A place for young journalists

The beginning of a new 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.

Opening of Semester — Click here We'll start with September, but be sure to look at changes in district boundaries, etc., that may have happened since your last issue. One question at this time from staffers may be "How can we keep the summer workshop momentum going?" 

 News — Your primary readership may be interested in topics which have an impact in their lives — riding buses, cafeteria price increases, scholarship deadlines. Often we give them "fluff" and call it news. 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. You can try to do that, but it's a tough task.
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 (also 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. Know that not all editors consider writing in this style to be their forté so they shouldn't feel this as an ego-buster. Let them do what they do best.
Design — Will your publication need a tweak or two? Look here for well-designed newspapers which may provide ways to tweak the design.
Editing — Behind every great reporter or designer is a great copy editor, someone once said. This is true. These are the people who 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. Finally, they write the scintillating headlines that will attract readers.
Photos — See Photo Tips, you photo people, for how to capture the pictorial essence of your school. Avoid cliché stuff like groups, grip-and-grin shots, snapshots in which people are making funny faces. Photos should tell a story and capture the emotional impact of the moment. See National Press Photographers Association
Art — See Illustrator Tips for suggestions on the types of art to use in your publication. Often, an illustration allows the designer to embellish reality more than a photo would allow, and designers can combine type with illustrations more easily. Look around campus for artists with a sense of humor and an interest in current events.

Handouts for the tough task ahead

Column writing  /   Feature writingEditorial writing  /  UIL contest help  /  Speech story writing  /   Headliines  /  Review writing  / A Reporter's  Checklist  /  Design  /  What is Public Relations?   /   News values  / Copy Editor's Help  Interviewing  / Online reporting resources  /  Photo Tips  /   Media law  / Libel/Slander  /  Media ethics / Magazines  /  Magazine formula  / The query letter  /  Newspapers History of music  /  Public relations  / Advertising  /  Radio  / TV  / Nonverbal communication  /  Letter to the Editor  /  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 / Online Design Manual  /  Editorial Cartoons  / Dazzle People With Your Stuff -- design a portfolio  / Cub Reporters.org / Blogging / Sports photography  / Stuff from various places / The (Bleeping) Media Are to Blame / Using Social Media / Future of Journalism Magazine / Nine elements for video storytellers / A Word Press + version of The Exchange / Top journalists reveal advice  / Becoming web detectives / Grammarly /

The Ranger Online Design Manual has ideas you may use for your online publication.
The South Jersey Line shows how to use WordPress Basics.

This is a compilation of information by Professor Emeritus Chet Hunt. He started this site for high school journalism students and advisers.
NEW  7 Steps for Better Fact-checking