From print to progress: College newspaper staff tackles multimedia

March 25, 2008

The McDaniel College Free Press launched its official website in January, but that’s just the beginning of what the editorial team has planned. By fall, they will add video content to the site, which is updated twice monthly. That’s why staff members jumped at the chance to attend a multimedia workshop at the Center for Innovation in College Media at Vanderbilt University in Nashville March 6-8.

“We weren’t there to learn how the news is changing,” says features editor Julie Guiffre '10, a Communication major. “We know that. We accept that fact. Now we have to adapt to the change.”

Guiffre attended, along with students Roxanne Fleischer ’10, Mike Habegger ’08, Geoff Peckham ’08 and Writing Center Director Lisa Breslin. The goal of the program was to motivate students to integrate new media into student publications. More and more people are looking to the Internet as their news source, and future journalists need to learn how to package stories for this venue. The workshop taught audio and video recording, editing, and online production.

“They let us loose on the streets of Nashville. We had to figure out how to shoot video, and spent time reporting stories in new ways,” says news editor Peckham, a Communication major. “We had the freedom to approach stories however we wanted.”

During the course of three days, 112 students, advisers and faculty from 40 colleges and universities produced 36 online story packages with videos, audio clips, maps and more. The four from McDaniel wrote stories and made videos about a local farmers’ market and crossing guards.

“It’s tough for people dealing in the new media,” says co-editor-in-chief Habegger, a Political Science major. “It’s incredibly stressful to shoot video, get sound and edit. You’re always running. People want immediacy. News now.”

Habegger is the brains behind the McDaniel Free Press website, says Lisa Breslin, who supervises the College newspaper.

“His passion is contagious,” Breslin says. “All of the changes happening now with the Free Press were launched by students. When they graduate, if they want to go into journalism, they have to have an awareness of the new media. The workshop is preparing them for the future.”

Click here to view the McDaniel Free Press:

Click here to watch videos created by students during the Vanderbilt workshop: