Skip navigation
Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism University of Southern California


Who Cares?

ATVN is more than just a training center for student journalists. Producing has made me realize we truly are "USC's first source for news."

Our page views aren't just coming from proud parents and ATVN anchors who like to watch their own newscasts. People actually turn to ATVN for solid, factual information, especially when it comes to campus events, USC athletics, microlocal news and things that directly affect students on our campus.

Sometimes, other news stations and publications overlook things that could be newsworthy to a USC-based audience and offer no coverage whatsoever. More often, our news team simply publishes USC news stories before anyone else does, and follows up with updates faster. Considering our proximity to campus-related stories - and the access we have to university officials and experts in every possible field - this should be the norm.

We should have video footage of campus incidents that no other station has shot - after all, most of our reporters are a quick walk away from the scene of whatever is happening; no live truck sign-out or freeway traffic required. We should have exclusive interviews with faculty members and star athletes when significant hires, resignations, scandals or achievements hit the news. We should have the latest and most accurate updates when it comes to stories involving one of our own students.

Making sure our viewers pay attention to these stories that hit so close to home isn't tough. The real challenge is covering broader stories - ones that involve people and events in distant locations or demographics - in a way that resonates with our audience of primarily college-aged, LA-based students.

For example, generating traffic on a web article about the on-campus shooting last Halloween wasn't tough. But how do we cover the selection of a new pope in a way that interests our unique audience segment? Or possible nuclear threats from North Korea? 

There are various strategies our news team should keep in mind when it comes to these broader stories:

  • Offer a unique multimedia component that no other news outlet has, such as a Storify compilation, a creative slideshow, a timeline laying out related events, a section of the newscast featuring thought-provoking Tweets, etc.
  • Feature interviews showing student and faculty reaction - these can often be edited together, but should be shot and selected carefully to reflect as wide a range of opinions as possible (i.e. interviewing three students who all say they actively support gun control and Connecticut's new law, then including two of those in the newscast as "campus reaction" is neither interesting nor ethically sound).
  • Make the news interactive with Q&As, polls and quizzes, opportunities for "Your View" submissions, re-Tweets, etc. 
  • Explain precisely how seemingly distant stories can affect college students. This is especially effective when it comes to complicated political and economic stories. 
  • Reach out to experts (we have access to thousands of them through the handy-dandy USC Experts Directory) for tips and data related to the news story that are specific to our viewership. Rape scandal in the news? So what if it happened in Ohio and doesn't involve any USC students? Let's interview our own campus safety team for tips on partying safely and a refresher on how USC students can report sexual assault. National studies show Adderall abuse is on the rise? Let's ask USC officials how many campus incidents involving illicit Adderall possession or sales have been reported in recent months, then sit down with a medical expert to discuss the consequences of amphetamine abuse on young adults.

What makes something newsworthy comes down to the circumstances surrounding the story itself. What makes a newsworthy story valuable to the audience is the way it's covered - and the way that coverage is handled by producers.

Leave a comment

Changes Coming to ATVN this Fall

By Fernando Hurtado
08/19/14 | 11:39 a.m. PDT

ATVN is gearing up to kick off its first semester in the new Media Center inside Wallis Annenberg Hall.

Chinese Students Gather at Arraignment for USC Grad Student Killing Case

By Faith Miller
08/12/14 | 10:36 a.m. PDT

[View the story on Storify]

Students Get a Look at Media Center at Open House

Sarkisian "If the Time's Right to Bring Him Back, We Will"

USC Cornerback Josh Shaw Admits to Fabricating Story

TV Host Julie Chen Offers Students Advice

We detected that you might be on a mobile device such as an iPad or iPhone. Sorry, at this time the video box is only visible on desktop computers.

USC Cornerback Josh Shaw Admits to Fabricating Story

By Alyssa Nakamoto
08/27/14 | 12:47 p.m. PDT

The senior cornerback has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities. 

Something's Buzzing at ATVN

By Fernando Hurtado
08/23/14 | 5:21 p.m. PDT

ATVN's looking for anchors for "The Buzz," a new web/TV segment!