SATURDAY, OCT. 27 / Libel, Libel, Libel

By: Ada Wood

The second day of the CMA Fall 2018 National Convention began, and I started off with a panel on a topic I love reporting on: the environment and climate change. 

Dr. Edward Maibach introduced the material from Climate Matters in the Newsroom which can be found online at The media library includes a function where journalist can search by their city and see the effects of climate change in the local community.

After this panel I went to the Grand Hall where I sat down for a resume review, which gave me some great feedback onto how to improve my resume. I visited the engagement center and the silent auction while I was there as well.

I sat in for a few more panels including writing with voice, data reporting, the reliability gap and also for the ACP Pacemaker Awards Ceremony.

However, my favorite panel of the entire convention was “Editor-in-Grief 1: Rule with an Iron Fist, Wear a Velvet Glove.” The speaker was Michael Koretzky, from, on how to be a leader and how it applies to journalism. Koretzky’s section was crazy. He wore an all red suit with “LIBEL” written all over it, wore sunglasses inside, had a whip and tossed cigars into the crowd for participating viewers. He was loud, crazy and started the presentation with the communist national anthem.

But most of all, he was smart, really smart. For the midnight snack, I ended up sitting down with him and some of the girls who work with him and at the event. We talked for hours until 2 a.m. about how to improve my writing and The Signal style. I was so thankful for this time together as a group and I feel more motivated now than ever to make a change.

FRIDAY, OCT. 26 / Perfecting The Pitch

By: Ada Wood

After an eight-hour bus ride and meeting some fascinating people from the student media at Georgia Southern on Thursday, the 2018 CMA Fall National Convention really took flight early Friday morning.

The first panel I attended was one of my favorites from the entire convention. Titled “Perfecting the Pitch,” Katie Myrick from Global Press taught students how to do just that.

I wasn’t sure what to expect. What strategies did they really have for me to get better at pitching to my editor? The answer was a detailed process for more in depth, analytical and meaningful stories.

The Global Press pitch process has four main steps: action, reaction, consequence and context. Action is what is happening at the most basic level. Reaction is how communities and people are responding to the action and which perspectives are most important or most unique for the story.

Consequences is a step I often forget in pitching my story, and sometimes even in writing it. This step looks at the previous two and works to identify what is going to change and what the first two steps signify on a broader level. Lastly, is context; what the readers need to know to understand the story, be it historical, political or cultural information.

The other panels I attended that day were just as interesting. These included the topics of “fake news,” FBI strategies for interviewing and reporting the opioid crisis. The last panel of the day, “Writing Long” was one more highlight.

Mark Siebert led the discussion on how to tackle long-form feature pieces and not lose the reader on the way. I often prefer writing longer pieces, so I was grateful for the advice. One fact that caught my eye in the presentation was that stories of over 1,200 words receive more clicks, longer engagement and more interaction according to Pew Research and the API.

The whole day was filled with learning and thought-provoking topics. Each panel gave me knew ideas of how to transform my writing and try new, creative techniques.

CMMW 2018: Storytelling and Reporting

At the College Mulit-Media Workshop, I learned so many valuable lessons. As I begin my transition into my new role as the news director of GSTV. I had the opportunity to come together with other students, that were in the same boat as I am. The best part of the workshop was when we were able to watch a veteran reporters' work. His work showed me that there are so many different ways to storytelling and that your writing really counts! I was able to use this method during my project. During my project, I wandered around campus and tried to find many different story ideas by asking students, and finding flyers around campus. 

I finally found a story by wandering into the school's art museum. I noticed that the university was implementing a new exhibit in their art museum. The exhibit features instructors and dancers as they educated the guests about what it means to be and feel like a fetus. I thought that the concept was really intriguing and I was able to gather some b-roll, interviews, and additional information in turn it into a quick package within an hour. 

My work can be found at the following link below.

I would definetely attend the conference again because not only did I learn, but we were also able to bridge the gap between the different media organizations on campus.

CMMW 2018: Use what you have to get what you want.

By: Ky'Wan Parker

A distance of nearly 1,200 miles was traveled to the Twin Cities in Minnesota for the College Media Mega Workshop. This was all for one message from the track on digital journalism. This is one of the most critical concepts to remember in any field of work, but especially journalism which is simply to “use what you have to get what you want”. This proverb is so straightforward that it’s hard to imagine content creators working harder and not smarter.

It should be no secret to anyone that the world is fully immersed in the digital age. Previous analog technologies are now converging into digital formats. Many millennial journalists are now at the forefront of creation and innovation with some of the best digital tools at their finger tips being apps. The motto “there’s an app for that” is not a signature phrase simply to be stated. In this digital age we must use what we have to get what we want. Let’s explore some apps that were made known in the digital journalism track.

