The Southern Regional Press Institute was held on
campus this week at Savannah State University February 20-21. The theme of this year’s regional conference was about how to do it all in journalism as many graduates from SSU’s mass communications program will have to not only be a journalist, but will also need to have the hard and soft skills to be a photographer, videographer, and more in order to get the job done in the field.
A Thursday morning session entitled
“Hey Siri—Using Your Smartphone to Report, Write, Shoot, Edit, and Publish News” was directly tied to the theme, as it focused expressly on how to be successful in the field producing news content utilizing the very same device we each carry around daily.
Savannah Morning News online content producer Asha Gilbert and Briana Collier, weekend anchor/reporter at WTOC-TV in Savannah, Ga. spoke to students to give them tips and ideas about how to multitask successfully in the industry.
Both young women agreed that utilizing time wisely plays a large part managing story and project success.
Collier said, “Utilizing time wisely is a big deal—learn how to film standups, shoot projects, try to turn stuff into your deadlines. Deadlines are critical in this industry, and if you don’t get your story in on time, you put things in danger, especially if you’re producing a print edition. Oftentimes I’m working on a deadline so wherever I am, I need to get my laptop out, edit, and go. Getting it done on the move is critical to the job.”
Gilbert added saying, “Most of my stories are written out and then includes some kind of media to engage readers. Writing needs to have a faster turn-around. If you can’t turn a story around for the paper, you’ll get yourself in trouble.”
After sharing some tips with session attendees, Gilbert and Collier opened the room to questions.
Mass communications junior Destin Howard asked, “Do you prefer editing on your phone or on the computer?”
Gilbert responded by saying, “For me, I’ve been trained more on my phone. Having a good phone is very, very important. Sometimes the cameras at work are taken, so having a phone that works is important.”
Another mass communications student Harold Roberts asked Gilbert, “Do either of you think that there is any way to rekindle interest in print media?”
Gilbert said, “I don’t really think so, unless you’re the New York Times or USA Today, which is owned by Gannett, like the Savannah Morning News is under Gannett, but I don’t think there’s necessarily a way for a paper to have a resurgence or comeback. Everything is going digital and we need to be prepared for that.”