Innovation Team Application

The Michigan Daily, Winter 2016

Deadline: Wednesday, January 13 at midnight

What is Innovation Team?

Innovation team is a group comprising of 3-4 members led by the Special Projects Manager. The mission of the team is to brainstorm, cultivate and carry out ideas and projects within the Daily that exist outside day-to-day operations.

Who makes a strong candidate for the innovation team?

Having creative ideas is always a start! Then, it is important to take those ideas, communicate them to relevant leaders, receive and incorporate feedback and criticism, and churn input into a tangible final product. An idea is only as good as the finished product, so this year, I am really looking for people who can come up with ideas and see them to completion.

What is "innovation"?

Innovation can oftentimes be a buzzword. Since it can sound a little vague, here are some examples of what innovation team has done in the past year (and what you could do on the team):

  1. Create new positions such as the Recruitment and Social Chairs, Special Issues Manager, and Contest and Conference chair
  2. Create new policies around elections, such as the new Editor in Chief vision statements and Election Code
  3. Coordinate and conduct surveys identifying areas of improvement (such as examining our readership, which we will be doing this semester)
  4. Shape and create new spaces for content, like the On The Daily blog
  5. Reach out to relevant alumni to gather relevant professional journalism knowledge that can be applied to our newsroom, like we did this semester to gain a deeper sense of audience engagement
  6. Mine through data from surveys and analytics information to examine readership stats and brainstorm how this data can shape the newsroom (we willl be working more on this next semester)

As you can see, the types of work that you can do are vast and unique, and we are always interested in doing new things to create positive and lasting change at the Daily.

What would I be doing on innovation team?

Members will work around 3-5 hours a week. Time will be spent brainstorming new ideas, attending required 1 to 1.5 hour innovation team meetings, and coordinating/communicating with relevant leaders to fine-tune ideas and work on tangible implementation.

Additionally, members will be assigned to 2-3 section “beats.”

Members of a beat will serve as a liaison between the innovation committee and the managing editors of a section to:

  1. Gain deepened perspectives on your beats to act as a point-person in innovation meetings
  2. Communicate with section Managing Editors -- informing them of ideas that could influence their section, hearing their opinions and criticisms surrounding ideas, and inviting them to meetings where talk is scheduled to involve their section
  3. Serving as a general liaison for any other purposes I or the managing section editor(s) need

Does this sound like a perfect position for you? If so, send your application to Michael Schramm at with the answers to the following questions.

  1. Your name, year and position at the daily
  2. 3 Ideas that you are interested in pursuing to improve the daily and why you feel that these changes are important (this is purposefully meant to be vague. Get creative with your ideas!)
    Ex: creating a space at the daily to publish more fun and light content. This is important because college students are interested in fun and light content, and therefore, to appeal to our audience, we should be expanding coverage in this area
  3. Now, take 2 of these ideas and give me an example of how you would turn these ideas into tangible implementations within the daily
    Ex: To do this, we can create a blog using the Daily kicker system called On The Daily, which will act as a space for this content. It will be test-piloted in the first semester by being managed by the Editor In Chief but will then be handed over to a designated blog editor. Content will emphasize article relevant for students and general student life that slips through our current coverage
  4. Now, take 1 of the 2 ideas and give me a list of relevant daily staffers you would need to discuss the idea with, and possible issues with the idea that you would have to work through
    Ex: Some relevant staffers include Managing written content editors (Sports, Arts, News, and maybe opinion), in addition to Editor in Chief, Managing Editor, and Online editor.
    Issues needed solving: how do we define what is relevant to write a light article about, how do we define what content is covered in the blog versus covered by sections.