Let’s face it: college journalists aren’t the best at following up on stories. I’ve been guilty of publishing an article, then proceeding to cover a different area of the university system. Months later, I’d remember an update to the original story was required, but find I had missed an important news event. When your college newspaper publishes three-week-old news because you weren’t doing your job, the embarrassment alone will convince you to get your act together.
It can also be difficult to keep track the release of news from outside sources. For example, our university has a habit of releasing university data and information to the web without informing the campus of its availability. Very important stories are sitting out on the Internet, but no one knows when or where to look.
There are tactics to counter these shortcomings. I’ve become better at time management and organization, a must for any journalist before they enter the “real world.”
College journalists should also create a network of sources who can alert them when news happens or something newsworthy becomes available. Working in concert with these strategies, the subject of today’s post has significantly helped me keep an eye on news at Webster University.
It’s called ChangeDetection.com, a web service which monitors text changes on websites. While that may sound boring, creative reporters can use ChangeDetection and be alerted when their college or university makes news. The Journal has broken news stories thanks to alerts from ChangeDetection, including articles on bonuses, endowment figures and enrollment data.
Check out how you can use changedetection.com to stay up on the news in your community. Leave a comment if you can think of other ways the tool can help student media.