iâ€™m a journalist, Photographer, graphic designer and hopefully your newest csn editor. firstname.lastname@example.org
Nancy Hastings | Journalism Education Association Indiana Representative email@example.com
Munster High School Munster, Ind. Graduated 2012
Kaylen Ralph | The Maneater Projects Editor firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Missouri
Bachelor of Journalism, May 2016
Nassim Benchaabane | The Maneater University News Editor email@example.com
technical skills english portugese french german latin
indesign PHOTOSHOP BRIDGE ILLUSTRATOR
ap style slr photography google docs microsoft office wordpress audacity
work experience High School
Crier student newspaper Editor-in-Chief | 2010-2012 - worked with section editors to generate story ideas - edited entire publication prior to print - oversaw quality of all page designs, graphics and ads - wrote stories for publication Design Editor | 2008-2012 - designed all layouts for pages - designed infographics Paragon student yearbook Section Editor | 2011-2012 - worked with section editors to generate story ideas - wrote edited stories - designed layouts Photographer | 2011-2012 - took photos for print
College The Maneater student newspaper
Staff Writer, Staff Photographer and Designer | 2012-present - diversity beat writer for University News section - City Council beat writer for City, State and Nation section - wrote stories for Student Organizations, Crime, City, State and Nation, University News and Projects sections - took photos - designed pages and graphics
Post-Tribune | Northwest Indiana - April 2012 news coverage The Times | Northwest Indiana - 2012: wrote regular columns Visalia Times-Delta | Tulare County, CA - February 2012: covered Super Bowl Media Day The Indianapolis Star | Indianapolis, IN - May 2012: covered Indy500 Media Day
The Indianapolis Star | Indianapolis, IN - June internship with Metro News section Ball State University Journalism Workshops | Muncie, IN - July internship with workshop staff - produced stories, photos and video content for website
Other Indiana High School Press Association | Franklin, IN - student officer - planned conventions/symposiums - wrote/gave speeches for symposiums - promoted free student press /journalism education across state
Achievements/ Awards National Student Journalist-of-the-Year Runner Up | 2012
Quill and Scroll Gallup Scholarship in Journalism | 2012
Indiana Student Journalist-of-the-Year | 2012
Hoosier Stare Press Association Journalism Scholarship | 2012
Once upon a time, a girl named bia wanted to be a csn editor... I have had the incredible opportunity to work under some fantastic editors at The Maneater. Iâ€™ll always remember how Nassim spent seven hours with me in the newsroom on a Friday to edit the over 1,000 word Larry James story so we could get it up as soon as possible. And Iâ€™ll remember how Kaylen took extra time on a Sunday to help me with story structure at Starbucks. And Iâ€™ll remember how Molly helped me learn cut my long stories to sound more succinct and flow better. These people have helped me improve and grow as reporter and have taught me so much that I want to be able to provide new reporters with the experience and guidance that those editors gave to me.
AND MY ANSWERS TO THEM.
MU students could easily look to the Missourian or Tribune for city, state and national news. What’s the point in having it in The Maneater? Is it really student news?
MU students look to The Maneater for city, state and national news for two reasons. First, in regards to city news, I believe that reporters can be as competitive in providing information as the Tribune or The Missourian. We live in Columbia and we can get to City Council meeting, we can go to city events and we can interview, in person, city officials and community members. As the current City Council beat writer, there have been time when I’ve reported on a city issues and touched on aspects that other news outlets missed or didn’t think about. While breaking news can be difficult because we are at the disadvantage that our reporters don’t work full-time, like the ones at the Tribune, we can provide students and the community with a quality city reporting. But what makes Maneater coverage worth reading over other news outlets? Well, first, we don’t have a paywall, but the more important reason is my second reason: The Maneater provides coverage of city, state and national issues with a student angle. While other Columbia reporters cover these issues for a broader audience, The Maneater writes for a niche audience: MU students. Therefore, when The Maneater covers an issue, at the forefront of reporters’ minds is the student perspective. We think about how issues will impact students, what will most students care about, what should most students care about, and how will a student respond to it. Other news outlets care as much about students as Mayor Bob McDavid. MU population and provide the student angle that the other news outlets do not.
As CSN editor, how to you prioritize what gets covered and what doesn’t? Is there value to covering major national news at the expense of less exciting city issues?
