Flipz trip

Communication students learn digital media skills with news website

DailyFlipz screenshot

Students in an advanced digital media class sharpen their journalism skills by reporting for a news site called DailyFlipz. The class is taught by digital media instructor Ray Marcano (pictured) and Dayton Daily News editor Ken Paxson.

The news stories range from the important to the whimsical. There’s a story on a store that sells confetti, a piece on an 1850s-style brewery and an article on children who suffer from congenital heart defects.

The stories can be found on DailyFlipz, a mostly mobile website that gives Wright State communication students in the College of Liberal Arts a platform to develop their reporting and writing skills.

It is the brainchild of digital media instructor Ray Marcano and Dayton Daily News editor Ken Paxson. It was developed in one of Marcano’s previous classes and currently serves as the curriculum in Marcano’s and Paxson’s advanced digital media class.

DailyFlipz gets its name because it has a daily diet of stories that readers can easily “flip” through. The “z” is aimed at attracting a younger demographic.

“We wanted to try to come up with a site of some sort that would be more appealing for Millennials to consume content,” said Marcano. “And we’re showing the students how to report in a digital media environment every day seven days a week.”

The 25 students in the class — 15 reporters, nine editors and one webmaster — must each produce at least five stories per month for a total of 16 over the semester. They are graded on such things as story completeness, sentence structure and sourcing.

“They are simply learning how to write better,” said Marcano.

The stories can also include photos, video and graphics. And they are pushed out on Facebook and Twitter.

“They can tell stories through slideshows, voice-over slideshows, video or just photos,” Marcano said. “So they’re also learning how to tell stories in a different way.”

There are stories about Wright State such as the university’s tunnel system, food pantry and its service dogs, but many stories are unrelated to activities at the school.

There was a story about an Enon man who tracked down his first car, a Corvette his family had been forced to sell 15 years ago. He found it in Elkins, Ark. There was also a story about Dayton’s new casino racetrack and coverage of a fire that burned the former Piqua Fish and Ice Company to the ground.

“The stories are about anything that is newsworthy and have a news hook that the students find of interest,” Marcano said. “It’s their call.”

Most of the reporters have already had or will have stories published in the Dayton Daily News.

Marcano said many of the students at first doubted they had the ability to produce such news stories.

“They’re figuring out they can do it,” he said. “And they’re doing it far, far better than I would have ever expected. They’re also doing it enthusiastically.”

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