One of the most compelling digital resources discussed in the track was Juxtapose. This application makes easy frame comparisons which helps storytellers compare pieces of media such as photos and gifs. Generally, this application is perfect for showing a change over time like the growth of a cityscape, forest growth, and even Atlanta’s Georgia Dome implosion. Juxtapose embodies the concept of out with the old and in with the new.

To further “use what we have to get what we want”, the track instructors Sarah Quinn and Amy Devault introduced Thinglink. It is self-explanatory. Pick a thing being media such as photos or videos and link something to it. This something could be an explanation of ideas, history, or concepts. Thinglink provides a means for content creators to boost platform intelligence by adding simple interactivity as users are able to click about to immerse themselves with the given media. This app is an innovative route to provide a project with attitude by allowing 3D video and augmented/virtual reality enhancement two of the leading innovative technologies of today.

The pinnacle occurred when the track attendees explores various methods of our generations gift to the digital age of course being social media. Now, we should know that social platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube serve as a means for people to remain connected to loved ones and stay on top of trends, but what happened to reporting? No need to worry as these social apps have enabled users with the power of journalism and reporting what’s going on. According to Statista 78 percent of young adults between ages 18-24 use Snapchat to build a brand or grow an audience. Although Snapchat was slow to catch on, much momentum has been gained when using the app for recoding standups, gathering b-roll, short interviews, enchantment using geo filters, and gathering quick/witty vine like commentary.

In today’s digital age, the most common struggle for a journalist can be the illusion of not having access to the resources to create compelling content. Ya know, like the stuff we see on TV. Be assured if you are a content creator there are many resources right at your fingertips, most likely in the device your reading this article on. Resources we use everyday for communication can be repurposed. Try reporting using YouTube live then add a cool graphic using Juxtapose. The possibilities are endless as long as you use what you have to get what you want.   

CMMW 2018: Building a Better Journal

By Grace Aldis

I wasn’t sure what to expect out of the College Mega Media Workshop in Minneapolis, but I jumped at the opportunity to promote our undergraduate art and literary journal Underground while learning and meeting new people. I wondered at first whether or not the workshop would cater to literary journals since it seemed to focus on newspaper groups, but I found that my workshop session did have a good amount of others working on literary journals such as ours. Overall, I thought the experience was invaluable, and I left with a fresh head of ideas to help make Underground the best it can be. 

I was concerned about the yearbook and magazine track not applying to my work at the literary journal, but I ended up learning a lot at my session and making valuable connections with others in my field. The instructors for my track, Kelley and Adrianne, had known each other for a long time and were fun to work with. Kelley mostly did presentations on things like design elements, leadership organization, and marketing, while Adrianne led fun team-building exercises. I got a lot of useful information out of Kelley’s presentations, such as a break-down of different types of fonts and how they should be used, how to effectively manage my team, and how to best promote what we do. One of my main learning goals for this conference was to have a better understanding of design since I do not have a huge background in design and it is an imperative skill for making a quality literary journal. I feel that this workshop gave me a lot of the knowledge I need to grow more and create a better journal. 

Another very helpful aspect of this conference was the critiques. I had the two previous issues of Underground critiqued by two experts: one being Kelley, and the other’s name was Lisa, a former editor of the Booth literary magazine. Neither one held back in their critiques, and I had to hear some somewhat harsh truths about our journal. I had never questioned the concept of our logo, a lantern, and how it relates to the idea of being “underground,” but both Lisa and Kelley didn’t make that connection. Kelley said it looked more like “a disembodied lamp post” and thought it related more to Sherlock Holmes than a literary magazine for undergraduate students. I realize this means we will have to reconsider our logo, or at least redesign it and make a clearer connection to the “underground” aspect and our history. Lisa was more concerned with the fact that we are now a national journal, and said we need to be more forthright with the purpose of our journal if not to directly benefit GSU students. Both critiques made me realize that there needs to be a change in how we approach things at Underground, no matter what changes we decide to make in the future.

One of the best things I got out of this trip was getting to know others in student media in and outside of GSU. I enjoyed getting to know the individuals on the trip, as well as learning about their organizations. I’ve said before that I think GSU does a great job of supporting student organizations, but now I have a better appreciation for what many of those organizations put together. I have the hope that GSU’s student media continues to collaborate in the future, as I see a lot of potential in that unification.

CMMW 2018: Educate Yourselves On Diversity

By Amani Patterson

The topic of diversity is often brushed off. Everyone thinks that they are experts on the topic, therefore, do not take the time to really understand what diversity is. Most, usually thinks it just means to acknowledge people/things that are "different." What a lot of journalists (and people in general) fail to realize is the fact that diversity is what keeps journalism alive. No one wants to keep hearing the same stories from the same groups of people.

