12.03.2013

Discussion Assignment Following Our Visit to USA Today Dec. 3

Class, before the start of the next class Dec. 10, please post a comment below this post, describing what most surprised you about our visit to USA Today, and what impressed you. Please remember that this blog is live for all to see, so be tactful with your comments.

13 comments:

Danny Golden said...

The thing that surprised me the most about USA Today was the newsroom itself. Not only was it expansive, it was incredibly modern and efficient. When I think of a "newsroom" I think of more of the old-fashioned set up that isn't as personal. The way they have things set up at USA Today seems like it is the prefect way to run a newsroom - open and integrated.

The journalists/employees themselves were what impressed me the most. They all had so much insight and commentary into the world of journalism. The fact that they were all able to adjust to the new world of journalism that includes multimedia and social media elements is very impressive and their ability to learn on the fly has put them where they are today: one of the best publications in the country.

Rachel Barron said...

What surprised me the most about our visit to USA Today was the stress everyone placed on the importance of being able to shoot and edit video in addition to report and write stories. At my previous internship experience, the publications were still in the process of adding more video, so the staff was not as technologically savvy with regard to video. I understand that a lot of news organizations are stressing video in addition to print, but seeing it in-person at USA Today made it a lot more real to me.

It impressed me that a lot of USA Today's staff did not come from a journalistic background (however, this also makes me nervous). It is really interesting to see people come into the journalism field after studying a variety of different things in college. It shows that these people can take their expertise from their undergraduate study and apply it to create quality journalism. This is also concerning, though, because it seems like graduating with a degree in journalism may not necessarily put a job candidate ahead of one who graduated with, say, an English degree.

Jared Wasserman said...

What surprised me the most about our visit to USA Today was the sheer size of the building and the technologically advanced equipment that was employed by all departments. We were told that the lights to the studio were $25,000 each, so I can only imagine what the costs of all of the Mac computers, flat-screen TV's over the hub, and broadcasting equipment amounted to. People say that the journalism business is dying but it seems to be thriving at USA Today. I was also surprised by the number of employees that worked for the publication. It seemed that every possible job description and individual skill set could be employed under the Gannett Company umbrella.

What impressed me the most was the extraordinarily bright, innovative, hardworking and interesting people that shared their personal experiences with us throughout the day. From fashion reporters to social media experts to producers to on-air personalities to graphics people, it was truly amazing to see such a collection of talented people at the pinnacle of the news profession. Our trip enlightened me to the type of person it takes to be successful in a business that evolves constantly. I was also impressed with the passion that Brent Jones had for leaving a legacy of journalists whom he's helped along the way and the time he commits to the internship program. It was refreshing to see the USA Today Standards Editor care so deeply about people who are just breaking into the industry.

Natalie Tomlin said...

What surprised me the most about our trip to USA Today was the capacity of the newsrom and of the USA Today/Gannett building itself. After interning at WTOP last summer, I suppose I am more familiar with smaller newsrooms, so the size of USA Today's was very overwhelming and impressive. It also surprised me that the layout of the newsroom made it seem less hectic than you may picture a newsroom to be. Although it did seem busy, I think we tend to imagine newsrooms as chaotic and extremely fast-paced, but it actually seemed more organized and calmer than I expected. Since WTOP's newsroom is smaller and there are radio broadcasters constantly on the air, it always felt very energetic and busy. These differences are partly because WTOP is a local radio station, and USA Today is a national news organization. I still felt the classic newsroom vibe on Tuesday but with a modern twist that I didn't expect.

I was so impressed with all of the journalists who spoke to us in the conference room. Whenever I hear passionate journalists speak, I become even more passionate about what I am studying. It is so refreshing to hear professional journalists talk about what they love about their careers and how both the industry and their career paths have evolved over time. Hearing about the myriad of job titles at USA Today reminded me that a career in journalism can go in so many directions. It feels daunting because the industry is demanding each individual to have a great variety of skills, but it is mostly exciting because it means that we have lots of options when we graduate and that we will continue to be life-long learners. After visiting USA Today, I am definitely interested in their internship program!

Chloe Leshner said...

I really enjoyed our trip to USA Today. What surprised me the most was that there is a place for broadcast students there. I always think of USA Today as more of a place for print students and it made me really excited to know that as a broadcast student, I could fit in there. I really liked how reporters get their own short video show to be in.

What impressed me the most were the people who worked there and how each of them mentioned that they started off in one field and over time had to adapt to a different job. I was really impressed by Arienne Thompson. She literally has my dream job. This trip made me really open to outlets other than a TV station or news program. I could definitely see myself working there and am going to look into their internship program.

Dan Servodidio said...

During our class trip to USA Today, I learned a few very interesting things about them and their newsroom. One thing that surprised me was the fact that their video studio was embedded in the middle of the newsroom - not even separated by clear or soundproof walls. I've seen news studios built with a newsroom in the background before, but not in the way that USA Today did it - where the stage, lights and cameras are just a few feet from reporters working away at desks.

