Intern Elise Waller starts at the Southeast Michigan Media Lab

Southeast Michigan Media Lab intern Elise Waller

Southeast Michigan Media Lab intern Elise Waller

Having an intern at the Southeast Michigan Media Lab has renewed my faith in the next generation of multimedia journalists and their work ethic. When I was running a newsroom, it seemed some reporters were burned out — and maybe rightfully so given the amount of work and responsibility handed to them — and lacked the same enthusiasm I had (although admittedly I may be overly amped) for using new digital and social media tools to complement our storytelling. At times, I had the impression they viewed these tools as more work, rather than embracing the tools as a way to bring more information to readers on platforms that readers may prefer, whether video, audio, photo slideshows, locator maps, polls, timelines or through social media.

But if Elise Waller’s work ethic and passion for digital media is indicative of what we will be seeing from J-school graduates in the coming years, the news industry is going to be on fire with innovation and experimentation driving journalism, and a work force game for trying anything that helps them become better news gatherers and storytellers.

Elise, a junior at Adrian College studying digital media and journalism, joined the media lab May 22 to help livestream and produce video of a workshop we were hosting on Google Drive taught by Eastern Michigan University professor Toni Stokes Jones. The next day, she came in and edited the video that she shot, started a blog, wrote her first post about the workshop and set up a phonecasting channel on I interviewed her for her first audiocast, which is featured on her blog through RSS feed. She also created a RebelMouse page. So, boom, in a matter of a few hours, she had completed all of her assignments for the week, as she is asked to produce three pieces each week to collect her internship stipend.

We had Friday off, as I was in Chicago, as well as Monday for the Memorial Day holiday, so Elise returned to work Tuesday. We met at the studio for WLBY 1290 Ann Arbor Talk Radio for an appearance on the Lucy Anne Lance Radio Show. Having experience in radio, serving as on-air talent at her college station, Elise was super excited to be back in the studio. Lucy Anne interviewed us both about the Southeast Michigan Media Lab and our efforts to bring the audience in the newsroom as news-sharing partners, as well as changes in the media landscape and asked our thoughts on changes to the industry as a whole. Elise added valuable insight about her generation’s use of social media and media consumption habits. What I found particularly interesting was that she said most people she knows who are her age get their news and information from Facebook and Twitter, not traditional media sources. Listen to the entire interview here on the Lucy Anne Lance Radio Show website.

Southeast Michigan Media Lab Director Michelle Rogers at Ann Arbor Radio.

Southeast Michigan Media Lab Director Michelle Rogers at Ann Arbor Radio.

When we returned from the studio a couple hours later, Elise, who said she was doing the internship more for the experience than the pay, was quick to edit a video that she shot of us while we were being interviewed, and uploaded it on the media lab’s YouTube channel. She also wrote a blog post about the experience, and set up her Tout account so she could begin Touting 15-second videos — something all multimedia journalists at 21st Century Media will start doing in the coming weeks.

On Wednesday, we met at The News-Herald, where we were scheduled to spend the day and make ourselves available to staff journalists interested in learning more about social media and digital media tools. We worked with nine reporters and editors, who also renewed my belief that people who work in the industry are willing to learn new tricks, throughout the day showcasing Tout, NewHive, RebelMouse, Twitter, ipadio, ScribbleLive and uStream, among other tools. During this time, Elise also edited five videos shot by freelance photographer/videographer Dave Chapman for the The News-Herald and shot this Vine video (so cute) on life of an intern. And, again, boom. She had completed two weeks of her internship in a matter of two days.

Elise has experience, from her studies at Adrian College, in radio and TV broadcasting. She has served as news anchor and on-air talent for the college’s news station, and has worked as editor of the college newspaper. All of these experiences and the skills she is learning while at college and during her internship will serve her well when she graduates and begins her career, whether in radio, television or digital media. I am looking forward to teaching her more digital media tools and introducing her to emerging social media channels. She will be honing her skills at festivals throughout Washtenaw County this summer as she produces video, photo slideshows, NewHive expressions and podcasts, and sharing her work on the media lab and Heritage Media’s distribution channels. Be sure to look for her and give her feedback on the work she produces as she practices her budding craft.


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