After arriving late Monday night from North Carolina, we thought we were sleepy when Professor Matt Sheehan picked us up from our hotel on Tuesday morning for a faculty coffee at UF’s College of Journalism & Communicatons — but within moments of being whisked off to a classroom, we were quickly shaken awake by the tremendous engagement and enthusiasm from the students.
Our day was a busy one — and wildly exciting. UF’s journalism program is in blooming transition, with new facilities that help provide students access to everything media-related: radio, graphic design, public relations, advertising, digital journalism, and, of course, traditional reporting skills. Students here are plugged-in to social media and ready to harness it for their careers.
As we bounced from classroom to classroom, scouted for alligators, and chowed down on sandwiches from Reitz Union, a few themes repeatedly emerged:
– Should the medium affect the message? We talked a good deal about writing and producing content for a variety of platforms, including newspaper, magazine, radio, web, mobile, and tablet.
– Presentation matters. The visual aspects of storytelling can be a compelling way to not just lure audiences near content, but also convey the content itself.
– For many, news is personal. Frictionless sharing may be new and cool, but news consumption and distribution among social circles is different for each individual.
– Where’s the data? We recognize research into how users interact with Social Reader and other progressive news platforms is exciting — and that consumer behavior is worth studying.
– At the end of the day, knowing how to write still matters. Even in a technology-driven world, you’re not off the hook if you don’t know a subject from a predicate.
We finished the day live-streaming a smaller session at UF’s 21st Century News Lab. Though it’s not online yet, we’ll be sure to let you know when it’s hosted. Last, but not least, we hope you’ll take the time to scroll through reactions and questions regarding Labs’ visit on Twitter. Using the hashtag #wpuf, you’ll discover insightful questions, enthusiasm for the industry, and what it means to be the McDLT of the industry. Wait, that’s not right…
Many thanks to Professor Matt Sheehan, who organized the event and introduced us to the world of fried pickles. Gainesville couldn’t have been lovelier.
On that note — it’s jet-setting time once again. California, here we come.