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How does the University Post decide what to report?

EDITOR'S BLOG - Loads of stuff happens. But only some of it gets into the English-language media at the University of Copenhagen. How is it planned and selected?

There is never a day when there is not something to report on. After all, the University of Copenhagen is like a city of more than 50,000 in a metropolis of a million.

So we have to try and sift through all of the events and happenings, and somehow turn it into news coverage, background, and comment on the things that are important to students, researchers and staff.

At the University Post newsroom we have one editor, one student assistant (a part-time job shared between three students).

Student reporters and volunteers

We all get in early morning and start going through e-mails, news feeds and Twitter feeds at our computers. We then sit down together for our first meeting at 8.30 am and go through our plans for the day.

Most of the content that gets into the University Post comes either from our group of student reporters, or our larger extended network of volunteers and user contributors.

Their articles, reports, or photos will have come in from the previous day or night, uploaded into our University Post dropbox. So the 8.30 meeting is to decide who edits, gives feedback to reporters, and takes responsibility for each article.

Fixed set of criteria

Like all news media, we use criteria to judge whether something is newsworthy: These include importance, relevance, timeliness, and whether we have someone available who can cover the story. In our case, a criteria is also whether stories have been reported on other University of Copenhagen channels like the university’s website ku.dk, the internal website for staff or students KUnet.dk, or the Danish-language news site Uniavisen.dk.

Finding the reporters or other writer volunteers to cover all the events, issues and debates at the University of Copenhagen is our biggest challenge.

We try to plan our way out of it at our bi-weekly editorial meetings. Here our student reporters volunteer a couple of hours of their time to pitch issues and events that they think should be reported on. The best ideas are assigned to student reporters, and everyone at the meeting then brainstorms on a specific topic. Every editorial meeting ends with a ten-minute mini-course by someone from the University Post on some specific topic like Twitter, photo reporting, or phone interviews. This is so we can all sharpen our skills.

Everything, or nearly

So far I have only mentioned the University Post newsroom and our student reporters. But a large number of story ideas and finished articles also come to us from a larger extended network of volunteering students, scientists and staff. So a decision to cover something will often just be based on the simple fact that we have the report or feature coming in from the writer at hand.

Next door to us is a Danish-language site and magazine – Uniavisen. With them we share our underlying web platform, photos on our sites, and a kitchen. We also help them with story ideas and vice versa. Sometimes they have a good story that we at the University Post may pick up and extend. We may even opt to do a shorter English-language version of one of theirs.

So, in summary, we try to cover just about everything at the University of Copenhagen. But we never actually get there.

And we depend on the goodwill of you, our dear readers, for story ideas, comments and articles. So keep them coming!

miy@adm.ku.dk

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