This October I was awarded one of seven $4,000 grants from the Knight Foundation to create my social media inspired project, Takes a Tiger. The project is a web-based show that features members of the LSU community and uses social media to vote on what things should be featured on the show.

Since October my show has changed. Originally I was going to have three features to be voted on by social media: a faculty member, a student and an issue on campus. However, I soon realized that it was hard to get the votes, and even harder to complete three feature stories and only air one. Now, there is one feature story a week with two issues that are voted on by social media.

The hardest thing about this challenge was getting the online community involved in voting. While I could always rely on asking my sorority sisters to vote for the poll every week, it was hard to get other involved in voting. It was hard to get people to interact with the content I was creating, unless I prompted them by asking.

The format of the features have also changed. My first episode, I set down the camera and did a talk show style interview with one straight shot. It lasted five minutes, and to be perfectly honest, I would even be bored watching the interview after 30 seconds. So, I started changing my style of the videos. I used what I had learned in my Manship classes and at my internship at FOX8 to create a more visually appealing product.

One nice thing that I have learned about this project is that you can do most things just by asking to do them. It was easy to reach out to who I wanted to talk to and get their interview. I’ve also learned that I can work on a tighter deadline than I thought I could. I can crank out a story in just a few hours when needed (…only when I had to study earlier that day, of course!)

I’m thankful for this Manship grant and the opportunity to do something that I’ve wanted to do for a while–feature the people of LSU! The grant has given me the excuse to persistently crank out this work. With one month left of the project, I really want to stress interaction with the social media in my project. While I have gotten new followers and some retweets, I want to do better. By the completion date, I hope to have ten more followers on Twitter and ten more fans on Facebook.