The way to prioritize stories in the CSN section is to see what kind of impact they have on students and MU faculty. The MU population is The Maneater’s target audience and so our stories should reflect what is most important for that demographic. While city issues may not be as high-profile as national issues, they are usually the ones that more directly impact students. Also, since we don’t have reporters we can send to D.C. regularly, Columbia issues are the ones that our reporters can most thoroughly cover. However, this does not mean that State and National issues don’t have a place in CSN coverage. National and State issues that have impact on students should be covered by CSN. However, CSN coverage of these events and issues shouldn’t strive to be straight event coverage. That’s what the Tribune and the Missourian is for. These stories should focus on the student impact and strive to get student and MU opinions on the issues. That is what should set Maneater coverage apart from other coverage of the same issues: we provide the student angle. Therefore, I have developed a rough method for prioritizing coverage with a three pronged test. (Disclaimer: these obviously wouldn’t be hard and fast rules, but they can provide some guidance in the general prioritization of news)
get your priorities straight
Three pronged test for figuring out what to cover
1 Are any of the people involved either MU students, alumni or faculty? 2 Will this directly or indirectly impact MU students and/or faculty? 3 Is this information students need in the voting booth?
Explain your take on the difference between event and issue stories. How are the two related? Is one more important than the other? How would this be reflected in your coverage?
Event stories and issue stories are like clown fish and sea anemones: they have a symbiotic relationship. You can’t have issue stories without event stories and vice versa. They feed off each other. Event stories cover the basics: the who, what, when, where, how and why. On the other hand, issue stories delve deeper and focus on the underlying topics, problems or meaning of what is going on. For example, on Feb. 18, I wrote an event story about the City Council meeting and how council motioned to have a vote on whether or not to rescind the Providence Road Project. That story mainly focused on those 5 W’s and H. However, I then wrote an issue story which covered what problems in council and their policies led them to have to schedule that vote to begins with, how students were getting left out of a public process and how the new council could shift the culture of the previous council as shown in this vote. Events occur because of some issue. Therefore, event stories and issue stories work together. They are both equally important in the sense that we need to have both. But, issues stories are the more hard-hitting and deeper stories thus giving them more weight than event stories, especially since a goal of the new platform is to put more in-depth, long form stories, which would be issue stories, in the print edition. This would be reflected in my coverage this way. Event stories would go up Online as soon as possible after the event. Then using my editorial judgment I would pick which events feature the most important issues and then assign writers to cover a longer, more in-depth issue story for the print edition. If there is not enough room in the print edition, or if timeliness is an important factor (for example, getting an important issue story out before a council vote), then issue stories can simply go Online (and of course, whatever is in print will also be Online).
AND MY ANSWERS TO THEM.
What beats would you want under this section? What is the value of having a beat writer assigned to these topics/organizations?
Since the platform suggests roughly 15 beat writers, I estimated CSN could have possibly three beat writers. Therefore,I would want three beats under this section: two city beats, and one state/nation beat. The two city beat writers would not have the same job. Instead they would essentially be splitting the major points of coverage of the city. The first city beat writer would focus mostly on city government and some important commissions and community organizations. The second city beat writer would cover mostly crime, courts and other important commissions and community organizations. Crime reporting does entail special knowledge and skills and I believe having beat writer focusing primarily on crime coverage would maintain the quality crime coverage in the absence of having a crime editor. Since I anticipate that the crime coverage would be less on some days than the coverage under city beat one, city beat two writer would help pick up stories from city beat one if need be. The state and nation beat writer would prioritize in covering statehouse elected officials and Missouri’s congressional delegation when they come to Columbia, get involved in issues that affect Columbia, MU and/or students. They would also cover any national news of great importance to students. I firmly believe that beat writers are a key factor in making a section great. Good beat writers develop a rapport with key sources under their beat and through repeated coverage gain a unique understanding of the dynamics of their coverage area. Good beat writers know their topic so well that they can spot irregularities or trends that lead to good investigative projects reporting. For example, as City Council beat writer, I knew city government so well from covering it for months, that I noticed the trend of City Council’s missteps in the decade long Providence Road Improvement Project. This led me to write a projects story on the issue and prove in-depth coverage that was unique in Columbia.
