sites on mobile and the Web; very few read newspapers), while an intermediate level class discussed bias in news, visual journalism, and Twitter as a potential venue for frictionless sharing. During a lunch with students, we went over the finer points of information architecture and learned more about reesenews, the school’s experimental digital news site (we know a thing or two about those kinds of sites). And it all culminated in a big auditorium session that touched on privacy, trust, and, um, puppies. At least one session has to go to the dogs, right?
Among the other topics we discussed:
– How users can develop their own social media voice or brand through a mix of personal, professional, and observational posts.
– Whether youth-driven sites like Washington Post Social Reader miss out on the seasoned views of older users.
– The value of active sharing versus passive, or frictionless, sharing. (Some students valued active sharing quite highly; others didn’t see a problem with passively sharing.)
A big thank you to Steven King, a UNC professor and former Washington Post video editor, for coordinating an outstanding day. Thanks also to Susan King, the dean of the UNC School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and School of Library Sciences professors Stephanie Haas and Lori Haight for a lively breakfast conversation.
Check out the stream from the day’s Twitter hashtag, #WaPoUNC, to see what students had to say about our day of discussions.
We’ve landed now in the warmer climes of Gainesville, Fla., where we’re prepping for a full day at the University of Florida. Bring it, Gators.