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iPulse in Focus

A Look at How U.S. Student Newspapers Are Run: Part Two

By Haleigh Keil

Image: Panther's Event, courtesy of the author

My friend, Sydney Burke, has been able to give me a closer look at how iPulse, the student newspaper at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, operates. This is part two, the final part in this series, so if you haven’t read the first, be sure to go back and read it!

Sydney is in her final year at Lynn, and is a staff writer for the newspaper as well as the social media editor. Sydney has been able to participate with iPulse both as a class and as a club. Of course, The Gaudie cannot be taken as a class at Aberdeen Uni, so this particularly interested me. Sydney told me: ‘iPulse is a required class for most majors in the school of communications, and since I am a multimedia journalism major it is required. The class and the club meet at the same time, and the editorial team is made up of both students in the class and students who are doing it as an extracurricular activity.’ I asked Sydney if she felt there was any divide between the students who were taking iPulse as a class and the students who were a part of the club, and she said ‘there is really no difference, besides the fact that the people in the class are graded for their work.’ I thought that this was a cool way for students to get involved in iPulse from many different angles. ‘iPulse meets once a week, the class and club meet together at 9:30am on Friday. The first half of class is the professor teaching us more information on how to write articles, the second half of class runs like a formal staff meeting run by the editors-in-chief. We go around the room and pitch three ideas relating to our beat, and everyone chirps in and says which article they think would be the most interesting. It’s very similar to a real staff meeting.’ Since The Gaudie communicates mostly online, I thought this was a notable difference between the two papers, and it was fascinating to learn how a student newspaper that meets in person runs.

One major difference between iPulse and The Gaudie that Sydney and I spoke about is what writers write about. Here, within The Gaudie, writers have the ability to write about, virtually, whatever they want. They can jump around from the Arts section, to Features or Sports.

At iPulse, staff writers are assigned one subject (called a ‘beat’ in the U.S.) to write about for the semester.

Sydney told me a bit about beats she has focused on during different semesters writing for iPulse: ‘A beat is what your specialty is. Last year when I took part in /iPulse/, I wrote about pop culture. I interviewed students on campus on how they felt about different pop culture controversies, issues, it was super fun for me to do. This year I debated writing about pop culture as well, but I got inspired to write about alumni profiles when I found out about an alumni of Lynn, (who was actually the editor-in-chief of iPulse years ago), a producer for a show my roommate and I watched called ‘Claim to Fame,’ hosted by Frankie and Kevin Jonas. I got to speak to him, and that’s what inspired me to write about alumni profiles this semester. It’s been super cool to talk to all of my friends who have graduated and write articles about them and to see how great they are doing after they graduated.’ I asked Sydney if she felt like focusing on one beat for the entirety of a semester got repetitive, and she said that so far, that hasn’t been an issue: ‘The topics are very general. I can talk about any alumni in any field. I’ve written about a professional therapist, a dolphin trainer, and somebody who works with the Florida Panthers NHL hockey team.’

Due to Lynn University’s location being so close to major cities like Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach, there are a multitude of opportunities for writers: ‘we’ve had people from iPulse interview athletes, singers, actors, and we’ve had people reach out to venues where events are being held, and they end up getting a media interview.’ Sydney recently had the opportunity to attend the National Hockey League's Florida Panthers first ever media training workshop for college students. The attendees were able to ‘speak to the communications team, interview a player, and watch a private practice.’ 

Image: courtesy of bank phrom via Unsplash

Another thing that I noticed iPulse does differently from The Gaudie is that they have a specific formula for each article. While The Gaudie does have different word counts for each section, iPulse uses the AP style of writing (the standard style of news writing), which Sydney says ‘consists of a lead at the beginning, with all of the most important information at the top of the article, and then as you move down the article, the information gets less and less important to whatever the story is about.’ In addition to following this formula, iPulse writers are ‘required to use three quotes, and three pictures with citations’ and the articles ‘have to have some sort of Lynn focus’ While The Gaudie articles often have to do with the University or events around Aberdeen, there are also many articles that do not have anything to do with the University, so this was quite an interesting difference. 

In addition to having newsstands around campus and being available online, ‘iPulse is also on Apple News, which happened two years ago. 

It’s really cool to be able to say, at the age of 21, that you’re an Apple News published journalist.’

I asked Sydney about her goals for this year, and she mentioned the iPulse TV news station and iPulse Podcast: ‘something I’ve been trying to do this year with the social media page is creating content to highlight the TV show and Podcast as well, I feel like they don’t get enough recognition for their work. So that’s one of my main goals for iPulse this year.’ It sounds like Sydney has some great goals for this year. I had a wonderful time talking with her and learning about how U.S. student newspapers are run, and I hope you enjoyed reading about Sydney and iPulse.


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