Areavoices wants to help you spread the news about your school or team. We’re looking for ALL schools, from institutions of higher education, to high schools to elementary schools. In my years in television news, one of the complaints I heard most was, “Why did your station cover so much of Team A, when our team should have gotten some coverage?” or “We have some great things going on in our school, but you guys don’t report enough of the good news.”
Areavoices blogging can help. By starting a blog, school officials, teachers and even students can tell the public, first hand, about school-related announcements, events and activities. You can spread the news yourself. The way you want it. Unfiltered. Unedited. Positive. You can also use the blogs to manage any negative news that might be coming from your school. You can post your press releases the way you wrote them. You break the news, instead of waiting for the media to do it for you.
Let’s look at four types of blogs related to schools:
1. OFFICIAL SCHOOL DISTRICT BLOG: Written by the school district media relations professional (or whomever you select). Use the blog much the same way you would use media release to deliver school news or make special announcements. It will be your words unchanged and unedited on our websites.
● 1. You are in control of your message. Every time you post to your official school blog it is published unchanged and unedited. Unlike, media releases you are not dependent upon the media to filter your message. You won’t worry that the media has left out important facts and gotten something wrong. It’s your message and as soon as you post its out there on your terms.
● 2. More people will see your announcements than if you rely upon them to solely access your website. More than 1.3 million people a month visit Forum Communications websites in the four state region of North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin. Chances are parents of your students are logging onto at least one of our 35 sites at least occasionally. You will have nearly instant contact with parents. For example, if you need to let school out early because of a blizzard, you can put it on your school blog and it instantly goes online.
● 3. Blog only as much as you’d like. The blog is there for you. You are not expected to meet blogging quotas. Just use the tool whenever you need to get information out to the public.
2. PROGRAM OR DEPARTMENT BLOGS – These are blogs written by teachers or professors in various departments or programs of a school.
● 1. Can share announcements with students who are enrolled in department classes. For example: a theatre department of a university can share information about their upcoming production, audition schedules, help needed, etc.
● 2. Great place to share the latest developments in that field of study. For example, a science department can share recent research or links to science journals.
3. ATHLETIC OR ACTIVITIES BOOSTERS BLOGS - These are blog written by parents, coaches or fans about sports teams or other school-related activities. One of the biggest complaints heard by broadcast and print journalists regarding coverage of school news is that they’re not adequately covering what they think needs to be covered. “Why didn’t you cover my kids’ game” “ Why did you spend so much time (or ink) on Team X, when Team Y deserved more attention?” “Why do you spend so much time covering sports when you should be covering theatre or speech and debate?” Now parents, coaches, and fans can supplement media coverage of their favorite sporting team or activity. They can write a recap of the game or a review of the school play complete with photos and video.
● The athletics/activities blog becomes a central clearinghouse for information, pictures and announcements regarding a particular sport, team or club. Special tabs have already been set up with each schools name, giving parents easy access to information both for necessity (when are team pictures? ) Or for fun (someone snapped a great shot of a receiver making a catch in the end zone)
● Greater awareness creates greater potential for successful fundraising for school clubs and organizations.
4. CLASSROOM BLOG -This would be a blog set up and run by a journalism class. Let’s face it, students leaving high school today are going into a world much different than in previous years. These students will not just find jobs working for newspapers, television and radio. These are students that will be expected to know the world of digital communication both as they go off to pursue employment or college. This offers them the chance to get their school news published on a real news website.
● This allows the journalism teacher to give his/her students a real life publishing opportunity while still being in control. IMPORTANT: Each journalism teacher would be set up as administrator or editor of the blog. Students will be authors or contributors. Nothing would get on the blog without the approval of teacher.
OTHER SCHOOLS AND BUSINESSES
North Dakota State University has a blog called NDSU News. In it, the media relations professional, posts news releases on such topics as the latest enrollment numbers or interesting speakers coming to town. It has given NDSU the ability to break news and do it in the way they like. In addition, the NDSU chemistry and biology departments have started a blog which makes science more understandable to the common man. Clubs at NDSU are also taking notice. The NDSU bowling club has started it’s own blog to post results. Most likely, you’d never see bowling results on a typical sportscast.
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