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New Vidette advisor preps aspiring journalists for career in shifting media landscape

Vidette building
Eric Stock
Illinois State University's student newspaper, the Vidette, plans to use video as part of its storytelling next year to better prepare its students for multimedia careers.

The new editorial advisor to Illinois State University's student newspaper is optimistic about developing the next generation of journalists at a time when many newsrooms are shrinking.

Former Peoria Journal Star sportswriter and Bradley University journalism instructor Kevin Capie now heads the Vidette. He acknowledged it’s a “tough” time for the industry as many print media outlets shift to online content, but he said aspiring reporters can use many of the digital skills they've developed as media consumers to be better storytellers in a digital world.

Kevin Capie
Kevin Capie

“They are not just digital natives, but they are storytelling natives in the way that they are trying to communicate something, whether it’s through social media, whether it’s through that TikTok video they post,” Capie said. “Now we just need to apply journalistic standards.”

The Vidette plans to use video as part of its storytelling next year. Capie said he wants to train journalists how to tell richer stories by taking advantage of multimedia in ways traditional newspapers can't.

“Not every story can be told effectively through just words,” Capie said. “If you are able to bring video in and bring some of those other elements in, it makes the story that much richer for the audience.”

Capie said those skills will help college students pursue a career in traditional journalism or new media or in other industries if they decide a career in journalism is not for them.

The Vidette moved to an all-digital format last year.

Capie joins the Vidette as it moves under the management of WGLT, all part of the School of Communication at ISU. The Vidette remains student-run under Capie's guidance, with plans for greater training opportunities for student journalists with the full-time WGLT professional staff.

The Vidette plans to have a staff of close to 10 paid editors. Student reporters and photographers work as unpaid interns.

Capie said he’s seen more interest in journalism among college students in recent years as they see opportunities to use their personal experiences to tell stories, but he cautioned against the increasing fragmentation of news that caters to consumers with a particular point of view.

“The challenge is trying to bring that back. In some regards I think people are starting to realize how problematic the siloing is,” Capie said.

Capie succeeds John Plevka, who retired in the spring after 10 years with the Vidette.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.
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