Thank you to fellow Gatepost editors

This academic year has been a roller-coaster ride for me.  At this time last year, I thought I had it all figured out – I was loving my English classes, I had been a full-section news editor for The Gatepost since February 2012 and was going to continue in that position the following academic year.  And I had a great summer ahead of me – I had a summer internship at Siver Insurance in Lancaster, Mass., was going to be freelancing for both The Clinton Item and The West Boylston and Boylston Banner and even helping a local elderly woman from Cuba start her memoir.

Then the fall 2012 semester rolled around and it wasn’t long before I realized I wasn’t happy as an English major.  And for a while, I wasn’t sure if I was happy at Framingham State.  But thanks to a few Gatepost editors – who also happen to be some of my good friends – I figured out that FSU is the school for me, and that I’m better suited to be a communication arts major.

Kerrin: Thank you for always being there for me – when I’m happy, when I’m sad.  I honestly don’t know what I’d  do without you.  You not only helped me through what was a really tough semester for me, but you’ve made me laugh my hardest when I need it the most.  Thank you for being an incredible role model and making me want to stay at The Gatepost just so I can keep working with you!  I know you’re going to be an amazing editor-in-chief next year, but I’m already dreading what the year after will be like without you.  Here’s to another year together – let’s make it count (I know we will)!

Spencer: Thank you for realizing that I needed to talk to you about where I stood at the end of last semester.  Even though I couldn’t give you a solid answer for a while as to what my plans were for next year, our talk made me think a lot about not only my future at The Gatepost, but in journalism in general.  And I can’t thank you enough for getting our staff to the College Media Association’s spring national college media convention in New York – that experience reminded me that working for The Gatepost has helped me gain the skills I need in order to be a journalist.  You have been an exceptional editor-in-chief, and I’m going to miss you and your passion for journalism (and even your cheesy jokes), but I know you’re going to go on to do bigger and better “things” after you graduate.

Kathleen: Thank you for being the best co-news editor.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate our little talks about journalism (Gatepost) experience and trying to convince me that switching to communication arts was the way to go (you were right!).  Thank you for making me want to be the best news writer I can be.  I’m going to miss you and your Boston accent (and your bun) next year, but I know I can always read your blog, and someday, your work in Cosmo.

I’m looking forward both to my summer internship at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine and starting a new year at Framingham State in the fall as a communication arts major and an associate editor for The Gatepost.


This week in the news: senior investiture, parking fees, new student parking lot, students fundraise for marathon volunteers, among other stories

Check out the news section’s work in the May 3, 2013 online edition of The Gatepost‘s last issue of the 2012-2013 academic year.  Here are our most recent articles and their ledes:

“One week after the twin bombings at the Boston Marathon, the Class of 2013, friends, family, administrators and alumni gathered in DPAC for this year’s Senior Investiture ceremony.”

“Framingham State University resident student parking fees may decrease, while commuter fees increase and all students pay a new transportation fee, according to a preliminary draft of recommendations by the Student Transportation Advisory Team (STAT).”

“Administrators have purchased a property near campus in order to build a new student parking lot.”

“FSU students and people from the surrounding area have begun fundraisers to support those affected by the marathon bombings.”

“An unscientific survey of 200 seniors – approximately a quarter of the senior class – found that 74 percent of respondents rated their education at Framingham State as very good or excellent. The same percentage said they had found a mentor on the faculty.”

“A fight broke out among three male FSU students and three unidentified men outside Corinne Hall Towers early Friday morning, April 12, according to FSU’s External Relations Coordinator Daniel Magazu.”

“The men’s and women’s rugby teams were unable to host alumni games this year, upsetting many alumni.”

“In hopes of being selected for the top spot at Illinois State, FSU President Timothy Flanagan spoke at an open forum on the ISU campus Friday.”

“To make way for the Hemenway Hall science addition, a memorial garden planted in 1999 for Japanese FSU student Asako Mazawa is slated to be dug up and relocated this summer.”

“After her tragic death in 1997, FSU student Asako Mazawa made headlines for becoming a pioneer in organ donation for Japanese nationals.”

[Editor’s note: Angel Seto was elected the Karen A. McCarthy Support Staff of the Year in the SGA election April 10.]

[Editor’s note: David Baldwin, assistant dean of students was elected the Administrator of the Year in the SGA election April 10.]

Publishing features on Confessions of a Student Newspaper Editor

I’m going to publish three features I wrote for my feature writing class this semester on Confessions of a Student Newspaper Editor.  I didn’t ask to have them published in The Gatepost because the last few issues of the year were pretty busy for the Arts & Features section, and I knew I could publish them here if I wanted to.

The first one is about the Gallery of African Art in my hometown, Clinton, Mass.

The second one is a self-involvement feature about my first time visiting and experiencing New York City.

