The Eagle Explains: Storytelling Through Social Media
By: Daniella Ignacio, Managing Editor for Online
Freshman year Daniella was extremely steadfast and dedicated to journalism and musical theater. If you told me that I would hold the ME position for the Online section back then, I wouldn’t have even known what you were talking about. As a senior, they’re still my greatest passions, but I’ve also learned the value of expanding my horizons and doing so much more with my love of storytelling. In everything I do, I absolutely love the feeling of engaging with audiences and receiving feedback, and the online team is responsible for doing just that.
During my tenure on The Eagle staff, I have worked with nearly every section of our publication. However, I have had both the most challenging and rewarding experiences as the managing editor for Online. Last semester, I was both the ME for online and ME for copy, simultaneously. Before holding those positions, I was the Music editor for Life, a life staff writer and a videographer. Over the past two years in particular, from various internships and classes, I’ve also gained a newfound love for public relations, copy editing and layout/graphic design that I now apply to my work at The Eagle. At this point, I’ve interacted with every section at The Eagle, and I can say that the publication-focused positions like online and copy are the unsung heroes of The Eagle.
The online team is in charge of The Eagle’s image, framing and sharing our stories with the public. We’re on call to prepare Instagram graphics, tweets and Facebook posts on a daily basis, communicating with our editor-in-chief constantly to know when articles need to get published, and staying on top of breaking news to post at a moment’s notice. Designing multimedia projects and laying out print editions is a special treat that I indulge in, because different sides of The Eagle, that wouldn’t usually work together, come together and contribute to a project that ultimately emphasizes the value of everyone on staff.
When it comes to our online transition due to COVID-19, we’ve had minimal adjustment to working remotely because our section is dedicated to the distribution of content, rather than reporting/creating it. The online presence has incidentally started to flourish, despite the circumstances. Since I became the ME for online, we’ve done a complete redesign of our in-house social media style to reflect The Eagle’s brand as a classic, reputable news organization, and implemented new features like staff spotlights, #FeatureFridays that highlight Eagle alumni on Twitter and Instagram Stories to promote every single article we publish. Some other features have not worked as well, such as Q&As, but we can only learn by doing.
In addition, for as long as I have been part of staff and reaching its peak over the summer, The Eagle has outwardly received criticism due to mistakes we have made. AU's student body has always been critical of our work, and in a time when tensions are high, this is no exception. We at the online team take the criticism seriously, and in turn have a strong recognition that we can only improve. As the only managing editor of color, I am grateful for Sophie Austin’s leadership as EIC, and I hope that social media can help improve The Eagle’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. Through The Eagle Explains, our efforts to expand engagement and outreach on social media and our website’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion updates written by our new Community Outreach Director Gabe Ferris. I am especially grateful for my assistant online editor, Izzy Wolff, for being so dedicated and spearheading new ideas alongside me, including The Eagle Explains.
I’ve learned so much over my time at The Eagle, especially when it comes to journalism, social media and building relationships in a newsroom in general. Communicating across sections and creating a bridge between social media and journalism is vital. It’s an incredible way for us to find sources, learn more about our profession and engage with the world. Learning to work with and have open conversations with a wide range of people is so important, not only in journalism, but for any profession.