CMA Conference Presentation On Localization

Beyond Campus: How to Cover National News

LOCALIZATION is about reader engagement. The theory of localization is to take a national or regional story idea and make it suitable for your college newspaper by making it specific to at least one of three areas: Your campus, your location, or to the overall experience of college life.
Your goal is to understand the CONCEPT that national newspapers are writing about and then strip away all sources the previous story used, and then find new sources that fulfill your specific needs. It allows the opportunity for some fun investigative and enterprising features.

FIND YOUR EXPERTS! Who can speak about this topic intelligently?

CAMPUS:
A) Professors
B) Administrators
C) Clubs
D) Students general opinion
– Students who are active/aware, or who have experienced it
– On Campus Polls – 200 is a strong number
EXAMPLE: A poll presented by Pew Research Center stated half of United States citizens could not pass a general test on world religions. How can we localize?
EXAMPLE: Gun control may be the hottest topic in the country. Who can we speak to bring that story’s relevance to our campus?

LOCAL AREA:
A) Regional Experts
B) Alumni
C) Students who live, dine or travel throughout the area
EXAMPLE: An owner of a local pizzeria is arrested for drug distribution that was taking place inside his restaurant. The establishment is off-campus, but it is a favorite local hangout of students. Is it a story?
EXAMPLE: Last January, the FBI scored the largest single arrest in Mafia history in New York. Can we make this relevant to our campus? Should we call the FBI? Would they call us back?

COLLEGE LIFE:
A) Experts from any area
B) Officials from local, state or federal agencies
C) Company spokesmen
D) Industry experts
E) College student from another college

TIPS
– Understand the essence of the story
– DO YOUR OWN RESEARCH. DO NOT TAKE WHAT IS WRITTEN AS FACT. BE A JOURNALIST, WHICH MEANS FIND YOUR OWN SOURCES AND CONDUCT YOUR OWN INVESTIGATION. THIS MAY MEAN YOU FIND DIFFERENT CONCLUSIONS. SO BE IT.
– Scrap all of their sources. Find your own. Do not use quotes from the other articles.
– Your national story quoted a power player? Why can’t yours? CALL PEOPLE. All they can say is no.
– If a national story attributes information to a certain document, study or report, seek out that document yourself. See the information with your own eyes.

MORE EXAMPLES:

1) Radar reveals buried channels on Mars
Scientists peering below the surface of Mars have for the first time detected a maze of channels apparently created by past flooding. Such geologic features are easily spotted on the Martian surface, but researchers have not been able to find them underground until now.
2) Tattoos No Longer A Kiss Of Death In The Workplace
Almost everyone in the 14 percent pool of tattooed Americans has heard something like this from a relative or friend. But as the number of inked Americans grows, is the traditional assumption that tattoos and jobs don’t mix really true in 2013?
Workplace tattoo policies vary among and within industries. But with many contemporary companies stressing commitments to diversity and inclusion, tattoos are becoming increasingly unproblematic across the board.

3) College tuition soars as states reduce funding

Growing enrollments and declining state budgets have been putting the squeeze on colleges and universities for the past 25 years, but the problem got a lot worse last year, says a new report from the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association. That’s bad news for college students and their families, because it falls to them to make up the difference. The percentage of college costs supported by tuition has climbed steadily from 23 percent in 1987 to 47 percent in 2012. Average tuition rates in the U.S. climbed a record 8.3 percent last year.The vice-grip is worse for Utah schools, where money from the state declined by 26.6 percent since 1987, more than at the majority of schools around the nation. The national average for declines in state funding for higher education is 23.1 percent.n n

4) U.S. Catholics Divided On Church’s Direction Under New Pope (Pew Research)

– Prof. Michael Perrota, Mercy College. Michaelperrota.com or Tweet @mperrota

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