Get to know the beat writers I’d have
CITY BEAT 1
CITY BEAT 2
• City Council • Public Works Dept. • City Manager • Public Transit • Major city government commissions such as, Historical Preservation, Environment and Energy and Columbia Leadership Council, etc. • Airport Advisory Board
• CPD • Boone County Sheriffs Dept. • Courts • Citizens Police Review Board • Columbia Police Officers Association • Help cover city beat 1, when many stories occur
• Missouri Statehouse • Missouri congressional delegation • National government and politics if relevant
What made you decide this is the section you wanted to lead? What makes you qualified to do so?
Everyone thinks that there must be something wrong with me to willingly go to every City Council meeting and stalk city officials, but it’s true, I love covering City Council. The CSN has been my home away from home and I’m usually there every production night working away at some city story post-city council meeting for Molly. I’ve come to know many of the other CSN beat writers and I love that we all share the geeky love for CSN and have conversations about the latest bill passed by or CPD’s bearcat. It’s crucial for MU students to be informed of city, state and national government and how it impacts them and I would love the opportunity to lead the section that serves that purpose. I am uniquely qualified for this position because of two reasons: my experience with CSN reporting and my diverse skill set. First is my extensive experience covering city government and issues as the City Council beat writer. I know Columbia like the back of my hand, despite not being a native. Through my work in my beat I have developed relationships with many key players in the city. I have most council members cell numbers in my phone. The Public Works Department Secretaries recognize my voice when I call. I regularly talk with CPD officers and various members of city commissions. I know how to cover Columbia and I know the trends, dynamics and key issues facing they city. My experience will help provide CSN as a whole with the expertise when it comes to city and government reporting. It will help me in the generation of story ideas and I can teach my beat writers how to develop and maintain the same rapport that I have with these sources. I have also written stories for non-city stories for CSN including national and state coverage (and, hey, I wrote about/took a photo of the Pope, NBD). Also I have written stories for Student Orgs, Crime and Projects sections. I am also qualified because I am well-rounded in my skill set. I have written nearly 50 stories, shot over 50 photos and designed pages and graphics. This allows me to look at my section in terms of the end product. I know what makes a good photo because of my photography background so I can generate visually appealing photo ideas. I know how much fits on a page and what kinds of information is better suited for graphic form. Additionally, I am also well rounded because of the wide-variety of reporting I have done at The Maneater and in other journalism experiences. I served as the diversity beat writer for the University News section since Fall semester.
What do you dislike about The Maneater’s current Outlook coverage, and how would you change it?
While the Maneater’s current CSN coverage has been of great quality there are many ways we can take it a step further, especially with the ideas in Ted and Delia’s platform. As I mentioned earlier, I believe Maneater reporters can be just as competitive with city coverage as other news outlets. Also, since we live in Columbia, we have the capability to do thorough reporting on city government and city issues. More often than not, Columbia issues are one that will most directly impact MU students. Therefore I would put more emphasis on covering city government and other Columbia stories than we do now. One way I’d do this is by having two city beat writers. Ted and Delia’s platform mentions increasing coverage of Columbia and my experience with city reporting will help CSN achieve this goal. Additionally, I want to go beyond the normal event coverage stories. While it is important to cover events, I want to put more emphasis on the impact and meaning of events. I want to make sure as many stories as possible address the question of why something is happening and how what it means for the MU population. I also want to make sure event stories that we do write, get put up Online as soon as possible. If a writer is doing straight event coverage, he/she should have it ready in no more than a few hours after the event. I will make myself as readily available to writers as possible when I know they are covering events for CSN.
At the end of a hypothetical term as CSN editor, what would you hope to have gained from the experience and how would you hope to have changed the section and the newspaper?
AND MY ANSWERS TO THEM.
At the end of my hypothetical term as CSN editor, I hope to have gained improved leadership skills, better and more extensive understanding of the newsroom and the process of putting together a publication. I also hope to become more versatile and dynamic in my writing and editing skills through editing other writers’ work. I hope to have changed the section by giving it an increased strength in covering Columbia and city news as well as becoming more prominent in Online coverage and more active with social media. I hope with accurate, high-quality and consistent CSN coverage after my term, city officials, community members and MU students and faculty use The Maneater as their go-to for student-focused coverage of Columbia news.
What personal characteristics of yours could make this job difficult? How would you overcome those? What would be your limits in this position? When would the work be too difficult or too much?
