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Highlights and tips from my time with CSU Social

New Job…Sorta

Starting in January I will be transitioning out of working for CSU Social and moving into fully working for CVMBS Communications. I have been doing social media for the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital for the whole time I have had this internship, however, I have also been doing content and other things for CSU’s Social accounts. Starting in January, I will likely be doing less social media and more photography and videography for CVMBS Communications. I will be doing work for the college’s Source page, website, and the magazine.

I would first like to highlight some of my accomplishments and highlights over the last year.

My First Story

two dogs in car

Bailey and Loki ready to go home after Bailey’s CCL surgery.

My top highlight from the last year of this internship was my first story. I wrote this story about an Instagram-famous dog that came to the Vet Hospital. You can read my story here!

My First Publication

veterinarian performing surgery on a dog

Dr. Brian Scansen performing surgery on a dog at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

I received my first publication over the last year on a national cardiology news website. While this was only one photo, it was a huge win for me.

Football Games

football players celebrating

Warren Jackson celebrating a touchdown at the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

I have been a lifelong CSU football fan because my grandpa played football here in the 1950s. This fall I got to take photos at a few of the games for Social and it was the coolest thing ever.

Impact Magazine

Veterinarian performing surgery

Dr. Brian Scansen performing surgery on a dog at the CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital.

Last winter/spring I got to contribute to the CVMBS Impact Magazine with a few photos. I hope to work for a magazine after school, so this was the coolest opportunity to get to take photos for Impact.

The Team

Out of all the amazing opportunities this internship has blessed me with, I think the biggest blessing of all was the team. It was the most supportive, fun, and caring work environment I have ever been part of!

Tips and things I have learned

Content Creation

The thing that took me longest to learn was finding and creating content. This fall when I began my transition out of CSU Social, I had to sort of learn to find and create content without someone always telling me what to do. This meant looking for user generated content to repost, looking for potential stories on source to post on social, finding new things to take photos of, and awkward trips to the Vet Hospital alone to try and find content. Through this trial and error experience and using what I had learned over the last several months, it helped me to come up with a process for content creation.

Here is a simple three-step process for creating content:

  1. Know your audience – Who follows you? What posts do well? What posts do not do well?
  2. Brainstorming – What have we never done before? What are other accounts doing and how can we make that our own?
  3. Creativity – What message are you sending? How will you send it? Given that you know your audience, how do you want them to feel when they see your post?

Finding and Creating A Story

When I discovered my first potential story, it happened almost by accident. I was on the Vet Hospital Instagram and I saw a story posted by the owner of an instagram famous dog that I have personally followed for years. I saw that they were at the Vet Hospital. I began frantically typing an email and CC’ing everyone I knew who could write this story, and I offered to take the photos. I did not expect to be the one writing the story, because first, I am a student intern and, second, I took one news writing class a year ago. Turns out, I was the one who got to write the story and photograph it. My first story just sort of fell in my lap and it worked out so perfectly. However, this might not always be the case. The best thing to know is whether or not it is newsworthy. For my story, the newsworthiness was not the fact that a dog was having a CCL repair surgery, but rather that the dog was Instagram famous. It is always important to be on the lookout for potential stories and to apply the content creation process when looking for a story.

Here are some tips about creating newsworthy stories:

  1. Audience – Who will be reading your story? Will it perform well as a social media post, too? Who is going to read it?
  2. Newsworthiness – Does it have an emotional appeal? Will people click on it or scroll past it? Is it controversial? If so, perhaps you might consider how to write it in a way that does not require a side to be taken.
  3. Putting it together – Do you have quotes from the subject? Is it easy to read? Is it attention grabbing? Is the visual layout aesthetic or jumbled? Are there pretty photos, links, and/or videos embedded?

Photography

I have learned three new types of photography through this job: photography for social media, news stories, and magazines. It is important to understand the process for taking and creating a photo for each of the different platforms. Coming into this job, I only knew how to use a camera, I did not understand the content creation process or the story finding and creation process.

Here are some tips for photographing each platform:

  1. Social Media – Does it fit the aesthetic of your account? Is it pretty? Is it something that your followers will engage with? Will they like it? Share it? Comment on it?
  2. News – Does it show what is being told in the story? Is the image clear? Would readers know what the story is about if the text was not there? News photojournalism typically shows the story, but does not tell the story.
  3. Magazine – Does the photo fit the aesthetic of the magazine? Do the colors in the photo go with the colors of the magazine? Does the photo tell a story? It is important to tell the story with your photo, not show it.

All of these tips are based off of my own experience and what I have learned, they are not the only way, nor are they in accordance to any written rules of journalism.