By Laura Crouch, TECO Energy
On December 3, the Ybor City office of ChappellRoberts was buzzing as the Leadership Tampa Class made their way in to collect name tags, bus buddy assignments and a quick coffee as we prepared for another fast-paced LT’15 (best class ever!) day. Unlike other days, we were assigned press badges and were actually encouraged to use our phones to post our activities on social media throughout the day. We learned during the day that social media make all of us reporters of the news.
Our first stop was at the WUSF studios on the University of South Florida campus. Our eyes were opened to the vast amount of television, radio and web content provided to our community through WUSF. We listened in as WUSF radio hosts recorded a segment of Making Sense of the Media. Next, it was our turn as we were sent off to the studios to make our own broadcast radio segment. Of all the many things we learned at the WUSF studio, the favorite may have been finding out where those membership drive tote bags are kept!
We then made our way to WFTS News Channel 28 for lunch and an immersive tour experience. While serving as the in-studio audience, we watched a live news broadcast unfold before us. Once the cameras were off, we heard from the news team and played amateur meteorologists in front of the studio’s green screen. The station’s commitment to the Tampa Bay community and to addressing tough issues like domestic violence was evident in every aspect of their approach to their business.
Our last stop of the day was at the Tampa Bay Times offices in downtown Tampa. We learned that Tampa Bay remains a major newspaper market (larger than both Atlanta and Chicago) and one of the few “two newspaper” towns anywhere. Through a terrific presentation that used recent events as case studies, we learned how to and how not to handle ourselves in crisis situations. One great bit of advice was that everyone should have a “question man” and a “what are you thinking woman” in their corner, willing to ask some tough questions in the interest of getting it right.
While all segments of the media – radio, television and print – discussed incorporating social media and online content, it was a common theme that online and print audiences are different and that there is little overlap between the two. Media providers are working diligently to stay relevant and meet the information needs of all their divergent listeners, viewers and readers.
It was another engaging and enlightening Leadership Tampa day! I was particularly impressed by the commitment these organizations showed to delivering information and content to the Tampa Bay community and their respective audiences. We’re fortunate to have such a broad range of talented media providers in the area.