This semester we took something of a leap when we introduced J198 here at Lehigh. As students in our department you’ve always had the journalism focus as part of your studies. The only thing that was narrow was the platforms you learned about: writing, photography, maybe some online work here and there.
This semester we learned (in the words of Cassie) everything. Yeah, we learned video. And photos. And Twitter. And blogging. And Web building. And maps. And a little Gowalla. And SEO. And podcasting. But there’s a common thread there. We used it to build something greater than the whole, and that something was the story. If there’s one lesson I want you all to take away from this course it’s something Steph said during her group’s presentation: When we learn the technology to the point where operating the equipment is second-hand, you realize something: It’s always about the story. Always.
You learned a lot about technology and networks this semester, and that kind of information will be vital. But now that you’re at the end of the term, zoom out and see the big picture. See how this all works together. For example, we didn’t use Twitter because it is all-important. We used it to build up networks and relationships with people, to listen to them in shaping stories and work with them to promote the work you did. We used it to get information and push information.
And it works. For example, Google south+bethlehem+arts and what do you get at the top of your search hits? Why, the very site put together by Andrew, Lauren, and Ope. Why is this? Because it was set for SEO, it had a clear title that was reflected in the URL, and it was sold in social media by both you and your followers. In other words, “everything.” All of it was pointed toward benefiting from Google’s system of rewarding clicks over big media brands. (more…)