by Julie Dodd
JEA Mentoring Committee co-chair

Pinterest is one of the new rages in technology, allowing users to “pin” photos of interest to a virtual board and then share their photos with others. People have been using Pinterest to share their wardrobes and get fashion tips, to swap recipes, and to share vacation photos.

Now journalists are realizing the potential of pinning as a different story form and as a way to engage readers. A blog post by John Paul Titlow shares how media organizations are using Pinterest, and his post gave me some ideas about how high school media staffs could be using Pinterest.

National Public Radio uses its Pinterest board to highlight stories and a variety of features, including food, books, music and technology.

Following this NPR approach, a high school newspaper staff could use Pinterest to highlight both that will be in the next issue of the paper and provide ongoing shelf life to stories covered in the past edition. But beyond that, the staff can use the Pinterest board for coverage on topics that might receive little or no coverage in the monthly publication, such as reviews of music, restaurants and video games. Staffs have to be aware of copyright issues related to cover art of album covers or movie posters, but they also could take their own photos of local bands, local restaurants, or students who are purchasing movie tickets, or trying out a video game on a phone or Xbox. Here’s the Pinterest board for NPR Music.
In his blog post, Titlow also includes a link to an Al Jezeera Pinterest board on the The Faces of Egypt’s Voters. Along with the photo of each voter is the person’s name, age and, most important, a comment about the voter’s feeling about the election process. What a great way to show the diversity of the voters but the almost universal theme of the promise of elections.

A similar approach could be used by the high school media in having a Pinterest board about students who are voting for the first time.

The yearbook staff will be running a story about each school play. They can use their Pinterest board to include a photo of each cast member with a comment about each enjoyed about performing in this production. The staff can have a contest and “pin” the best photos of students volunteering or of spring break photos or of study strategies.

Pinterest provides a great way to present an alternative story form — a visual way of presenting a story that doesn’t require a lot of writing.

If you know of a high school staff that is using Pinterest, please let me know — 2jdodd (at) gmail (dot) com