Beginning a semester in high school publications requires continued thinking smart outside the box, planning and a pledge to work toward a fair and impartial communication to readers in a modern, well-designed format.
Let’s think about that.
News — Your primary readership may be interested in topics which have an impact in their lives — riding buses, cafeteria prices, scholarship deadlines. Your school contains many experts. Look for those people. Your publication is the primary medium to cover these things for your readers. Work on those leads. Readers need to be caught in the first paragraph or two – or they’re gone on to something else.
Features — Hope you’ve moved away from writing about “popular” students just because they are “popular.” Look for the unusual, the quirky, the little-known, the heroes, the colorful, the talented — stories that evoke “Gee, I didn’t know that.” Ask in classes about people, places and things that interest readers.
Sports — Look for behind-the-scenes stories. How did the teams prepare to improve the season record, what about stadium concession changes or interesting folks working there. Individuals in sports — skaters, dancers, marathon runners, weight lifters, boxers and the like — will take the pressure off having to cover all team sports equally.
Opinion — Offer readers helpful information — the importance of applying for scholarships early, praise (when merited) for changes that benefit students, support for bond elections and constructive criticism (where it is merited), such as parking problems, traffic or safety problems or other campus topics. Click Here for reviewing tips. See Rotten Tomatoes.
Columns — Please, only the “best” writers should step up to the plate. This may prove difficult because few want to be rejected. Maybe conduct a contest to select the “best.” Let the staff vote, perhaps, to remove any hint of favoritism.
Design — Look at the best-designed newspapers to tweak the design.
Editing — Behind every great reporter or designer is a great copy editor, someone once said. This is true. These people find the creepy little errors, make a story read more coherently, move the lead from the bottom to the top and help reporters improve their work and write headlines to attract readers. Five ways to stay gender neutral.
Photos — See Photo Tips for how to capture the pictorial essence of your school. See National Press Photographers Association
Handouts for the tough task ahead
Column writing / Feature writing / Editorial writing / UIL contest help / Speech story writing / Headlines / Review writing / A Reporter’s Checklist / Design / What is Public Relations? / News values / Copy Editor’s Help / Interviewing / Online resources for reporting / Photo Tips for photojournalists Media law / Libel and Slander / Media ethics / Magazines / Magazine formula The query letter / Newspapers / History of music / Public relations / Advertising / Radio / TV / Nonverbal communication / Letter to the Editor / Getting a job / Sports writing / World of sports writing / Writing radio copy / Brainstorming / Managing time wisely / Media Organizations / Titles, not headlines / Infographics /Mass Media Stuff /Writing Tips / Editing Tips /Other Stuff / UK Journalism / Yearbooks / Literary magazines / NEW Editorial Cartoons / Getting an Internship / Writing a Series / Web Development / The (Bleeping) MEDIA are to Blame / Top 10 Newspaper Movies / Newspaper Heroes on the Air / Classic Newspaper Films / Using Social Media / Fundamentals of Shooting Vox Pop Interviews / Word Press Basics / HighSchoolJournalism.org / Poynter Online / High School Broadcast Journalism Project / American Press Institute / National Scholastic Press Association / Quill and Scroll / Columbia Scholastic Press Association / Scholarships, internships and financial aid / News University / Reynolds Journalism Institute/Photo Stuff / Writing Humor / Help For Your Future