A personal characteristic of mine that could make my job difficult is my tendency to bite off more than I can chew. I tend to take too much on my plate and forget that I am only one human being and cannot write 36 stories in one day. Thankfully, this is a characteristic I am well aware of and I have already been working on learning how to balance my time. As an editor I would make sure to get as much work done ahead of time so nothing piles up. I will always have a set plan of my tasks and deadlines and I’ll model myself after the successful editors I have learned from this past year. This past semester I worked two beats, designed pages, shot photos and managed not to fail out of school so I believe I can continue to manage my time and my tasks if I am an editor. What would be my limits in this positions? None. I strive to push limits and always challenge myself to continue to better myself as a journalist. I want to make CSN the best section it can possibly be and I will stop at nothing to do that. When would the work be too difficult or too much? Never. Next question.
Visual elements are important in every section of the paper and have a growing presence Online. How would you take ownership of the graphics, photos and multimedia going into your section, and come up with creative visual ideas for your stories?
a: 10. a:
My experience as a staff photographer and designer will come to my aid if I am an editor. I know the components of good photos and can come up with visually appealing story ideas. I always have an inner “design” voice. What I mean by that is whenever I read a story, I automatically pick out the “graphic friendly” content. If I see a story with a lot of numbers or lists, I instinctively think, “that info would work as a graphic.” I have a visual eye that will help me generate plans for interesting graphics. I will be able to take ownership of graphics, photos and multimedia by always asking this question: what is the best/most efficient/reader friendly way to present this information? Lists and numbers work better in graphics. Visual graphic comparisons help readers see the bigger picture more effectively. Readers prefer to see dates on a time line. Detailed events can have photo slide shows Online. These are all factors I will keep in mind when planning story packages.
How do you balance your coverage in print and Online? What distinguishes the two, and how can the mediums work together to cover stories most effectively? Print and Online are also have a symbiotic relationship. They work together to provide readers with information as effectively as possible. I would use Online coverage to we break news, provide immediate event coverage, put stories that don’t fit in the print edition, provide interactive elements and multimedia. Print is where we go in-depth and provide feature angles to stories. The mediums work together in multiple ways. First, we can cross-promote on both print and Online. In addition, readers can find more information on developing stories they read in print by looking at follow up stories Online. Also, Online lets us continuously add and update stories. I mentioned earlier I wanted to expand social media coverage. My goal for myself, CSN writers, and especially my beat writers, is to add to our coverage with twitter. I am a huge advocate of live-tweeting and engaging with the audience through twitter. Nassim had me live-tweet the Larry James protest and I tweeted background info so students knew what was going on and why, I tweeted updates and photos and answered readers’ questions about what was happening. This was an effective way to supplement to work I was doing for the site and the print edition and engaged readers in the story.
let’s play pretend.
After a month or two of solid writing, one of your beat writers starts having problems. You’re getting complaints from sources and a couple of important story topics have been missed. What do you do?
If after a month or two of solid writing, my beat writer started having problems I would do the following. First, I would have a one-on-one meeting with the writer and try to figure out what is the cause of the problem. Is the writer going through a difficult personal issue? Are they getting overwhelmed by the work? Are they just getting lazy? After that I would address the problem by going over with them what they missed and how they should improve in their assignments in the future. I would notify executive editors to alert them of the problem and ask for any additional advice in handling the situation. For the next few days I would sort of hover and double check the areas that the writer is assigned to so I can have my bases covered and also provide a helping hand if that writer is going through a hard time or needs additional coaching. I would set a time frame with my writer for their improvement: if they don’t shape up in a few days, then we would have to consider discontinuing their work as a beat writer.
A few weeks into the year, content is stale. Online content is coming in hours late and material in the paper lacks depth. How do you get the section back on track?
I would start by looking at the current way I manage my section and try and identify what isn’t working and how I can change it. I would look to other section editors and how they manage their sections and try to model myself after them. I also would meet with my executive editors and discuss what needs to improve and ask for advice in improving the section. Additionally, I would commit extra hours in the newsroom to edit more often and get content Online faster as well as spend more time one-on-one with my writers to go over their assignments and instruct them on how to go more in-depth with coverage.
