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NMU student newspaper an independent publication

First amendment speaker

August 10, 2011
By ADELLE WHITEFOOT - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - With every staff position but one filled with new personnel, The North Wind has a fresh outlook about its future.

An independent student newspaper at Northern Michigan University, The North Wind is run by students, from the editor in chief to the photographers to the writers.

Editors get story ideas from many sources. They can come from other newspapers, press releases or NMU's calendar, student announcements, alumni magazine or newsletters. Among the most helpful tools for finding a story idea is Google Alerts.

Article Photos

The offices of Northern Michigan University’s independent student newspaper, The North Wind, are seen in this recent photo. The offices are located in the Bottum University Center. Journal photo by Danielle Pemble)

Whenever Northern Michigan University is used by a news source online, an email is sent the news editor and the EIC with a link to the story.

Delaney Lovett, The North Wind EIC, uses the Google alerts to pass on story ideas to other the other editors and has recently been using them to utilize the paper's social network accounts.

"I want to really push the use of social networks this year," Lovett said. "We have a Twitter and Facebook account but we don't even have links to them on our website and I want to change that."

Lovett was hired as the new EIC at the end of the last school year and wants to make changes not only to the paper itself but the website as well. The biggest changes she wants to make are to include more multi-media options while building up the website by making changes to it and drawing more students to it by posting online articles daily.

"A lot of papers are going online only. Our website is just not up to the caliber of others," Lovett said. "At least not to the point where we can go online only."

There has long been talk of The North Wind going to online only but Lovett feels that that happening is not in the near future.

It's a slow process that includes strengthening the website and getting more traffic on it, she said. Only then, if it is felt that the paper can thrive with an online only presence, will it adopt a non-paper format.

The North Wind took a small step last year in multimedia by using more video. The day of the shooting threat last school year, North Wind staff members shot video of NMU President Les Wong addressing students in the Wildcat Den and of the press conference held later in the day.

It was immediately uploaded to the website.

The biggest multimedia project last year was "Northern Nooks," a video tour of places on campus varying from Radio X to the varsity hockey locker room. The sites toured were locations that everyday students don't know about or go to.

Last year's assistant sports editor created it. A short article would go in the paper letting students know what the tour that week was and would direct them to visit the website to see the video.

It was a concept new to the paper and it got students to go to the website. With a new staff this year, Lovett is hoping to get additional ideas to help better the paper and even make it stronger.

"I'm kind of glad it's a new staff because we're making a lot of changes this year as far as production will work," Lovett said. "I think that if we had a staff that came in expecting the same old (routine) it might be more difficult to adapt to those changes."

Lovett said it would be more work at the beginning with a new staff but still believes it will be a good thing in the long run. With the new staff and fresh ideas, Lovett hopes to get new writers and convince them to stay.

"We often have the problem where we get a lot of new writers recruited right at the beginning of the semester and we lose well over half of them by the end of the semester," Lovett onserved.

In years past, writers would email their articles to their editor for corrections. The editor would make corrections in Microsoft Word and then email the article right back. Most writers did not even meet their editors in person.

Something that Lovett would like to do is almost take a step back from technology and have new writers come into the paper office and work with an editor on their first couple of articles, helping them understand why the changes to the stories are being made, she said.

"A big part of why we're (here) is to help (students) learn how to write and I don't think we are doing that as effectively as we can be," Lovett said. "I think that if we can get the writers in here, get them comfortable and asking us questions, it will improve the quality of our work and also have people stay with us and write."

Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500.



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