The third one is a magazine feature about Framingham State University’s Alternative Spring Break program and this year’s trip to Biloxi, Miss.  (This one will most likely be published next weekend.)

The Gatepost’s Kerrin Murray and Joe Kourieh talk social media guidelines

The Associated Press' and The Los Angeles Times' social media guidelines.

The Associated Press’ and The Los Angeles Times’ social media guidelines.

I sat down with Gatepost Associate Editor and Editor-in-Chief-elect for the 2013-2014 academic year Kerrin Murray and Associate Editor Joe Kourieh this past Wednesday night to discuss their opinions about social media guidelines and how they would implement them at their school newspaper.

This was the second time I’ve done a podcast with Murray and Kourieh – in the first podcast, the two editors debated about gun control (see “Podcast: Confessions of two Gatepost editors about gun control“). For the second podcast, the two didn’t provide and support opposing views, but they each answered four questions I had for them relating to the role of social media guidelines in news organizations. Also different from the last podcast, is that this time, we talked with Kourieh via phone.

Before we did the podcast, I also sent both editors a set of questions via email to answer separately. I’ve posted them below in Q&A format, before the podcast.

I wanted to talk with Kourieh and Murray about social media guidelines not only because our first podcast together went well, but for two other reasons as well: I learned a little more about the role of social media guidelines in news organizations in my Writing for Online and Social Media class earlier in the semester, and because of that, I’ve become more curious about the possibility of creating guidelines for The Gatepost.

One of my class’ early assignments was to analyze and compare and contrast the social media guidelines of two companies. I researched and wrote about The Associated Press‘ and The Los Angeles Times‘ guidelines. I’ve posted my take on them at the bottom of this post.

I took the above photo.


Social Media Guidelines Q&A with Kerrin Murray

Do you think it’s a good idea for publications, and student newspapers specifically, to have social media guidelines for their staff members?

KM: Yes. I believe that there is an unspoken rule or guideline automatically associated with social media and the Internet in general. People know that what they post online is up permanently for the world to see. More importantly, for future employers to see. It is important for The Gatepost staff to apply discretion and common sense when posting anything online.

Have you considered creating social media guidelines for The Gatepost? If so, is there anything you can think of off the top of your head that you would consider including in them?

KM: I don’t think there have to be rules limiting what they can and cannot post, but The Gatepost staff has to remember that while on social media sites, they are representatives of the paper. Promoting articles or photos is one thing, and talking negatively about the paper or how it is run is another.

Have you encountered any situations working for The Gatepost that made you think having social media guidelines would be beneficial?

KM: There have been a couple of questionable posts on Facebook. It is actually comical to see, because complaining using social media will not help – talking to your editor will. With these types of situations I think that “unspoken” guidelines should be enough. There shouldn’t have to be written rules explaining posts should promote their work and not be used for unwarranted complaints.

Do you think social media guidelines should be made available to the public? If The Gatepost had guidelines, would you want them published on the newspaper’s website?

KM: I think that social media guidelines should be available to the public. Our constitution is available for people to see on collegiatelink, and I believe that any of our guidelines should be available (just to show that our editors are held to certain standards while they are representing The Gatepost).

Can you tell readers a little about how you have used social media in reporting for The Gatepost?

KM: I use Facebook primarily to “like” articles online and also “like” The Gatepost page. I use Twitter to live tweet at events and also to retweet any post that is affiliated with an article or an event.

How would you like to see The Gatepost staff using social media? Do you think their social media presence should be the same regardless of whether they’re using social media for reporting or for personal use?

KM: I think that The Gatepost staff should use social media as they see fit and to use it at their discretion. I think that it is important to differentiate between their online presence as a Gatepost reporter and in their own life outside of the paper.


Social Media Guidelines Q&A with Joe Kourieh

Do you think it’s a good idea for publications, and student newspapers specifically, to have social media guidelines for their staff members?

JK: I think yes, it’s important that the Editor-in-Chief or Managing Editor establish guidelines for what’s approppriate for referencing their newspaper or members of it. I certainly don’t think these need to be very strict, more so just a set of guidelines on what you shouldn’t do (most of the things will be
obvious I believe).

How do you use social media? What platforms do you use? Have you used social media in your role as a student journalist?

JK: I’m not particularly connected to social media (I don’t have internet on my phone so Twitter isn’t nearly as useful), but I likely will be someday. For journalistic purposes, I have used Facebook messaging to contact sources, as well as arrange with our photos staff to take pictures. It’s useful because they have their own designated page and they can all see the same message, without having to talk to all of them individually. I’ve also found it very useful in contacting those who I don’t have email addresses or phone numbers for. Since many people have Facebook on their phones it’s getting to be just as quick a response time as a text message. Although, Facebook has begun charging for messages to people you are not friends with, which is annoying.