Everyone has a unique, especially immigrants who came to this country looking for better opportunities. These stories need to be reported on and generally, people are interested whether they admit it or not. Also, having diversity in the newsroom makes a difference as well. The way people tell stories will determine how the story will be perceived by the public. Newsrooms need diversity in order to tell diverse stories. Different points of view makes the difference.

he general lecture on the first day of the workshops was about diversity. I was interested in what reporter Faiza Mahamud had to say but at the same time, I felt as though I knew a good deal about the topic due to the fact that I am a female that is both of African-American and Latino descent. Even though I felt like an expert on diversity because it is something that I advocate for, there were still things that needed to be revealed to me.

Faiza Mahamud dropped a lot of gems during her lecture.

These key points stood out the most to me:

  • Cover communities you’ve never covered before

  • Find new stories

  • Report on communities correctly

  • Treat immigrants as full members of communities

  • Make contacts

  • Go to a community when you’re not on a deadline

If you follow these instructions, communities will respect you more and be more willing to help you report on the story. We must all educate ourselves on diversity and go into it with the most genuine intentions. We cannot disrespect the communities that surround us, especially immigrant communities. They are people just like us, they have stories just like us as well. 

CMMW 2018: Photojournalism

By Unique Rodriguez

During our trip to Minneapolis, and visiting the campus of the University of Minnesota, I learned so much from the CMMW conference. My track was photojournalism, learning how to tell a story with your photos. But we learned much more than that. With our teacher Bradley Wilson, we also learned about leadership, team management, editing, journalism, and what makes a good storytelling photographer. Our first days in our track focused on learning about our cameras, and how to use them. We did a couple of exercises to test our skills and critical thinking. First, we went over lighting, how can it affect your photo, and how to use it to your advantage with shooting different types of people. You have the front light, backlight, and side light, all giving different effects to your photo and affecting your subject in different ways.

Next, we went over our shutter and aperture, how it can change your photo, good and bad, and how to use these tools to your advantage. We did the water balloon exercise, where you have a subject and anyway they can they pop the water balloon, whether that's throwing it, squeezing it or having someone else throw the water balloon at them, the goal was to capture the best expression and best-exploding balloon. With this exercise, we learned about our shutter speed and capturing the moment. Not just sitting and waiting for something to happen, but watching, anticipating and capturing a moment. We also talked about not being afraid to get in close on our subject. Many of us got our lens wet because of how close we got to the water balloon, but the result was definitely worth it. 


While we learned a lot about the technical side and using our camera, we also learned how to create a story with our pictures. Our last assignment for the conference was to go over to a neighboring "town" and find a story. Whether it's about a particular person or a business, find a story and tell it through your photos. The town was called Dinkytown, and it was actually quite small. With only a few blocks of establishments, it still had a very welcoming feeling. We had to step outside of our comfort zone, talk to people, get their story and translate that with pictures. I feel like skill was especially useful to me because working on the Signal's photo staff that is our job. And it is a skill that I lack in because sometimes it can be hard to talk to people and to take that story and translate it into a meaningful picture. This conference and this experience has help me to create that skill and use them. So that when I am back home and working with a writer and trying to come up with interesting and create photo ideas, I can pull from this experience.

CMMW 2018: Guide for the Videographer

Written by Julian Pineda

As videographers, our job is to capture events and stories around us that depict and affect our community. Often times we are faced with the issue of increasing our viewership whether for an article, social media post, or video. But how are we supposed to share these videos we make for the community, without demonstrating we are desperate for an increase in viewership? The most important and effective way to obtain viewership is through the power of social media.

Although this seems simple enough, many journalist make the mistake of just using one or two types of social media, when they should be using all of them. In the Digital Journalism track at the 2018 College Mega Media Workshop, journalists learned the key factor is to post on Instagram, Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and a few others, almost daily. How does one expect to gain viewership over night, if no one is communicating to the audience where they could find the videos and what they are about. Again this is plain and simple, yet many of us do not take advantage of this feature. 

Social media is a tool that allows many of us to connect with one another around the world, it should be used by all journalist. Our posts on these websites or apps can easily be shared by some, which leads to more viewership and followers. One way to fully use social media is post daily on all of these apps. Post new stories and breaking updates on Twitter and Facebook, use Youtube to post your videos, while Snapchat and Instagram should be used to promote local events, news, or promote the newspaper itself. Posting on various types of social medias, at various times throughout the day will likely increase the exposure of videos. 

Another key way to gain viewership, is to post quick snippets on these social media posts, in order to allow the reader to know what the video is about- don't tell them, show them!

