Guest Speaker: Will McGuinness

April 10, 2012

A recent UMass graduate, Will McGuinness graced us with his presence in last Thursday’s  Multimedia Journalism Class. Will McGuinnes is currently a Digital content producer at CBS Local and a Freelance Journalist at Self. His experience includes a contributor writer at The Advocate magazine, online Product Manager – Taunton/Fall River at GateHouse Media New England and much more.

All of McGuinness’ recent experience needed the skills of multimedia. McGuinness believes the direction journalism is  “it’s breaking away from the newspaper model of slapping the content on the page and letting the audience just read it.” This is where the role of multimedia journalism becomes crucial.  Since the new trend these days is everybody wants the idea that everything ‘moves around’ and is interactive.

This is huge for the journalism field because it seems people have this preconceived notation that the journalism field is deteriorating. When in actuality there is an increase because of the attentive readers that are eager to receive information in the many infinite ways of news story is being distributed. The multimedia aspect has increased a number of new journalism opportunities since aspect multimedia is still growing and seems endless. It seems that there is always something new to be discovered or experimented in the multimedia side of journalism.

A problem multimedia journalism faces and McGuinness advocates is the cost of multimedia versus the standard writing an article for print. The things that need to be considered while producing a multimedia journalism story is the cost of equipment, video editing software and the amount of people hired per story. Lastly it’s more time consuming to produce a multimedia story compared to writing an article for print. This is since a multimedia story requires video editing, interviews and good audio enhancements and it’s better to have more than one person working on a multimedia story versus someone doing it all on their own.

By the time McGuinness graduate from UMass, his resume included 7 internships. The 7 internships included:

When McGuinness graduated in 2010, he was adamant to find a job. At one point McGuinness made a goal,  to apply to five different jobs a day. Since the newspaper industry and other news organizations have cut back mostly on their staff, McGuinness admits that it is hard to find a job. Typically because the small business is already short staffed and many of the people who are on staff are the people who have been working there for years.

But McGuinness also wanted to emphasized that there is  job opportunities out there and sometimes when applying for a job, it is possible to be hired for a different job then the job that  you were initially trying out for.

This happened to McGuinness when Gatehouse Media hired him in August 2010 but didn’t receive the job that he was applying for instead they hired him to be an online Product Manager in Taunton/Fall River. McGuinness worked at Gatehouse Media for more than a year and gained informative knowledge. McGuinness learned the ins and outs of the newspaper and quickly became familiar with the online website.

A major story, McGuinness covered during the time he worked at Gatehouse was the incident of  the Fall River Drowning in the Summer of 2011. The social network of Facebook played an important role in cracking the story because the first ID and picture was able to be compiled from the victim’s Facebook page.

Anything on Facebook, McGuinness states is public content and while working on the Fall River Drowning, he learned it is important to ask permission before publishing. Another reason Facebook contributed as an important role when covering the Fall River Drowning, was the  Facebook video chat that allowed them to get in contact with victim’s family members.

Overall, it was a delight to have McGuinness guest lecture. His presentation was very informative and interesting. The last major thing McGuinness emphasized is connections and how vital it is in the journalism field. By building connections early on can help  later on when looking for job opportunities.


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