My Missourian centerpiece: Social media apps have changed the way parents, college students keep in touch

How has social media changed the college experience? This was a question that my Missourian editor, Liz Brixey, asked in one of our first beat meetings.

This semester, I am on the education beat at the Columbia Missourian — a community newspaper run by Missouri School of Journalism faculty and staffed by students who are reporters (me), photographers, copy editors, assistant city editors, and graphic designers. I am doing this as part of my coursework here at MU for a class called JOURN 4450 News Reporting.

Ok, back to the point of this blog post. When Liz asked that question in one of my first beat meetings, I jumped right on it. I was excited because I love social media. I called ‘dibs’ on the story and started working.

We decided to narrow the story down to a more specific topic — or ‘steak’ as Liz likes to call it — to how parents use social media to connect with their kids who are at school. I had a slow start on this story because I had trouble finding sources (but you can read about that in an earlier post). I jumped on a source — whom I found from a mutual friend — pretty quickly that attends Columbia College. I didn’t want all of my sources to attend MU.

After I interviewed the source from CC, whose name is Katie Ganniger, my story became stagnant. This was when I had trouble finding other sources and I also had other things going on at the time.

During this period of stagnation, I did a lot of research and found some data to support the fact that parents are using social media more. Thank you, Pew Research Gods. Down the road, I also talked to an MU doctoral candidate who worked on a study in graduate school about family relationships on Facebook. This was the source that had the ‘thousand-foot view’.

After I gathered all of the information, interviews, data, and photos (from the sources), I wrote the story and it was the centerpiece on the Missourian’s website and the front page of the newspaper. Pretty cool, huh? This was a very fun story to report.

Read the story here.

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