A Breeze Toward New Social Media

In a survey done by Bob Bergland, which was cited in Bryan Murley’s article on PBS’s “media shift” blog, Bergland states that an alarming 36 percent of the 392 college newspapers in the study did not have an online presence.

That number, in this day in age, is staggering to me, and far too high given all of the opportunity available to newspapers in new social media.

Not having a website for any organization these days is a lost opportunity, and in my opinion, a tad barbaric.

In another article by Murley on this same blog, he lists 5 reasons as to why smaller schools have not yet embraced new media. They are as follows:

1. Small staffs and high churn rate

2. Instructors who don’t get it

3. Old mindsets from the students

4. Not enough payoff for students

5. Sparse resources

Luckily, at JMU, we do have a student newspaper.  The Breeze is constantly attempting to push fellow students to its web page, and even has online only content in the form of video’s and slide show’s. One such video was produced by the “JMU Breeze Network” about fantasy football.

This is a good start for the Breeze, which in mind, is still in the early stages of adopting social media.

When you compare The Breeze’s website with that of The Collegian’s at Penn State and The Maneater’s at Missouri University, you see a drastic difference in the use of new social media.

The Collegian, by comparison, has a lot more multimedia as far as video and pictures go, and also has many different blogs ranging from “between the Pipes” to “MAKE PLAYS.”

The Maneater also has blogs, video’s, audio segments and plenty of pictures, but they take social media even farther. The Maneater, in their multimedia section, has podcasts about politics, sports and general Missouri University News.

Granted, both Penn State and Missouri University have two of the best journalism programs in the country. However, JMU, and especially all of the schools that don’t even have a web presence, need to get with the times and follow the example set by these two institutions.

Much of the problem, in my mind, comes in the classroom. Many journalism classes taught at JMU teach “old” journalism, and don’t really delve into how to incorporate new social media in journalism. Since many Breeze writers come from our program, I think that is part of our newspapers problem.

Julie Posetti, another blogger for the “media shift” blog, agrees with my sentiment.  As a teacher of journalism, she understands the problems with much of the journalism curriculum around the world.

In her article, Experimentation (Not Stagnation) Should Flourish at J-Schools, Posetti makes a very poignant statement that I would like to end on. “In other academic fields, it’s cutting-edge research that drives industry change, not the other way around. In a perfect world, journalism educators would not lag behind industry, but rather would be setting the pace for educational change in response to digital transformations,” she says.

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3 Comments on “A Breeze Toward New Social Media”

  1. Anne Blessing Says:

    I really like how you localized this post. It is neat to see The Breeze measure up against top notch universities. I would like to see, however, links to other good university newspaper websites. Are we up to par with their website design too? It was interesting because I received an email from my landlord polling us residents on whether we go to The Breeze website and if it was worth her time to advertise there. An overwhelming 95% said they had never been to the website. We’ve still got a way to go as you definitely need more than a ‘good website’ to actually get visitors! Thanks for the post.

  2. Kristen Cicala Says:

    You bring up a really good point. I feel as if social media is just now beginning to take off. Last year, I took an advertising class and we pretty much learned the traditional ways to advertise, using newspapers, magazines, or television commercials. Now, I feel like in order to reach a particular audience, it is vital to have some sort of online presence. It wasn’t until this year that I’ve been learning how social networking sites, like Twitter, are used by companies to build relationships with their customers. It is definitely important for classrooms to push the traditional mediums aside and learn how to incorporate social media into the mix.

  3. Allie Rogers Says:

    I really think the Breeze should start a blog! That would be such a good idea! That would generate a lot of buzz to our paper. Why don’t you go to the Breeze and explain to them what you wrote in your post, and pitch them some ideas? I think it would be really beneficial. I’m glad were incorporating some social media, but what if there was Twitter page for the Breeze? People could Twitter Darts and Pats right on the page!

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