For my media participation project, I worked at Spoon University as a contributor. I signed up in October by email. I got accepted and went to several meetings afterwards. In some ways, Spoon University is like the last company that I worked for in that it is a large publication with many chapters spread out across the country and they have online training. However, they are much more informal and laid back. I like how close-knit it is and how the founders try to stay connected with the individual chapters.
Meetings are held on Tuesdays from 8:30-9:30PM in one of the rooms on the third floor (we have moved around a few times this semester). During the first half hour, the editors talk about events that have recently passed and about ones that are coming up. Then we break into two groups: Editorial (video, photo and writing) and Marketing (social media and event coordination). In the Editorial meetings, we talked about articles and videos that we are working on. Alex Vu (Editorial Director) and Max Faucher (Videography Director) usually lead the discussion and give helpful tips to us when we have questions about creating/publishing content. Then we break usually before 9:30.
I got an article published nationally on Spoon University. The link is here. I wrote about healthy alternative dishes for Thanksgiving. I started the process by emailing my editor (Emily Kim) to let her know that I wanted to write an article and what it was about. She then checked to confirm that there were no other articles on Spoon University that were too similar to the one that I wanted to write.
Once she gave me the go ahead, I went to the Spoon University WordPress account and wrote my article. It took a little bit of going over the training pages for publishing to get used to the site. Their WordPress is different from this one, a little bit more professional. It has a place for meta information and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). The way that you add media to the article is different as well. It was interesting to me to see how they created their submission portal and how it was geared to getting the article recognized on a search engine and sending it to the right editors. This is my first time publishing something online for a serious publication, so I enjoyed learning about how writers get their articles out in a way that increases their chances of being seen on the world wide web.
Since my article was not specifically geared towards UMD students, I published it nationally. The process of getting the final approval and editing is similar to the process of getting it published locally, but by selecting “publish nationally” on the portal, I sent it to editors at the headquarters in New York rather than our local ones at UMD. Since Thanksgiving is a time sensitive topic, I got to practice working on a deadline and making sure what I submitted was good enough to be published on the website. I’m still helping out at Spoon University by assisting them at events and writing articles and will continue to do so next semester. Right now, I’m working on a recipe for a depression/ww2 era, eggless, milkless cake! I love the fact that I get to make the foods I love and share them with other college students who love food just as much as I do. It’s been a blast.