I was also very impressed at how many TVs that USA Today had posted all around their newsroom. It is essential that a newsroom have something like this so that they can get news in real time. However I was extremely impressed by the circle of TVs that surrounded some desks overhead in the middle of the newsroom. Each TV had a different news channel on, and one even had the USA Today website streaming on it. If I were to work in a newsroom, this is one aspect I'd definitely look for.

John Borg said...

I was actually pretty surprised by the opportunities they have for broadcast majors. You always think of USA Today as a print source for news, but they seem to have a good amount of internship and job opportunities for those of us who are. I guess this can be attributed to the increased integration of the print and broadcast mediums; the advent of the internet has allowed journalism to become a much more consolidated profession, with many print journalists working on videos and vice versa.

Kind of similar to this, I was impressed by the video studio the company had in the middle of the office. I'm so used to seeing production studios and equipment in its own, separate area, so seeing USA Today's studio in a very open setting. I also thought it was cool that the video production did not distract the other workers in the office; despite being in the center of the office, the studio did not seem to disturb the happenings in the office.

Sung-Min Kim said...

The building itself was quite surprising. From the distance, I could tell that it would be a very modern and polished just by looking at how it was built - tall and glassy. Going inside the building, I felt that it is easily one of the cleanest buildings that I have entered. I visited the new NPR building earlier this semester and just like USA Today, they also prided in having a very well-built and clean building structure and eye-pleasing design. Not only the building was big, but inside, it seemed like it was built to be very effective for workers. Elevators were quick and different newsrooms were just a short walk away from each other. Overall, it seemed like a very nice workplace - definitely a dream space to work for journalists.

I was quite impressed by not only the working condition, but also the journalists working there. They were very approachable yet had a lot to tell to prospective journalists like us. One important aspect that need to be reminded is that, a lot of accomplished writers or designers all started from lower level and had to prove themselves on that level in order to advance to the next.

Wheres Wendy said...

Rachel Walther

Honestly, what immediately surprised me about USA Today was the beauty and quality of the building. It's a superficial thing but I always go to journalism organizations expecting a frugal-inspired building because of the industry decline and am repeatedly surprised by marble flooring. USA Today was beautiful and huge, it literally includes everything a person could possibly need. No coming into work late because of a dentist appointment in there.

Aside from the building I was pleasantly surprised by the emphasis on multi-platform journalism. I would love to host a Web show, write and article and continue my Web and coding education in the same work week. I was very impressed by USA Today.

Marquis Goodwin said...

Having visited major media outlets like ABC News before the grandeur nature of the building for USA Today and its newsroom were not as shocking to me as it may have been for some other classmates. I expected to see countless computers and studio settings fixed within close proximity to the newsroom. I also knew no expense would be spared in such a big outlet, lending to the marble floors. Nonetheless what I was surprised about was the size of the production workers, along with their placement. I did not expect to find a floor full of people that solely worked on the nuts and bolts of the website and not the content. As a person that wants to go into production I was glad to see most of the office space was dedicated to the people doing the work that often goes unnoticed or recognized.

Secondly, I was most impressed by the diversity. Maybe it was part of the plan that since students were coming to visit, those speaking to the students would be a diverse group, but regardless I was happy to see those who are often marginalized gaining ground it what is quite honestly one of the more covert racist fields. We were exposed to minorities who had higher standing than just foot soldier reports. People in power positions were minorities, whether it be minority races or women. To say the least this was very impressing.

Elizabeth McKelvy said...

What surprised me the most about the USA Today newsroom was actually how quiet it was. Yes, people seemed to be working hard, but the newsroom as a whole was quieter than I expected. TV shows and movies always make newsrooms out to be crazy busy, with people shouting across the room and running around frantically. At USA Today, everyone was just working at their desks, or at the center portion of the newsroom, keeping to themselves for the most part.

What most impressed me about USA Today was how motivated everyone that we talked to was. Each person that we talked with seemed to have so many talents. They said they could write, do video, work on the website--just overall were very good and talented journalists. Everyone seemed to be working on a new upcoming project. Their motivation and dedication to the business of journalism.

Jasmine Song said...

What impressed me and surprised me the most was the make-shift broadcast studio they had set-up in the middle of their offices. I expected there to be a rather large private studio used solely for broadcasting content, but that was not the case. Instead, the USA Today correspondents had a stage built, equipped with lights and other fixtures that would normally be used in a large broadcast studio. They were able to quickly record and broadcast content without the need for a large production team.

Chelsea Jordan said...

I was most surprised by how large the news room was and how much technology they had everywhere. I have visited the Baltimore sun newsroom several times this semester. It was a lot smaller and smaller, with less people and technology. I think this is testament to the different priorities or each news organization. The Sun is more of a traditional newspaper while USA today has a huge online component. Still, seeing a busy and bustling newsroom was a pleasant surprise.

I was really impressed with their plans for their local news sites and how they hoped to expand and improve their online presence. The people also seemed really encouraging and positive about our future as journalists and the future of the industry.