Approximately 2,000 students read Verde in print. Online, our audience exceeds 100,000. Much as I love the tactile qualities of a paper magazine, it's undeniable that our readership largely stems from the web. As our student audience becomes more tech-savvy, so too must we. This year, for the first time in Verde history, we have an entire powerhouse of a digital team — student leaders whose core responsibilities are to expand our website's scope. Though once a print-only magazine, we now publish exclusive digital content, maintain dynamic social media networks, embed multimedia elements into nearly every cover package and wield web analytics to optimize our engagement strategies. Much of my role as an EIC is to lend my full support to our digital brain trust, offering input on their latest initiatives and building a staff culture that prioritizes web journalism. I've also done my fair share of digital heavy-lifting. Below, you'll find presentations I've made and gave to Verde staff about how to enhance online story uploads, breaking news coverage from my time as a news editor, a multilingual website I created using Squarespace and Javascript as well my online magnum opus covering a rowdy net neutrality protest.

Reeling in a Digital Audience

Editing for a primarily print newsmagazine on a six-week cycle, I found that our online story designs were often lackluster in comparison to their paper counterparts. This disparity stemmed not from lack of motivation so much as lack of information — in my time on staff, we'd never been trained in how to jazz up a digital story. As a result, last spring I compiled eye-tracking data and simple but effective digital design tips into an interactive presentation for the class. Using a fishing metaphor and a simple catchphrase (hook, line and sinker — cheesy, I know), I taught my fellow Verdites where to place photos for optimal visual engagement and walked them through built-in Wordpress multimedia element-creating tools such as the native POWr plugin.

In the Moment

When broadcast journalist and Palo Alto High School alum Wes Rapaport visited Verde to talk about reporting from the eye of Hurricane Harvey, we wanted to share the gripping account with our audience. For real-time reporting, I opted for a Facebook live stream of the talk to accompany my online news story that was released promptly afterward. Using a combination of traditional text storytelling and digital media, I was able to offer readers a heightened experience — one where they could read about, listen to and witness the event covered. 

A Global Platform

Due to my background in journalism and my prior volunteer work in rural China, I was able to intern last summer for Stanford University's Rural Education Action Program. When the summer internship ended, they hired me on to handle media and publications for them, including designing a website for their newest project, the 1000 Day Initiative. Given REAP's international audience, in addition to designing a sleek and user-friendly site, I also had to make it multilingual. Combining my Squarespace skills, hours of research and familiarity with JavaScript, I produced the web platform below. Take a look at the site here or click on the "English" button below.

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Hands Off Net Neutrality

In winter 2017, enraged grandmothers and high school students alike took to the streets of downtown Palo Alto, protesting net neutrality rollbacks proposed by FCC chairman Ajit Pai. The demonstration took place just days before Pai was to cast its vote on net neutrality regulations. My story partner and I raced against the clock to publish our coverage before it lost time relevancy. Sprinting through the crowd, I shot photos and video footage of the protestors marching and chanting around Lytton Plaza, pausing only to interview them. We wanted our package to blend various digital media for a more sensory, snappy and slick presentation. As a result, I created a Storyform to showcase our content instead of a traditional website post. Our final result was tremendously well-received by the Palo Alto community and ultimately won second place photo-slideshow in the 2018 National Scholastic Press Association’s Digital Story of the Year contest. View the story here or watch the click-through below.

Hands Off Net Neutrality

Along with our physical magazine distribution, we release every issue of Verde on the digital publishing platform  Issuu, where we've accumulated 286 followers. Last semester, a representative from Issuu headquarters (just 0.7 miles away in downtown Palo Alto) stopped by Verde to demo the new "what's inside" feature about to launch. Unlike before, this new tool would allow readers to preview key stories and click straight to them without needing to click through the entire magazine. The next cycle, we applied tips from the demo for improved web and mobile optimization. See a picture of the "what's inside" feature in use below, or test it for yourself here

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Displayed below the PDF of our volume 20, issue 1 is the "what's inside" panel that enables readers to preview featured content. By clicking on any of the text or visuals in the highlighted box, readers can jump directly to our cover story (the online issue automatically scrolls there).