Best in show at Towson University
Yesterday, I was part of a judging panel for projects that demonstrated a semester's worth of research and hard work. I was happy to be part of the Towson University class and was looking forward to seeing what the students had done, after their participation on NewsTrust Baltimore.
Each student in Stacy Spaulding's Journalism 407 class, "Writing for New Media," worked a "beat" during the spring semester, focusing on a local topic. By the end of the class, the students had put together web packages of at least three stories and three multimedia pieces that explored the issue. Each student was responsible for the reporting, editing, posting, photography, videography, graphics, site design and final presentation -- a tall order, but the skills that "writing for new media" demands in a changing news landscape.
These students used NewsTrust Baltimore throughout the semester to compile research on their topics, and we found it to be a really valuable and effective use of our site and service.
In yesterday's class, the students gave short presentations about their projects, offering what they believed were the strongest points. I heard a lot of students say they were proud of their reporting, from deep sourcing to telling different sides of an issue, and many were pleased with how their overall sites and packages turned out. One student hand-coded her entire Wordpress site and built an extra page of reference material, as well as a mobile site; another said she worked for two days straight on making sure everything on her site matched her "detail-oriented" expectations.
The students then voted on four awards -- best reporting, best photos, best multimedia and best overall site -- and the four judges were to determine the best in show. I spent some time reading the students' work before yesterday's class, and I was impressed with the topic choices and work they'd done. The three other judges -- Tyler Waldman of Towson Patch, Nick DiMarco of Lutherville-Timonium Patch, and Cynthia Cooper, the communications chair at Towson -- and I awarded the top overall prize to Jennie Byrne, for her work on Defining Marriage in Maryland.
We agreed that Byrne told "the story behind the story," delving into what happened to the same-sex marriage bill during the recent Maryland General Assembly session, as well as explaining the work different organizations and people were doing related to the legislation. She discussed the future of the bill and what happened after it was sent back to committee in the House, effectively killing it for the year. Jennie's site design was clean and easy to navigate, and her multimedia added to the stories. She also did a fair amount of "on the ground" reporting, attending meetings and talking at length with key players. Her presentation yesterday was strong, and she didn't let her personal views on the topic affect her reporting or presentation. Great work, Jennie!
The other awards went to:
- Dan Baldwin, best reporting, for Homeless in Baltimore County
- Chris Paul, best multimedia, for Hunger in Maryland
- Brittani Bowling, best photos, for Reducing Bay Pollution
- Melanie Losover, best overall site, for The Greening of Baltimore
Congratulations to all the students in Spaulding's class, and thank you for using NewsTrust Baltimore in your studies!
Photo credit: Stacy Spaulding