LaPorsche Thomas, 11Alive Digital Producer and Grady Alum: Guest Curator for October 2019

To further our mission to talk about process and quality in journalism, each guest curator has highlighted what he or she sees as the “don’t want to miss” pieces posted to Grady Newsource that month, along with some constructive reflection about the journalism.

About This Month’s Guest Curator 

LaPorsche Thomas is a digital producer at 11Alive in Atlanta. Before joining the 11Alive team in November 2018, she was a on-air digital correspondent and digital producer at WRBL in Columbus, Ga.  Thomas enjoys contributing to the digital space through creating specialized entertainment and influencer-based lifestyle content catered to a digital-first audience, analyzing analytics to examine successes and contributing to the digital conversation. Thomas received an A.B.J in Digital & Broadcast Journalism and a B.A. in Communication Studies from the University of Georgia.

"Following The Money: Georgia 2020 U.S. Senate Race" by Francisco Guzman

This story is a great example of using graphs to guide people. People will probably only read the first two sentences and then move on to the graphs since they are so eye-catching. I would challenge you all to make an interactive graph to bring up your story's engagement time.

"Community Raises More Than $4,000 For Commerce Girl Battling Illness" by Bailey Walker

Stories that pull on your heartstrings tend to do very well. With a few tweaks, like the headline, this story would probably soar on 11Alive's Facebook page. I love how you all are breaking the stories up into sections, so the reader can follow along (or, realistically, skip to the part they care about). I've learned that's better than them aborting the story altogether for lack of finding their desired information quickly.

"Veterinarian Urges Owners To Do Their Research On Vegan Dog Food" by Mara Nelms

Nice storytelling here. You let me know why this was important and made that stand out. A great feature you could've added is an Instagram story (of course, download it from Insta and stick it on Youtube so it can live longer; that vertical look would help this feel personal and break it down). This would allow your face to be featured within the article and get 10-sec bites of quick, fun content. Great job at making the do's and don't list stand out. People love pet stories—check out Kaitlyn Ross (K9 Kait) on Facebook.

"Devon Gales Helps Create ‘Tender Warriors’ At Jefferson High School" by Skylar Nicholson

Here at 11Alive, we've been following the Gales story for years. It's so important to do follow-ups and to remind the audience that their lives and the lives of others are more than just "news stories." I love the first sentence, "Through an unexpected path, Devon Gales has found himself connecting with high school football players at Jefferson High School to help mold them into not only great football players but also well-rounded men." It prompts the reader to find out what that path is. These are really great photos as well. The creator of this story should turn it into a Quik (a video app) video and highlight these quotes. It would probably do well on Instagram.

"Officer-Involved Shooting In Athens-Clarke County Remains Under Investigation" by Alexandra Rios

We covered this story as well, and it is difficult to write someone through such a video. This is a really good start. It takes a lot of practice. I commend you for jumping into a heavy story that needs to be told. It's a good thing this person didn't overwrite. The facts are heavy enough.

BONUS: What I Wished Working Grady Students Would Have Told Me

  • Don't neglect Instagram.
  • Keep the IG page clean (free of unnecessary text on pictures, unless you are creating memes and such). 
  • I really wish I could see some of these stories told a different way on Facebook and Instagram. Don't depend on traditional packages or articles to land you a job. Any job that you would want to have wants you to be creative. 
  • Post your content. If you don't care enough to post your content on your page and on the Grady Newsource page, why should the hiring manager care to watch your reel? You're telling them right away "I don't like my own work or find it compelling." 
  • "Coming up at 5" is played out in the age of social media. In the age of Netflix, FB Live and IG, we view things when we want and expect them to be there. 
  • Let go of the police language "500 block of." Instead, tell me what it is near or what road the place is off. 
  • Now is the time to try the quirky digital segments and storytelling ventures. Again, millions of students across the country will send out reels, but what will make yours different? Incorporating digital. *whispers* It's the one thing seasoned hiring managers know they don't natively know—you are digital natives. Use what you naturally do all day to get that future paycheck. 


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