Alex Kreitman, Elon Alum, Discusses Innovation and Online Journalism

Alex Kreitman, the online editor of the Burlington, N.C. Times-News discusses the added dimension video and photographs bring the news with journalism students at Elon University.

Alex Kreitman, the online editor of the Burlington, N.C. Times-News discusses the added dimension video and photographs bring the news with journalism students at Elon University.

By Carolyn VanBrocklin

It’s no secret that newspapers are changing, particularly with the improvement of online formats. Today, convergence is playing a huge role in online papers, and that was evident when Alex Kreitman, the online editor of the Burlington, N.C. Times-News and Elon alum spoke to students at Elon University this morning.

Kreitman mainly focused his discussion on the changes he has experienced with online journalism. He particularly pointed out the increased use of photography and video accompanying news stories, something that is relatively new to journalism.

Kreitman discussed his early days as a reporter: “It used to be just other reporters would right stories for the newspaper and that was it.”

Now, newspapers are focused on including many media elements and making those elements more professional and sophisticated looking. Video must add dimension to the story.

“Our page views went through the roof when we improved our video. That’s a big improvement in the industry overall that newspapers are trying to be more like broadcast,” Kreitman said.

Online news beats out printed newspapers in that they can continually update their news as events occur. “With reading our newspaper online you gain so much, you get kind of a play by play almost” Kreitman said.

One of the main things that Kreitman emphasized was innovation. “Reporters now aren’t just going out and writing a regular old story, they’re now trying to be innovative, and come up with new things,” he said.

The Burlington Times-News is certainly innovative. They choose to focus almost exclusively on local news and include engaging options, with quirky contests such as the Ugly Recliner Contest.

Kreitman encouraged the students in the class, saying “you guys have the biggest advantage the way that you guys were raised and brought up with technology.”

Hear Alex Kreitman of the Burlington Times-News speaks to Janna Anderson’s “Reporting for the Public Good” class about professional journalism today:


One Response

  1. Keep your editor in the loop – what happened with the video? You can fill me in at class tomorrow on that if you’d like. I understand the glitches happen. Everyone else got theirs uploaded OK. You live and learn, so if you are struggling on this it’s OK because you are learning more than everyone else; just be sure to get it in gear and get it going. We need to see a clip. If you didn’t get any video for one reason or another, you can borrow a clip from a classmate and just credit him or her.

    Good SEO headline. You should always put your byline between the headline and the body of the story. I know it says “posted by” but you need a real byline on the piece and all others.

    Your attribution style is a bit awkward. You need to learn to use the media style smoothly and regularly. A quick way to see examples of that format is to simply study how direct quotes and the attribution of the quotes are used in USA Today or Newsweek, etc. Grab a copy of USA Today in the front lobby of McEwen and take a yellow highlighter and highlight every direct quote on a page or two or three and study how the reporters did that. You need to go back through the stories you have written and apply that style. You will get the feel for it after you study it and practice it for a while, and then it will become a part of your natural media-writing rhythm. Be sure to fix that aspect of all of the stories in your portfolio; it is a vital part of your grade. Let me know if you have questions.

    The entire last paragraph is “gush” – in reporting, we do not tie everything up with a neat little bow of happiness at the end – no opinion. If Dean Parsons had been in the room and he had said that afterward, you could quote him at the end saying that, but you never-ever do it in your “reporter’s voice.” You have captured some good content here, some good specific details. A reporter captures more direct quotes and more storytelling detail.

    Check out the work of classmates like Ashley, Angie, Sarah and others to inspire yourself to improve this so it is a really great piece for your final work portfolio!

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