Edition No. 6

October 24, 2016 — It’s waaay past time for Edition No. 6, so let’s get to it.

We had a spike in our site visits when we collected 1,859 on October 20 (according to the Google Analytics), and that was primarily driven by the sexual assault story we got out late in the day. We had another 1,134 visits the next day. There are several takeaways here.

One, we matter. I realize that people like to see their bylines in print, but stories on our website simply have greater reach.

Takeaway two, we have to continue to be careful. Because our content is read by people from all over, we have to assume that any mistakes we make — big or small — will be discovered. I’m not saying we made mistakes in the sexual assault story. I’m saying we have to be careful to avoid mistakes now more than ever.

And takeaway three, we need to keep going on the story. Clearly, people are interested in this case, and that tells us that we need to stay on it, even as it moves beyond this semester into 2017.

Pats on the back go to Kelby and the Phils (Sounds like a 1950s band, doesn’t it?) for their quick and accurate work on the sexual assault coverage. I wish freshmen journalism majors could have been in the newsroom as everyone went through the process of searching out information online, tracking down sources, and discussing several ethical choices that had to be made. And we beat all other St. Louis area media.

I liked our experiment with the Homecoming stories. You can see it here. I’m interested in what others thought about it, and if there was any way to gauge audience response.

As far as things to improve upon, we need to remember that we don’t have to use the same headlines that the Legacy uses. We need to keep in mind SEO for our headlines, and, of course, we don’t have the same space restrictions that the Legacy has. And often, the headline can simply be improved. For example, the headline on the story about the LSGA president doesn’t focus so much on her “hard work” and “energy” as it does on other things.

Finally, some stories would benefit from tighter editing. For example, the lip sync story had several problems, including a few from this paragraph: “Fall sports were in attendance as well as the 2016 Homecoming Court in support of the men’s football team who are scheduled to take on Northwest Missouri State Oct. 22 at 1pm.” I think I’m speaking for many readers when I respond, “huh?”

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