“Digital-first.” “User-generated content.” “Emerging business models.” What do these words mean in today’s newsroom – especially for small newspapers in rural West Virginia?

The WVU P.I. Reed School of Journalism and the West Virginia Press Association will co-host a digital strategies workshop next month to help the Mountain State’s community newspapers answer this question.

The workshop, to be held on March 30 and 31, is part of the School’s “West Virginia Uncovered” project, an effort aimed at helping community news media transition to the digital age.

“West Virginia Uncovered” started with the idea to help print journalists to tell stories using multimedia, but we quickly learned that was too small a goal,” said project coordinator Mary Kay McFarland. “Because Internet technology has changed journalism so much, news organizations now have to change their entire workflow to adapt to digital journalism.”

Nanya Friend, president of the West Virginia Press Association and editor and publisher of the Charleston Daily Mail, said she’s planning to attend the workshop.

“At the Daily Mail, we’re pushing staff members to advance their digital skills so we can preserve our franchise as the preeminent provider of local news in our region,” said Friend. “Like everybody else, we’re doing this with existing resources so we need to work smart and efficiently. I’m counting on workshops like this to propel us in the right direction.”

Jeff Sonderman, the Digital Media Fellow at The Poynter Institute, will be the featured speaker for the two-day event. Sonderman focuses on innovations and strategies for mobile platforms, social media and other aspects of digital news. Drawing on his experience in both traditional and new media, Sonderman will cover a range of topics including “digital-first” strategies, adapting workflow with limited staff resources, and the possibilities for earning digital revenue from advertising and emerging business models.

In addition, workshop participants will receive discounts on webinars and online seminars through Poynter’s News University, one of the world’s most innovative online journalism and media training programs.

The workshop will be held in Woodburn Hall on WVU’s Downtown campus. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Those who plan to attend should RSVP as soon as possible at http://goo.gl/zX9VR or email marykay.mcfarland@mail.wvu.edu. The deadline to register is March 16. Space is limited.


cv 2/7/11

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CONTACT: Kimberly Walker, School of Journalism