favorite story ever
Covering the Providence Road Project
I recently did a two-part feature on the Providence Road Project and the issues surrounding it. This may not sound like a particularly interesting story, I mean it’s about widening of roads, but it was by far my favorite story to work on. I came up with the idea for the project while working my City Council beat. I noticed a sort of animosity between the Historic Preservation Commission and some council members and so I dug a little further and saw that this issue had been raising a lot of controversy and the HPC raised some concerns about the legality of Council’s vote on the project. I covered the event story when the motion was passed to have a vote on whether or not to rescind it and then I went to Kaylen with the idea of doing a project on the issue. I saw that the issue had been covered in many event stories on other Columbia news outlets, but no one did a large story that covered the entire issue and highlighted the decade long process of the Providence Road Project. I wanted to do a feature to give readers all the information in one place so they could understand the context and scope of it, to highlight the student impact and to show how this issue highlights a problematic council. I worked with Kaylen for nearly two months on this project, talked over 15 sources and sifted through hundreds of pages of Columbia city records. It was hard work and at times I wanted to punch council members in the face, but it was worth it. This story challenged me to make a seemingly bland topic engaging, to research effectively and to structure a very complex issue in a way readers can easily understand.
part one: http://www.themaneater.com/stories/2013/4/9/providence-road-pothole-confusion/ part two: http://www.themaneater.com/stories/2013/4/12/columbia-city-council-likely-rescind-original-prov/
story ideas 1. >>
let’s get creative.
How does Columbia stack up when it comes to ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements?
This has come up at nearly every City Council meetings. ADA representatives and disabled Columbia residents come to council and present their case as to why Columbia doesn’t adequately meet the needs their disabled population requires. This ranges from parking spots, airport accommodations, public transit accessibility and park usage. There have also been complaints that disabled people need a bus that goes to city hall so they can go to council meetings and participate in civic issues. I want to do an investigative feature that takes a look at how does Columbia stack up compared to similar college towns and other cities in Missouri. I would also like to look into why is Columbia so behind with this problem and how this affects Columbia residents, MU students and faculty, with disabilities. Does this limit their access to jobs or getting around town and if so, to what extent? How much would it cost the city to make all these improvements and are there plans in the works to do so?
Did a company pay off Columbia residents to stop opposing a rezoning request?
A company submitted a rezoning request to City Council to build a Break Time convenience store at Grindstone Parkway and Rock Quarry Road. Initially many residents in the area opposed this because it would heighten traffic in the area and could jeopardize the safety in the area. However all of a sudden about a week ago, the leaders of the opposition (a few residents from the area) dropped their plans to oppose the store. One resident mentioned that the company offered financial compensation to the residents around the area if they stopped the opposition. We could do a story about looking into the legality of companies paying off people. Does it conflict with the city’s Code of Ordinances? Would that convenience store really jeopardize the safety of that area? Will council accept the rezoning request? I would like to do an infographic that show a photo of what some features in the city look like, and then a photo or graphic of they would look like if they were up to par with ADA requirements.
How CPD spends their money (because, you know, BearCats are necessary and whatever).
One thing that struck me when the BearCat discussion happened between City Council and CPD, was that everyone kept bringing up the fact that CPD is already understaffed and needs new police cars. So why did they just buy a BearCat? But this story wouldn’t solely focus on the BearCat, I want to take a look at those two issues: number of officers and new cars. How does this impact CPD’s performance? Who decides what CPD purchases? Multimedia idea: One thing that circulated a few weeks around the Internet was that video of the BearCat on Youtube. I think it would be cool if you could get CPD to give us a “tour” of the BearCat. We could take a series of photos of the features of the vehicle and then create a click through interactive graphic Online that takes the reader through a tour of the BearCat.
Crime rates in Columbia and why they are going up.
When he was running for reelection, I spoke with Mayor Bob McDavid about crime in Columbia and brought up an interesting point: Although crime in Columbia isn’t as bad as a city like Chicago, while the national crime rate is going down, Columbia’s crime rate has been going up. I would like to look into this and try and find possible sources of this rising crime rate. What could be causing it? How is CPD, MUPD and the city going to tackle it? Are they going to try a new approach for crime management, why or why not? How does Columbia’s crime rate and crime trends (as in which crimes happen most frequently) compare to similar college towns? Multimedia idea: we can create an Online infographic of a map of Columbia and when you click on a ward it would show the crime statistics for that ward.
Special election for a vacant U.S. house seat. There will be a special election in Missouri’s 8th district June 4 to fill a vacant U.S. House of Representative seat. Although it isn’t in our district, I would like to do some kind of coverage on this since Missouri politicians on the national level do technically represent the state as whole. The story would cover the leading candidates, a breakdown of their stances on current issues such as job creation and gun control. I would like to see what students from orgs like MU democrats and MU republicans think about the candidates and how they could play into national politics.