Katherine Borgerding, an OU student and former NewsOK intern, took on the role as the editor for the first semester and said they were able to meet with National Weather Service forecasters to learn about how to cover weather events.
“We kind of put together what we wanted the class to look like, and it was getting students to push boundaries of technology and basically whatever you could do with a cellphone,” she said. “When you go out, you’re really tempted to focus on damage, but it’s better to focus on the people who have been impacted.”
In April 2012, a tornado categorized as an EF-1 hit Norman. Despite a large following on Twitter at the time, Borgerding said the class quickly responded and even beat some of the major news outlets with interviews and damage reports.
“We were all getting together after class and the tornado sirens went off, and we were all in that mobile journalism mode,” she said. “We all jumped in a car after it passed and looked for people.”
After a recent round of severe thunderstorms, many of the students used Vine to create six-second videos of rain and flooding on campus.
“I think Vine is pretty interesting and a pretty great tool for this sort of thing. It’s easily shared,” she said.
But the group hasn’t just focused on weather. In fact, they’ve used their mobile skills to cover sports for The Purcell Register this semester and campus crime.
Jones hopes the class will venture into new territory next spring through the use of live streaming and experimenting with structuring tweets to create a narrative.
“We’re growing it. It always changes as we start to do things,” Jones said.
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