Educating Tomorrow’s Media Today

Administered by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, the Scripps Howard Foundation Visiting Professors in Social Media Program funds an incredible summer immersion opportunity for a select six academic professors (one being our very own Dr. Laveda Peterlin, digital communications program director) to “work” at the-best-of-the-best media outlets around the country—learning first-hand how social media teams handle information delivery and how they’re transforming information delivery to every one of us.

“Being a part of WEWS was inspiring. I experienced up-close what news gathering and dissemination looks like today and how social media has transformed the world of journalism in ways I never imagined. We’ve seen profound changes this past decade in the use of social media—and reading about them only does so much … experiencing them gave me an entirely new and awesome perspective to bring to my students.” – Dr. Laveda Peterlin

Recently, Pew Research Center for Journalism & Media released a confirming statistic saying there’s been no change in getting news on social media in 2018. Currently, it’s steadily sitting at 68 percent of U.S. adults claiming to get their news on social media. That’s big—and a big reason why Dr. Peterlin was ecstatic about this chance to work at WEWS Digital Media Team in Cleveland, Ohio.     

Over the course of her two-week stay, Dr. Peterlin conducted more than a dozen interviews with employees—from video editors to technical directors, from reporters to the news desk—and what she took away has already transformed her teaching this fall.

Putting It All Together

Dr. Peterlin’s Applied Electronic Journalism class now includes a “Monday Meeting,” mimicking the story-generation process in the WEWS newsroom (and the students love it!). Students come with a bucket of ideas, and from this brainstorming, they then go off and craft deadline-driven stories for the Web (just as though they were working at WEWS). She’s also shared the station’s current creative proposals, formally depicting social media as part of the station’s creative campaign, and she’s sharing ways to measure the effectiveness of social posts—critical to building a platform with strong and audience-focused content.

An added bonus to the visiting professorship is the Digital Director of WEWS Channel 5, Joe Donatelli, will be coming to our campus next semester. Donatelli will serve as a guest lecture for a social media class, and he will also be a part of a luncheon for all students to discuss how social media has become such an integral part of modern journalism.

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