College news editors from around the country developed their journalism and leadership skills at this year’s Management Seminar for College News Editors (MSCNE) held at the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication July 23-28.
MSCNE, created 22 years ago, is designed to teach skills these student media leaders can apply to their roles as both college news editors and as emerging young journalists about to enter the workforce. The seminar consisted of 17 panels with 15 unique presenters from organizations including USA Today, Creative Loafing Atlanta, Google News Lab, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, CNN, The Dallas Morning News, Student Press Law Center, and Social News Desk.
Throughout the week, the editors learned foundational principles to become effective reporters. One takeaway from the seminar was to never compromise on quality in reporting.
“We want the students to leave this week of training with the understanding that the journalism they produce will be the most important thing they do as a college news editor. We want them to understand the quality of that work should be their priority,” said Keith Herndon, director of the James M. Cox Jr. Institute for Journalism Innovation, Management and Leadership, which hosts the conference.
The growing importance of digital news platforms was another theme of the week. Students learned how to use social media to help their organizations gain audience.
“It became evident very quickly that social media was going to change how we curate news, distributed news, and plain old how we did our jobs,” said Kim Wilson, founder of Social News Desk.
Students took a day trip to Atlanta where they toured the headquarters of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and the CNN center and participated in discussions with editors and producers at both visits.
To practice the skills and concepts taught at the seminar, the students participated in a breaking news exercise. The exercise mimicked an event that would warrant major news coverage, and the students were split into teams to cover the event.
Each reporting team had four hours to produce a web page, a written story, a video, and a podcast based on their reporting of the breaking news event. Students were critiqued and given feedback by independent field producer Mike Fomil, freelance journalist Billy Weeks and Piedmont College assistant professor Joe Dennis.
The exercise reinforced that working in the news industry is unpredictable, and demonstrated how essential it is to maintain composure even in the most stressful situations.
“As editors… everyday, things are going to come at you that you don’t see coming,” said freelance photographer Billy Weeks. “You are going to have to figure out how to make the correct decisions.”
More photos found here.