Day Four: Engaging and Emerging Media

News Reporter Academy camper Peyton Burruss smiles as she explores a virtual reality in the University of St. Thomas’ STELAR Lab.

The fourth day of News Reporter Academy had an exciting theme of Engaging and Emerging Media. ThreeSixty students arrived early to get on the bus and head to the Star Tribune, where they met up with Deputy Managing Editor Colleen Stoxen for a newsroom tour. For many students, it was their first visit to a professional newsroom.

Student met with Senior Digital Editor Colleen Kelly who explained how the Star Tribune uses tools such as ChartBeat to track what users are reading and curate its content accordingly.

Her presentation was followed up by Nico Gendron and Magdaline Duncan, two recent Mizzou graduates who are participating in the first-ever Instagram Local News fellowship. They asked students questions about their news usage.

The visit was rounded out by a news pitch workshop with Social Issues Reporter Marissa Evans. She helped students work through story ideas and ask them questions an editor would, challenging them to think deeper about their pitches.

The students returned to the University of St. Thomas College of Arts and Sciences for a session in the STELAR Lab led by Eric Tornoe. Student experienced virtual realities, tested 360 cameras, made friends with a robot and explored other projects on display.

The day ended with a special visit from Unicorn Riot‘s Niko Georgiades and Georgia Fort, a St. Thomas alumna. They talked about going live and what it takes to make a career in alternative media.

Here are the student reflections for Thursday, July 11:

Peyton Burruss – RIchfield High School

Peyton Burruss – Richfield High School

The different forms of media that we learned about today made me consider where I see myself in the future. It was interesting to tour the Star Tribune and learn more about what the process is leading up to the print.

The digital team made interesting points when they were talking about the small word choice differences can change the success of a headline. For example, only changing two words in a headline can make it more successful and compelling, leading more people to click the article.

I also noticed the design of the newsrooms including “The Hub,” which is arranged in a circle, and the reporters and writers were talking to each other and interacting. I learned about coming up with ideas for a story and the questions to ask myself when considering a story. It was challenging to come up with compelling story ideas in only a few minutes but it was also helpful because reporters have to have multiple ideas in an even shorter amount of time.

Later, I observed the virtual reality lab with the VR headsets and the 360 degree camera. I had never considered that kind of storytelling before, but I learned that it can be more immersive.

I really enjoyed Unicorn Riot coming in and speaking to us because I had never heard of them before but they exposed me to a new form of media. I liked the freedom they had in telling their stories and how they could be right in the middle of a protest opposed to a commercial news company. They made me consider how I want to tell my stories and if I want to go through an alternate form or a commercial company.

Blake Alexander Ford – Twin Cities Academy

Today was really fun. It was fun going to the Star Tribune and seeing the facilities. It was my first time being at a newsroom, so it was all new for me.

Once we got back we took some group photos, and I was able to get away with dabbing, which makes me happy. We played some games and got to take some more photos which was nice because I got a better statue photo.

We then went to the tech aream and I met a robot which I named George and walked around with a 360 camera to take some pictures.

Lastly, I got the information of Unicorn Riot an independent news source and will help them gain merchandise.


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Many students made their first trip to a professional newsroom today! Thanks, @startribune!

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