Have you encountered any situations as an editor at The Gatepost that have made you think having social media guidelines could be beneficial for the newspaper and its staff?

JK: We at The Gatepost tend to be pretty low-key and haven’t been faced with any social media misuse, but there have been rare moments when our editor told us that certain jokes made over social media have been risky. Guidelines would be useful in such situations, as it falls to the level of professionalism on the net intended by the individual, which varies greatly.

Would you consider creating social media guidelines for The Gatepost? Can you think of anything you would want to include in them?

JK: I think that we would easily be able to come up with a set of guidelines relating mostly to the appropriateness of mentioning The Gatepost or its staff members, but like I said, we wouldn’t particularly need it since we’re all sensible enough to know how we’re presenting ourselves.

Do you think social media guidelines should be made available to the public? If The Gatepost had guidelines, would you want them published on the newspaper’s website?

JK: I think the right place for the guidelines would be in our constitution, which is available to everyone. We could put them online as well, or just put the constitution online, if it’s not already.

How would you like to see The Gatepost staff using social media? Do you think their social media presence should be the same regardless of whether they’re using social media for reporting or for personal use?

JK: Social media posts are a great way to spread the word about stories, as well as get breaking news out before an article can be written. In fact, in the face of truly breaking news, as the events with the Boston [bombings] investigation showed us, many people tend to pay more attention to social media than actual news reports. That being so, it’s crucial that social media posts of breaking news are at least somewhat factual and attributed. And I don’t see this being a problem, for as social media evolves, those who use it in the best ways will be rewarded and will follow suit. Since we’re on a small, quiet campus, Gatepost staffers tend to have plenty to back up their posts of breaking news. Staffers can create whatever type of persona or presence they would like online when in personal use, so long as they maintain professionalism in all posts aimed toward and relating to The Gatepost.

Is there anything else you would like to comment on relating to either social media guidelines or social media used for journalism in general?

JK: Read the newspaper too!


Social Media Guidelines Podcast with Murray and Kourieh



The Associated Press and Los Angeles Times Social Media Guidelines

Overall, the most obvious difference between The Associated Press’ and The Los Angeles Times’ social media guidelines is length. While The LA Times’ guidelines appear to be clear in terms of what the newspaper’s Standards and Practices Committee expects of employees, they do not go into the level of detail The AP’s guidelines do.

The AP’s guidelines indicate they are meant to help “advance” their brand and employees’ own personal brands on social networks. AP journalists are encouraged to have social networking accounts because the company believes they have become “essential” for reporting. Similarly, The LA Times’ guidelines express that staffers’ professional and personal lives are “intertwined” online, as they are offline, and therefore also encourage employees to have and maintain social networking accounts. The AP’s guidelines recommend journalists have one account per network that they use for both personal and professional use.

While The AP’s guidelines include a section dedicated to privacy, The LA Times’ have one bullet point under their “Basic Principles” section suggesting that even if journalists use privacy tools allowing them to decide who can view profile pages, they should assume everything they write online is public. The AP’s also state that, but connect privacy issues to journalists’ opinions possibly being linked to the company.

The LA Times’ have a bullet point under their “Guidelines for Reporting” section about employees identifying themselves as LA Times’ journalists. The AP’s state the same for its employees under its “Accounts” section.

The AP’s also include a section dedicated to retweeting on Twitter that indicates retweets with no comment from journalists can be seen as unfairly representing one side of an opinion, and list examples of how to properly retweet. The LA Times’ have a bullet point under their “Guidelines for Reporting” section about retweeting, which states that journalists should treat retweeting as they would treat publishing information in a “more formal publication.”

The LA Times’ also have a bullet point under their “Basic Principles” section about “friending” a source or joining a group, and state that journalists need to fairly represent both sides of an opinion or debate. The AP’s also say this, but suggest employees avoid interaction with newsmakers on public pages, and state that managers should not friend request subordinates, but employees can friend request their bosses or managers.

The AP’s also have a section about publishing material, which indicates journalists should link to AP content as well as content from other media organizations and shouldn’t post unpublished work. It also says that journalists are allowed to live tweet, but in terms of breaking news, staffers are free to tweet information only after they have provided “full details” to The AP. The same rule applies to exclusive material.

The AP’s “Sourcing” section states that journalists must verify sources found on social networks in the same way a source found offline would be verified – usually by calling the company or organization the source works for. It also says to confirm who is managing a social networking account before quoting from tweets or posts.

The AP’s “Interacting with Users” section says that AP encourages replying to people that comment on content, and that journalists must report errors or possible errors as soon as possible. If a viewer reports a correction that may or may not be correct, journalists should try to reply in either case. In the event of a controversial story or image, an editor should reply.

Their “Interacting with AP Accounts” section says staff members can retweet and share AP material, but shouldn’t like or comment on any.