Use social media to engage with the community, don't just post once a week, they will forget about you. Remind them who you are and what you are doing for the community. 

Furthermore, using each type of social media for a certain purpose is important. Most of us use Snapchat for creative posts and to connect with close ones, use Snapchat to make creatitive posts and promote fun events and videos. While if people use Twitter to find news, use Twitter for that purpose. However, do not just use Snapchat to have fun or Twitter for news only post, use all social medias in all aspects. This means all apps should be used to increase news videos, sports videos, etc. If this means you have different accounts on each social medias that are connected with one another, so be it.

The more diverse your social media pages are, the more diverse your viewership will be. You want this type of viewership on your videos, it means your page is successfully telling all the stories of the whole community, not just some of them. 

CMMW 2018: Envisioning storytelling

Written by Kevin Sanchez

Often we are assigned stories that at the surface seem simple. For events, the expectation is to interview organizers, attendants and record interesting soundbites for a package. In the fast-paced realm of journalism, that becomes a reliable and timely structure. So much, that the way the story is told becomes generic. Instead of looking at yourself as just the reporter, begin envisioning yourself as the storyteller. Ask yourself, how are we able to take our viewers there? How are we able to make our viewers feel, instead of just hearing? Are we able to shift a current dialogue? And how are we able to craft a story that is different than previously seen? This is a discussion freelance reporter Greg Vandegrift introduced to us. The idea that every story is able to take viewers on a journey.

Written in large and said a number of times, Vandegrift highlighted the power of video to guide a viewer's experience. He went further calling it his plan of attack with voiceovers, b-roll and natural sound as elements to enrich the story. These fragments are obvious to journalists pursuing the field of broadcast, but its application marks a stark difference in how your story is received. We want people to feel connected to a larger discussion like a town hall, board meeting, or protest. Vandegrift says in broadcast, it is crucial to contextualized video instead of writing the obvious. Going further, he says if a video was not shot, it did not happen. This makes it critical to coordinate with your videographer and remain attentive while reporting. To supplement his vision, Vandegrift presented Como the Tiger, a story about the euthanization of a tiger who bit a girl and they were unsure if had rabies. From the beginning, the story introduces the sounds, landscape, and sentiments carried at the zoo. You can hear the mosquitos, feel the grief, and see the foreground that a loss awaits. The team was able to catch raw emotion, and Vandegrift wrote subtly to that. He allows others to speak for themselves. As it develops, the story does not fall short of building the passion expressed.

In addition to blending elements, Vandegrift introduced his style of storytelling which is distinct from the style that I was used to. As I was taught, the first few seconds of your package are, to begin with, either a standup or a sound bite that speaks from emotion. Vandegrift disregards both. Instead, he makes a strong appeal with visuals in the beginning and chooses to take viewers on a journey, making sure to leave pivotal moments in their respective area of the timeline. In doing so, viewers have the incentive to continue watching a story and not click out since they already have the important information. He introduces this by showing A work of art that follows a high school wrestler, Kevin Black, on his journey making history. The story could have easily been told with Kevin winning the wrestling match at the start. However, he chooses to open by setting the scene with fans waiting outside the venue. It then follows his journey as he prepares for the match. It builds suspense. Vandegrift frames the story to where even if you are not interested in sports, it would still be engaging since the story is about making history.

CMMW 2018: Storytelling and Reporting, Researching and Interviewing

Written by William Solomons

With reporting for newspapers, radio, or television, a journalist needs to be thorough and attentive to the world around them. Several of the tools at a journalist's disposal involve open records requests, 990s, the Student Press Law Center and the EDGAR database for publicly traded companies. These resources allow a journalist to follow finances and make sure all legal issues are covered before publishing. It is also important for a journalist to refine their interview skills.

First, they must build relationships with the individuals they are interviewing so that they can continue to use them as a source of information. A successful interviewer must also be polite but also not patronize or overly compliment a source to get what they want. The most important thing they can do though is to continuously record the interview until they have left the building or office so that anything else said is captured.

A journalist must also be willing to go into the communities that may not have representation in the newsroom in an effort to capture other cultures' stories and views. Having a diverse staff also helps with this, but it begins with every reporter. Everyone has to be willing to explore other communities and interact with them not only as reporter but also just as a human being. In doing so, one can gain the trust of other communities who will then in turn provide information for the journalist regarding what is going on in said community. This is where the aforementioned interview skills come in to play.

On top of all this, in order to write well and tell someone's story, a reporter must be willing to use a soft lead when necessary. Soft leads are important to slowly introduce the reader to what is going on in the story. It allows the writer to appeal to the emotional side of the reader and to draw them into the story. This is achieved by using descriptive, yet still objective, language so that the reader can feel like they were in the environment that one is describing.