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Counterpoint: Was our coverage too ‘Hotz,’ too cold or just right? Breaking news, News hits, PR musings

It’s been an interesting week at RIT—and in University News.

From the moment we learned that freshman George Hotz had unlocked the iPhone, a debate emerged within the walls of Building 86: How should we cover the story?

From the second I heard about it, I’ve been on the “aggressive” side of the debate.

Mike was correct in his post, other than issuing a news release that contained a statement from President Destler, there was little we needed to do with external media. This story largely (with the exception of a few calls I fielded from the local and national media) took care of itself.

My concern, however, has more to do with how we’ve covered the story internally through our University News Web site. The link to the Bergen Record story Mike mentions is on our Web site—although I disagree with Mike’s assessment that it’s in a prominent place. When I open my browser here at work, I have to scroll down before coming across the RIT IN THE NEWS section. It’s in the right hand column, with no art attached to it (I don’t know about everyone else, but my eye is always drawn to the art associated with our featured stories. To me, THAT is prominent real estate). Plus, that section only hosts five clips. Therefore, the story was bumped down to the archives section within a couple days. The only other mention on our Web site has been Mike’s initial post—which visitors would have to dig down a couple layers in order to find.

I also take exception with Mike’s assertion that the story is an “RIT mention” instead of an “RIT story.” Sure, the national media may have played it that way (and rightfully so), but that doesn’t mean we should play it that way. This story has been the talk of campus all week. Because of it, RIT has been splashed throughout the national and international news. A news outlet, which is the way we prefer to describe ourselves, is supposed to be a reflection of the community it serves. We need to cover the stories that the community cares about. This, clearly, is one of them.

Today, we got it right. A story (written by yours truly) is featured on our Web site. This is the second blog post that features George in its headline.

I’m interested in what you think. Was our coverage too ‘Hotz,’ too cold or just right?

  1. Silandara
    Sep 04

    I always was more on the "shameless self-promotion" side... ;) It wasn't until I checked the blog today that I even knew he was an incoming RIT student. I'd heard he was from this area, but didn't know there was an RIT connection. I agree with a lot of what Mike said -- and it is great to get a look inside the workings of a PR/News outlet. Having been there, I can vouch for it being told as it actually is. But I also agree with John - even though the national media may play the story as an RIT mention, that doesn't mean the RIT news office should...

    OK, two kids are both waking up from their naps, one is squeaking and spitting out her binky, the other is crying -- that's a glimpse inside MY life these days. :)

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