If journalists feel that a tweet should be deleted, according to their guidelines’ “Deleting Tweets” section, they should contact a Nerve Center manager.

According to the “Corrections” section, after erroneous tweets have been corrected, journalists should tweet or post that a mistake had been made and explain it exactly.

Although The Los Angeles Times’ social media guidelines are clear and allow LA Times’ journalists to have social networking accounts, The Associated Press’ guidelines provide more detailed information about how its journalists can use social media, while allowing them the same freedom.


You can follow Kerrin Murray on Twitter: @kmurray7.

‘Thursday night Gatepost confessions’ video

Check out Confessions of a Student Newspaper Editor’s first video “Thursday night Gatepost confessions.”  It’s a spinoff of YouTuber hayleighcolombo‘s video “Shit Student Journalists Say” posted in January 2012.  My video captures a small portion of the insanity that exists in The Gatepost office on Thursday nights, when our staff copy edits articles and lays out each section’s pages in order for a published issue to be available to the Framingham State University community the following morning.

Gatepost News Editor Kathleen McDonough and Associate Editor and Editor-in-Chief-elect for the 2013-2014 academic year Kerrin Murray talk “Newsie Speak” in the news section, which is still decorated for McDonough’s birthday, which was a week before this video was made.  In the end, they decide to blame all of their newspaper-related problems and worries on The Gatepost‘s current Editor-in-Chief Spencer Buell.

I’d like to give a huge shoutout and thank you to my Writing for Online and Social Media class’ Professor (and Assistant Advisor to The Gatepost) Meredith O’Brien-Weiss for all of her help with this video!  I was having some serious technical difficulties, but she figured it out!  Thank you Meredith!  And of course a big thank you goes out to Kathleen, Kerrin and Spencer.

Here’s the video:

For more Gatepost madness, you can follow McDonough, Murray, Buell and O’Brien-Weiss on Twitter:





Sandella’s brings all the students to the yard

A student purchases a F’Real Reece’s milkshake at FSU’s Sandella’s.

The most recent feature I wrote for my feature writing class and which was published in The Gatepost was “Students pleased with Sandella’s food options” in the April 5 edition.

The article is a business feature about the status of Framingham State University’s on-campus Sandella’s restaurant and convenience store a little over a year after the restaurant opened.

I spoke with FSU’s Director of Sodexo Dining Services Ralph Eddy about Sandella’s, how students have taken to the new dining spot and how he hopes students utilize the space for future events and activities.

I have to credit my Co-News Editor Michael B. Murphy for this post’s title.  He thought of Kelis’ song “Milkshake” when we discussed making a teaser of the article for the front page of The Gatepost because one of Sandella’s’ newest and most popular features with students is its F’Real brand milkshake blender and F’Real’s milkshake and smoothie options.  (In the end, the article wasn’t teased.)

The above photo was taken by Photo Editor Allie Card for The Gatepost.

This week in the news: res hall fire, on-campus memorial removal change and FSU tuition and fees to increase, among other stories

Check out the news section’s work in the April 12 edition of The Gatepost.  Here are our most recent articles and their ledes:

The scene outside FSU’s North Hall, where a sixth-floor fire occurred on Friday, April 5.

“Almost all of the students displaced by a fire in North Hall on Friday were allowed to return to their rooms as of 5 p.m. Wednesday, Dan Magazu, FSU’s external relations coordinator, said.”

“Responding to a controversy two weeks ago, administrators say, in the future, they will be more communicative with students about the removal process for on-campus memorials placed around campus.”

“FSU plans to slow enrollment growth and student tuition and fees increases in 2014, Executive Vice President Dale Hamel told the Board of Trustees as a part of the FY2014 budget report.”

“The SGA election results for the 2013-14 academic year are in, and of the two contested races, Daniel Costello and Kevin Long were elected vice president and secretary, respectively.”

“President Timothy Flanagan said the administration is drafting a proposal for a multicultural center on campus that he will be bringing to the board for approval at its next meeting on May 14.”

“The Board of Higher Education (BHE) is pushing to be more involved in the Board of Trustees’ processes of selecting new university presidents and setting their compensations, according to Commissioner of Higher Education Richard M. Freeland.”

“On Tuesday, April 9, FSU’s Black Student Union came before SGA to request $3,601.96 in SGA unallocated funds for its Culture Show After Party.”

Please provide a brief summary of your resume and educational background.

I received my undergraduate degree bachelor’s from Boston Conservatory. Then I went on to get Master’s and Ph.D. at Brown University.”

Opinion Editor Sam Rawson’s article “NEASC to re-accredit FSU in 2014” was also published in the April 12 edition of The Gatepost, but it appears that only a portion of the article was posted on The Gatepost‘s website.  Check the website for updates.

The above photo was taken by The Gatepost‘s Photo Editor Allie Card for The Gatepost.