Another piece of improving how we connect with readership was to shift from old-fashioned text and photo journalism to multimedia storytelling. During one general staff meeting, I asked the staff to break into small groups and talk about what types of media we, as undergraduates, most like engaging with. The result? Everyone talked about multimedia! Be it podcasts or videos, young consumers are interested in multimedia stories.
Using Video to Engage Readers
I hired a video editor in January and quickly built a team of nine videographers to work on producing videos. They developed videos to complement stories, and found their own stories to tell as well. From profiles on successful student athletes, to interviews with protesters on campus, our videos sought to give a place for all sorts of voices to speak up on campus.
By the end of the semester, we were producing 3 to 4 videos a week, each of them aligned with an online story coming out that same week.
Developing Niche Podcast Series
From a few informal focus groups we did with campus community members (really just grabbing friends at lunch or chatting with professors over coffee) I found that interest in podcast series has been exploding recently. The Cynic’s podcast team sought to capitalize on the interest in this form of media. We developed a twice monthly outdoors podcast in which a female student of color explored identity and relationship with the outdoors. We began a series on academia and mythology. And, for several months, we ran a weekly news podcast that gave a summary of that week’s news on campus in four minutes or less.
We found that podcasts were a great way for us to connect with various communities on campus: students of color, artists, outdoors people, environmentalists and literature fans, to name a few.