A changing media landscape means more opportunities for Ohio State to tell our own stories, directly to our audiences. But it’s not easy. One example: It can be difficult for senior leaders, profs and star researchers to invest enough time and energy to really get a blog off the ground.
The new Buckeye Voices blog runs with that challenge.
Buckeye Voices is an attempt to showcase Ohio State stars taking on a wide range of topics, from the neuroscience behind fond memories to a personal reflection on Nelson Mandela’s death. I’m hopeful that we’ll be able to attract guest writers that include not only faculty but also staff, stand-out students and alumni who want to share their great stories.
It brings it back what I’ve loved about Ohio State since I came to school here: at a place with Ohio State’s size and resources, you can do anything.
We’ll promote on buckeyevoices.osu.edu, through a #BuckeyeVoices hashtag on Twitter, and in products like Connect e-news. (We’re also working to integrate these essays with print publications.)
Have an idea for a blog post? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m the daughter of two scientists: a doctor who majored in chemistry and a trailblazing woman-chemist who went on do medical research. So throughout my childhood, the word “research” always conjured up a very specific set of images: bunsen burners, flasks, white coats, petri dishes.
Working in communications at Ohio State, I’ve learned that research is much broader–encompassing not only the “hard sciences” but also the study of arts, design, social behaviors.
This week on osu.edu, we’re sharing two stories that showcase the breadth of research at Ohio State.
“A season of cartoon art at Ohio State” includes an interview with “Calvin and Hobbes” creator Bill Watterson–a rare coup!–and shares the expertise of researchers at Ohio State’s Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum, which has the world’s largest collection of cartoon art.
“Delving deeper at the Denman” is one of my favorite features of the year. It’s a preview of the Denman Forum, which over the past 19 years has grown into a huge celebration of undergrad research at Ohio State. If you read it, you won’t help but be inspired: three undergrads share how they’re working on ending anti-gay discrimination, curing cancer and coming up with cleaner energy.
We wanted incontrovertible proof of Aaron Craft’s prowess as a student-athlete. We wanted it to be fun. And we wanted it to be timely.
University Communications had a tall order. But Craft
—a nutrition major with a 3.9 GPA as well as a Buckeye basketball star—delivered.
This week on osu.edu, we featured
a timeline of Craft’s life and Buckeye career, highlighting not only his athletic accomplishments but also his classroom kudos, record of community service and work as a university ambassador.
One brainy highlight: a video of Craft reciting 63 digits of pi. (We’re communicators. The math department helped us proof.) It’s a quick, fun and sharable way to showcase an athlete’s brains.
It works because it’s fun, timely (coinciding with not only basketball post-season play but also Pi Day, March 14) and authentic. Rather than telling how smart Craft is, we let him show us.
The Craft piece is a prime example of how print and web can work together to tell the full story, a topic
Publications Director Jay Hansen and I discussed at a recent UC Academy.
The newest edition of the Ohio State Alumni Magazine features a six-page spread on Craft. Jay and I are confident both media work together to tell the full story to a wide range of audiences.
Just as the Buckeyes cooperate on court, these pieces took a full team to create, including not only Editorial but also staffers on Interactive and Brand/Marketing. (The full court press included
Monica DeMeglio, Rick Harrison, Corey Hinshaw, Kelli Sommer and Kevin Fitzsimons.)
Since October, University Communications has held monthly social media meetings with communicators throughout Ohio State. Lauren Boyd and I have led the group, taking on topics such as how to collaborate to cover major university events and engage audiences—and have shared successes and lessons learned along the way.
We’ve also listened. What we’ve heard: university communicators want more information about social media, ranging from
how to get accounts up and running to a list of commonly used hashtags to university strategy.
In response, I’m happy to share a new resource on the University Communications site: a “one-stop-shop” page that houses Ohio State’s top social media presences and our strategy and best practices. (It’s also the place to sign up for the monthly social media meetings and download presentations.)
I’m hopeful that this resource will be useful to university communicators—and interested in hearing what other elements would help you do your job.
See the guide.
University Communications has developed two new ways to tell stories on the Web:
osu.edu feature templates that integrate Google mapping and an interactive timeline, giving Ohio State new ways to tell location-based and time-based stories.
We first used the map to tell the story of
Ohio State students who spent summer “break” on research, study abroad and service projects around the globe. More recently, we shared the stories of grad students and recent alumni who were awarded Fulbright grants—a different way to celebrate the university’s high rankings in The Chronicle of Higher Education‘s Top Producers list.
Users can interact with the page in two ways: by clicking headshots for specific stories or by navigating around the map. The stories also feature text that puts the interaction into context; in the Fulbright piece, we used page text to share bragging points about Ohio State’s rise in the number of Fulbright winners we produce.
The timeline, on the other hand, is a natural way to tell stories with a time element. To kick off football season, we created a look back at
Brutus Through the Years, showing our mascot’s evolution from 1965 to today. The timeline is a natural for sports stories and features with archival imagery. We also have plans to tell more traditionally academic and research stories, which we’ll share as they come together.
Why did we do it? First off: It was fun! And fun helps “sell” our most important messages. It’s also a way to give users more to do on our pages—which we hope will translate into their spending more time on osu.edu. (Early “Brutus” users spent an average of 4:06 minutes on the page—way above the osu.edu average of 2:58. Users from m.facebook.com spent a whopping 6:57 on the page.)
How did we do it? Teamwork. The mapping project required brainstorming and work across teams: photos and editorial content from Editorial Communications and web design and development from Interactive.
Want to know more? Mark your calendar. We’ll be discussing these pages—and answering your questions—at an upcoming UC Academy.